This story is part of The Commonwealth Times’ special coverage in honor of its 50th anniversary.
Hannah Eason, Contributing Writer
It was June 1992 when CT Sports Editor John Medeiros rushed home from work to catch the Stanley Cup Finals on TV.
While his other roommates sat in the living room, he went into his roommate Keith Lennon’s bedroom to watch the game. Lennon was a CT staff writer.
It wasn’t until Medeiros sat down that he realized there was no television, and the entire room was empty. All that was left was the bed and dresser.
“He was only there that morning,” Medeiros said. “There was nothing that we knew of him that made us give it a second thought.”
So, he watched the Stanley Cup on a different TV.
Days passed, and Lennon’s roommates were pushed to a point of worry and curiosity. Medeiros and his other roommate, Jeff, went to the Richmond airport to see if Lennon’s car was there.
They found it — with the keys inside — and drove it back to their house. Only a few days later they received a letter from Lennon from Hope, Arkansas.
“It was his goodbye to us,” Medeiros said.
Medeiros said they learned from Lennon’s mother he stole more than $250,000. A CT article from Aug. 30, 1993 states Lennon pleaded guilty to embezzling almost a quarter million dollars from a Seattle hospital where he worked. When Lennon’s roommates thought he was going back to Seattle to visit his sister, the 29-year-old was actually making court appearances on the West Coast.
Lennon was declared a fugitive by the FBI after failing to appear in court for his sentencing, where he faced 35 years in prison. Richmond FBI agents interrogated Medeiros and his fellow roommates on Lennon’s whereabouts.
“He just plain disappeared,” Medeiros said. “He’s never been found as of this day.”
While Medeiros contributed to the coverage of Lennon’s disappearance during the early ‘90s, he also contributed the name “Spectrum” when the paper was renaming the arts and entertainment section.
The section was originally coined “Folio,” but the name lacked the vibrancy that art brought to VCU through community theater, dance shows, authors and artists. Medeiros caught the new idea from his favorite hockey team, the Philadelphia Flyers, and their new arena at the time, the Spectrum.
“Think of it this way — it’s the different colors of the rainbow, and it could represent different things that you cover, arts and entertainment,” Medeiros remembered pitching in a meeting.
As the sports editor, Medeiros filmed the 1992 NCAA Field Hockey Final Four hosted by VCU at Cary Street Field. The tape was distributed to other college sports stations and broadcasted on television. Medeiros also witnessed VCU’s entrance into the Metro Belt Conference, which opened the doors to compete against bigger athletic schools across the nation.
“I think we had more impact than we really knew,” Medeiros said. “You don’t really realize it when you’re there.”