|The Martian, June 21 1989|
Today, we see this sort of article a lot of times about people going missing, and people being found dead, that I don't think this article would raise any eyebrows in this modern day. It feels like people have become desensitized to it. There's even a special section in most newspapers for missing people. The only way this would be controversial is if the names of the people to whom the letters were addressed are important or famous in the society.
If the people mentioned are normal, everyday people, the issue would be talked about for a while and then forgotten. However, I think back then it would be controversial no matter who these people were.