Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Daniel Dutton

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Daniel Murry Dutton, a biracial 28-year-old of Asian and Caucasian descent, who disappeared from Long Beach, Mississippi under unclear circumstances back in 2000.

Dutton lived with his parents and worked as a cab driver. He left a note at home saying he’d be gone for a few days, then apparently drove his cab to Lake City, Florida, which is over 400 miles away, around six hours on I-10. That’s where the cab was found, in the parking lot of a hotel where Dutton hadn’t checked in. Investigators think he actually stayed at a hotel in Gainesville, another hour down I-10.

Why he left, what he intended to do, and why his cab was found in Lake City and not Gainesville all appear to be mysteries.

Was he just taking off for a short vacation, and did something happen to him in Gainesville? Or was he planning on leaving for good? He was having serious financial issues. Did he have an episode of dissociative fugue, where a person develops amnesia and just wanders off? That doesn’t explain the note he left, though.

One detail that worries me is the fact that Dutton’s glasses were inside his abandoned cab. Speaking as a glasses-wearing person, the furthest I will go without them is down the street to the mailbox. I can’t even see well enough to use the computer without my glasses and I certainly can’t drive. And Dutton’s eyesight is noted as being very poor. Unless he had another pair of glasses — which is entirely possible, I have several pairs myself — I can’t see him voluntarily leaving without them.

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