Flashback Friday: Willie Ann Rucker

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Willie Ann Rucker, who went by her middle name. She was 27 and recently divorced when she disappeared from Waterloo, Iowa on April 8, 1979. Her family believes her boyfriend may have been involved; they were having problems.

I don’t have much on this case. Rucker’s son David Barrett, who was just a baby when she disappeared, became a professional football player, so there’s that.

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Flashback Friday: David Sampson

This week’s Flashback Friday case is David Robert Sampson, a 21-year-old student at the University of Washington who disappeared from Seattle on March 1, 1977. I don’t know his major, but he was interested in “botany, hiking and environmental issues,” so perhaps it was something like biology.

Indications are Sampson left of his own accord; he took several possessions, including survival gear, a Bible and other religious materials, but no ID or cash. He may have joined some kind of cult; his case reminds me a bit of Robert Spurlock‘s. (I ought to do a Make-a-List Monday of cases where the MP is thought to have joined a cult.) It’s worth noting that Sampson disappeared at the tail end of the hippie era, and it sounds like he might have found that lifestyle agreeable.

But if he did join a cult, where has he been since 1977? Canada maybe? But if he left the country, how’d he cross the border without any identification?

I was able to get Sampson’s date of birth today from the Washington State Missing Person Search database. The anonymous author of the excellent Whereabouts Still Unknown blog has an entry for him as well. I couldn’t find anything about his disappearance in the newspaper archives, though, which isn’t surprising giving it was 1977 and he was a college student and a man at that. That profile of missing person is rarely covered in the news even today.

If he is still alive, and he may very well be, David Sampson would be 62 today. There’s a good chance his parents would be dead by now, but perhaps he has siblings or cousins who are still hoping for resolution in his case.

Flashback Friday: Wayne Hickman

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Wayne W. Hickman, who disappeared from Missoula, Montana on October 1, 1985. He was 27 years old. Hickman was going to hitchhike to the town of Superior, which Google Maps says is about an hour from Missoula, to have a look at a pickup truck that was for sale. I don’t know if he ever arrived there.

I have to wonder about possible foul play here, especially if Hickman was carrying a large amount of cash to buy the truck with. Perhaps he got picked up by the wrong person. But I don’t have much on the case.

Flashback Friday: Lilli Dunn

Flashback Friday’s case (first time in awhile, I know) is Lilli Marlene Dunn, a 29-year-old Southgate, Michigan woman who was abducted from her own garage in the early morning hours of July 31, 1980. Two witnesses saw a man dragging Lilli, kicking and screaming, into his car, but they thought it was just a domestic quarrel and didn’t intervene.

It’s possible Lilli was a victim of the serial killer Coral Eugene Watts, but he was never charged in her case and he died in 2007.

Flashback Friday: The Houghland Family

I promise I will TRY very hard to get my “weekly features” obligations actually met this weekend. (Any suggestions for Sunday?) This week’s Flashback Friday case is actually three cases: Norma Louise Houghland, a 27-year-old mother, and her two sons, 8-year-old Richard Allen Houghland and 6-year-old Thomas James Houghland. They vanished from Sacramento, California on July 15, 1978, but because Norma was divorced and her ex-husband, the boys’ father, lived out of state, no one realized they were missing for a week.

Given the condition of the family’s apartment — uncashed welfare check left behind, nothing missing, dishes in the sink — it seems unlikely they left on their own. Given the fact that Norma’s car has never been found, I think the most probable explanation for this triple disappearance is an automobile accident. Norma and the boys may be in a ravine or at the bottom of a cliff somewhere, or more likely in a lake or river.

Flashback Friday: Beatrice Calderon

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Beatrice Susan Calderon, last seen in San Jose, California on August 17, 1971. She was 33 years old at the time of her disappearance and would be 79 today if she’s still alive.

Unfortunately, I know doodly squat about the circumstances of her case.

Flashback Friday: Randall Dean Leach

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Randall Dean Leach, a twenty-year-old who disappeared from Idaho Falls, Idaho on November 6, 1980. He was planning to hitchhike from Sheboygan, Wisconsin to Bend, Oregon, his first-ever really long hitchhike odyssey. He stopped at a farm in Idaho Falls, stayed for a couple of days and did some work there, then left. He apparently never arrived in Bend.

It’s possible he changed his mind and decided not to go to Bend — Leach’s family described him as a bit of a wanderer and a free-thinker — but I highly doubt that he’s still alive. It seems like if he was able to contact his family, he would have at some point in the past 36 and a half years.

Given the hitchhiking element, he could be anywhere in the country. I wonder if he’s a John Doe somewhere.