Vanished – The Kyle Clinkscales Mystery

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Photo courtesy guest blogger

College dropout tries to go back a year later and finish but this time when he doesn’t show up it’s for a more dreadful reason. 44 years later, Kyle Clinkscales still hasn’t been seen.


John and Louise Clinkscales were frustrated but not overly concerned when their son Kyle did not attend his classes at Auburn University during the week of January 27, 1976. A familiar pattern was unfolding as the 22-year-old was trying collegiate life again. Kyle had dropped out the previous year after the academic demands proved too much. His second attempt was being met with similar results as his grades were still far below par.

It appeared Kyle was not college material. The elder Clinkscales believed their son had again become discouraged at not making the grade and had gone into seclusion to reflect on his life. When Kyle came out of his shell, whenever that was, John and Louise would be there to support their only child in whatever he chose to do. That day, however, never came.

Kyle Clinkscales has not been seen or heard from in 44 years. He had more significant problems than his academic struggles and is believed to have become entwined with an unsavory character.

His remains have not been found, but it appears that Kyle Clinkscales met a violent end.

Kyle was a student at Auburn University in Alabama and worked part-time as a bartender at the Moose Club in his hometown of LaGrange, Georgia, in the west-central part of the state, only a few miles from the Alabama border. He left the bar after finishing his shift at approximately 11:00 p.m. on January 27, 1976.

Kyle planned to drive the 35 miles to Auburn, but he did not attend classes for the week. On February 3, with still no word from Kyle, his parents reported him missing. The police investigation yielded few clues suggesting what happened to him.

In 1981, a man named Danny Moore contacted John and Louise Clinkscales, saying he believed he was Kyle. Danny told them he had gotten into a car accident in 1976, the year of Kyle’s disappearance. He claimed he was unable to remember any of his life before the accident.

Danny appeared to be the same age as Kyle and bore a physical resemblance to him. Dental records, however, confirmed he was not Kyle. A doctor said studies of Danny’s brain showed he had suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in his life. Police believed Danny was sincere in his belief that he could have been Kyle.

In 1987, 11 years after his disappearance, Kyle’s Exxon credit card was found on a kayaking and canoe trail along Flat Shoal Creek, 11 miles south of LaGrange. No new evidence, however, surfaced from the finding.

Nearly three decades passed before police received a major break in the disappearance of Kyle Clinkscales.

In 2005, a man contacted Georgia State Police, saying Kyle had been murdered by Ray Hyde, the owner of a salvage yard in Kyle’s home county of Troup, Georgia.

When he was seven years old, the caller had witnessed Kyle’s body’s disposal, saying it was covered with concrete, stuffed into a barrel, and dumped in a private pond. The caller, whose identity has not been revealed, told police that his grandfather helped dispose of the barrel under Hyde’s orders. The caller said Hyde threatened to kill both his grandfather and him if either said anything.

Through information provided by the tipster, investigators learned Ray Hyde was a member of the Moose Club, where Kyle worked. They believe Kyle was murdered because of his knowledge of Hyde’s criminal activities, which involved car theft and drug dealing. Hyde died in 2001.

Information provided by the caller also led to the arrest of Jimmy Jones and Jeanne Johnson. Jones was charged with concealing a death, hindering a criminal’s arrest, and two counts of making false statements. Johnson was charged with concealing a death, making false statements, and obstructing justice.

Jones ultimately admitted to helping dispose of Kyle’s body, but he denied taking part in his murder. He told police he found Kyle shot to death upon arriving at Hyde’s home in the early hours of January 28, 1976. Jones admitted helping Hyde drag Kyle’s body into his shop but says Hyde later told him he moved the remains into the nearby pond and then to another location, which he refused to reveal, saying it would never be found. Hyde’s prophecy has proven true as drainage of the pond turned up no sign of the barrel or any remains. Investigators also dug up Hyde’s property, but that too produced no evidence. Kyle’s car, a white 1974 Ford Pinto, has also never been found.

Jimmy Jones was sentenced to nine years in prison for hindering the police investigation into Kyle’s disappearance. He has since been released, and authorities say there is no proof that he took part in Kyle’s murder.

Jeanne Johnson was confirmed as being at Hyde’s home on the evening of Kyle’s disappearance, but she was cleared of any involvement in Kyle’s probable murder. I could not find what sentenced she received.

Kyle’s father John wrote the book “Kyle’s Story: Friday Never Came” about his son’s disappearance and several other missing persons. The book was written in 1981, five years after Kyle vanished and is available on Amazon.

Sadly, Friday never came for Mr. Clinkscales as he died in 2007 without learning his son’s fate. Kyle’s mom, Louise, is now in her nineties and hopes her son’s remains will be found before she dies.

Kyle Wade Clinkscales has been missing since January 27, 1976, when he was 22-years-old. At the time of his disappearance, he was 5’11” inches tall and weighed approximately 155 lbs. He had brown hair, hazel eyes and had earlier fractured his ring finger.

Kyle’s car, a white two-door 1974 Pinto Runabout with the Georgia license plate number CEF-717 and the VIN 4T11Y207954, has never been recovered.

Kyle would today be 66-years-old.

If you have any information on the disappearance of Kyle Clinkscales, please contact the Troup County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Department at 706-883-1746 or 706-883-1616.

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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:
Associated Press
Charley Project
“Kyle Story: Friday Never Came”; by John Dixon Clinkscales


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for The Racketeer, Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Poisoned Son


In rural Chester County, Tennessee, in the town of Mifflin, lies the New Friendship Cemetery. It is the final resting place for those who lived as long ago as the early 1800s. I have always found cemeteries interesting, but there are five graves there that hold a mystery. Five young siblings are buried there, all with tombstones with a one-word, ominous message, poisoned

In 1840, before Chester County was created, Silas Vestal and his son, Enos, made a round trip, on foot, to a settlement called Mifflin. At that time, it was a part of Henderson County. Plans were made for the family to resettle in this area, and gradually, over the next several years, members of the Vestal family began relocating. Silas moved before Enos and his family and, unfortunately, died in the Spring of 1846, just before their arrival. Enos had sold his farm in Chatham County, North Carolina, and he and his family started their journey to their new home on Christmas Day 1845. They had one wagon, pulled by three horses, Dowdy, Nell, and Mack. Enos was less than enthusiastic about the journey and wanted to turn back. One can understand why he might have wanted to do so. It was an arduous journey that included crossing the Appalachian Mountains during the winter’s cold and snow. His wife, Milly, encouraged him to proceed and reminded him that they had family expecting them. They arrived in Mifflin in late April 1846, and Enos purchased a 400-acre farm about three miles south of Mifflin.

According to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Enos and his family lived in District 3, Henderson County, Tennessee.

According to family folklore, in 1857, Enos had a dispute over a land purchase with a Widow Brower. Soon after, the children became sick. Solomon died at the age of 20, Jesse at 19, and John succumbed at the age of 16. Their sister, Catherine, was only 15 at the time of her death. Brother Daniel also became sick, but lingered on for some time, joining them in death in 1858. Allegedly, a local doctor diagnosed the problem as arsenic poisoning. Widow Brower was accused of poisoning their water source.

Who was Widow Brower? Why did the family think that she poisoned the children? Did she ever pay for her crimes?

I recently began doing some research and discovered that there was only one Brower family in this area during that time. Leander Brower and wife, Barbary Ward, originally came from North Carolina and settled in Henderson County in the early 1820s. Leander Brower, born in 1808 in Randolph County, North Carolina, and married to Barbary Ward, who was born in 1810 in Randolph County.

They moved from North Carolina to the unsettled area of West Tennessee very early in their young marriage. By the time of the U.S. Federal Census of 1830, we find them in Henderson County, Tennessee. The Leander household consists of two males, ages 15-20, one male, age 20-30, one female, age 15-20, and one female, age 50-60. So, we can deduce that other family members settled with them.

According to the 1837 Henderson County, Tennessee tax list, three Browers are listed in District 4, Leander, Jacob, and John.

By the time of the 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Leander’s family consists of two males, ages 0-5, one male, age 5-10, one male, age 30-40, one female, age 0-5, one female, age 5-10 and one female, age 20-30. So it appears that the Browers have three sons and two daughters.

By 1850, Leander and Barbary had ten children and, according to the U.S. Federal Census, were residing adjacent to a couple, Enos and Milly Vestal, and their ten children.

According to family records, Leander died in 1855, at the age of 47. (The alleged poisoning occurred in 1857). Perhaps the dispute was over property left to the widow?

As if we did not have enough questions, in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, five years after her husband’s death, we find Barbary has married Francis A. Hite (born in Indiana and seventeen years her junior). They are residing on the property that presumably passed to her upon her husband’s death. Also in the household live Wesley, age 15, Mary Ellen, age 13, James; age 11, Leander Columbus, age 6, John Hite, age 5, and Franklin .J. Hite, age 3.

Enos Vestal and his family are still living on the adjacent property, although his wife, Milly, may be deceased.

The next ten years bring many changes, though we can only hypothesize about all of the details. By the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, we find Barbary (age 59) living with her daughter, Elizabeth, son-in-law, Hayden Bailey, and eighth-month-old grandson, Prentice, in Dublin, Graves County, Kentucky. Her husband, presumably, her ex-husband, Francis, is residing in District 13, Gibson County, Tennessee, with his two sons, John and Franklin.

In 1877, Francis Hite married Sallie C. Reeves. He did not pass until 1915. Barbary died on December 4, 1882, at the age of 72, in Dent County, Missouri.

In 1870 and 1880, Enos was still residing with his family in Henderson County. He did not pass until 1885.

So, we have a partly solved mystery, with many questions left unanswered. What happened to Enos’ wife, Milly? What was the cause of death for Mr. Brower? What was the dispute between Widow Brower and Enos? Why would she kill the children? Why was she never brought to justice? Who is this Mr. Hite from Indiana? Where is the mother of his children? Why did they divorce? (Were they ever actually legally married?) Most interestingly, why can we find no recorded information about these deaths?

There will be information to come if my research reveals any new details.

THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Recommended Reading:


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Synova Ink would like to welcome our newest guest blogger, Revonda Kirby. Kirby was raised among the State Line Mob and the Dixie Mafia. She is currently working on a book about her life.

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for The Racketeer, Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Justice Still Bare


On the night of January 15, 1984, Sherry Hart, a 24-year-old single mother, was stood up for a date. It would be the last time she would be stood up because she never made it home. Thirty-six years later, her killer still walks free.

A witness came forward, claiming to have seen Hart joyriding with two former schoolmates on the night of her disappearance, Richard Bare and Jeffrey Burgess. Both men had several brushes with the law and were known as local troublemakers.

Police questioned Bare and Burgess separately about the events of the evening. Bare was evasive and provided little information, but not Burgess. He spilled the story, and it didn’t match Bare’s account.

Based on eyewitness accounts, as well as what Burgess told police, the death of Sherry Hart was ruled a homicide. Police now believed they knew how the young mother died on that chilly evening in January 1984.

Burgess told police he and Bare encountered Sherry at the restaurant. Because she was upset over being stood up, they offered to take her for a night of drinking to forget about it. It seemed like a nice thing to do.

While the three were riding through the rural countryside, Sherry needed to stop and go to the bathroom. They pulled to the side of the road, approximately a quarter of a mile from the “Jumping Off Place,” where she went into the woods to relieve herself.

According to Burgess, he remained in the car as Bare followed Sherry into the woods, where he attempted to have sex with her. Bare became irate as Sherry rejected his repeated attempts. When he became violent, Sherry fought him off and, screaming and crying, ran back to the car. Burgess said Bare followed Sherry and struck her on her head with the back of a handgun, leaving her bleeding and semi-conscious. Burgess said Bare then shoved Sherry into the car and ordered him into the car. Bare drove to the “Jumping Off Place,” where he forced Sherry from the vehicle, and ordered Burgess to drive away but to return in five minutes.

Burgess contended he was afraid for Sherry and at first refused to leave. However, he claimed Bare threatened to kill his family if Burgess didn’t comply. Burgess said he drove away because he feared Bare would make good on his threats.

Police believe Bare dragged Sherry to the edge of the “Jumping Off Place” and pushed her over the cliff. When Burgess returned, he asked Bare where Sherry was. Bare said she was gone and again warned Burgess to say nothing.

On March 29, 1985, Richard Bare and Jeffrey Burgess were both arrested and charged with the murder of Sherry Hart. Both were denied bail and were held in the Wilkes County Jail awaiting trial.

On July 18, deputies found the cell bare of one of the prisoners. Police subsequently discovered Richard Bare’s sister Linda was in a relationship with one of the department’s deputies. It is believed she convinced the deputy, who had gone to high school with Bare, to help her brother escape.

Over thirty-four-years later, Richard Bare remains at large.

After several months passed without Bare’s being captured and thus delaying the trial, an arrangement was made in which Jeffrey Burgess was released on bail, pending Bare’s re-capture. That day never came.

Jeffrey Burgess died at age 47 in 2012, without ever standing trial for the murder of Sherry Hart. It may be challenging to make a case against Bare if he is captured because what Burgess told police might now be considered hearsay.

Some people believe Burgess understated his involvement in the crime and could have been the one who pushed Sherry off the cliff. Unfortunately, it is likely impossible to tell which man did the actual act.

Richard Bare was nearly captured in Delaware in 1993, but good fortune, unfortunately, was on his side. He left only hours before FBI agents converged on the home of a relative where he had been hiding.

In June of 2002, Bare was believed to be living under the name Richard Presnell. The real Richard Presnell was located and determined not to be Bare. Bare may have stolen his identity and lived under the name for several years before changing identities again.

Over approximately the last 15 years, Bare has been rumored to have returned, incognito, several times to North Carolina to attend the funerals of friends and relatives. Police have also received reports that Bare is living similarly to another notorious North Carolina fugitive, Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph. He eluded capture for six-and-a-half years by living in the area’s vast mountainous terrain.

Some sources say Bare is disguising himself by dressing as a woman. The computer-aged image of Bare below was done in 1996 when he would have been 32-years-old. I have not been able to find any more aged-enhanced images.

Richard Lynn Bare is wanted on a charge of murder. He is 5’8″ tall. When he escaped from jail in 1985, he weighed 175 pounds and had shoulder-length brown hair. He may have a tattoo of a panther on his right forearm. Bare hated the smell of smoke and refused to be in the company of people who lit up.

Richard Bare would today be 56-years-old. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Ashe County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Department at 336-846-5633 or the FBI’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Field Office at 704-672-6100.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


More Info
America’s Most Wanted
• Unsolved Mysteries
Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Winston-Salem Journal


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.



If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Capital Murder


Before the infamous murder of Chandra Levy, another intern disappeared from the same area. Are they linked? Authorities don’t think so, but both cases are eerily similar. Read more to find out what happened to Joyce Chiang.


It had been a great evening as several girlfriends working in Washington, D.C. enjoyed a night on the town. On January 9, 1999, the group of young women watched a movie before eating dinner at a nearby restaurant.

One of the women, 28-year-old Joyce Chiang, did not have a car, so her friend Kathy offered to give her a ride home. En route, Joyce asked Kathy to stop at a Starbucks. Despite the cold weather, Joyce told Kathy she would walk the remaining four blocks from the coffee shop to her apartment. Kathy tried to persuade Joyce to let her drive her home, insisting it was no problem. Joyce assured her she would be fine. Kathy relented and went on her way as Joyce entered the coffee shop. Twenty-one years later, Kathy still wishes she had been more assertive. A chilling crime was about to occur on that evening in the nation’s capital. 

While attending college, Joyce Chiang had worked as an intern for Howard Berman, who, from 1983-2003, was the representative of California’s 28th congressional district, which encompassed parts of central Los Angeles. After college and the internship, Joyce graduated from Georgetown Law School and became a lawyer for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)

Joyce lived with her brother Roger in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C., a popular residential neighborhood noted for its nightlife. Soon, however, the area would be known for a more sinister reason. Joyce never arrived at her apartment after Kathy dropped her at the Starbucks.

Roger reported her missing the following day, January 10. On that day, a couple walking through Anacostia Park, approximately five miles southeast of the Starbucks, found a billfold containing Joyce’s government credit card along a riverbank. They gave it to the Park Police.

Four days later, the couple saw TV news reports of Joyce’s disappearance and realized she was the person on the government credit card they had found. This time, they contacted the Washington, D.C. police. Because Joyce was a federal employee, the FBI assumed jurisdiction in the investigation into her disappearance.

Along the Anacostia River, a search and rescue team found Joyce’s apartment keys, video store rental, and grocery cards, as well as her gloves and the jacket she was last seen wearing. Investigators were unable to determine what had caused a tear running down the back of the coat.

Three months later, a canoeist paddling more than eight miles downstream from where Joyce’s items had been found saw a body along the shore. DNA tests confirmed it was Joyce Chiang. Due to the pronounced decomposition of her body, the cause of death was listed as undetermined.

The case stalled for two years until an eerily similar but much more profiled murder brought the death of Joyce Chiang back into the limelight.

On May 1, 2001, another congressional intern, Chandra Levy, was reported missing. Chandra was an intern in the office of California Congressman Gary Condit, and it was learned that she and the Congressman were having an affair.

In June of 2002, a hiker’s dog in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, found a human skull far from the commonly used paths. When police arrived on the scene, they found additional bones, a jogger’s bra, and a cassette player in the foliage. Dental records confirmed the remains were those of Chandra. Her death was ruled a homicide, but an autopsy was unable to determine the cause.

Chandra’s disappearance and murder brought renewed interest in the death of Joyce Chiang because of several similarities in the women’s cases:

• Joyce and Chandra had both served as interns for Democratic Congressmen from California

• The two Congressmen’s offices were adjacent to each other

• Both were petite brunettes

• They lived within a few blocks from one another

• Both frequented the Starbucks coffee shop

• Both had the same types of friends involved in the political arena

Despite the numerous similarities, police were unable to find any evidence that the women knew each other or had any common friends in common.

In March of 2009, nearly seven years after Chandra Levy’s remains were found, Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) member from El Salvador, were charged with her murder.

Guandique had been convicted of assaulting two other women in Rock Creek Park, the area where Chandra’s body was found. Those assaults occurred in March and April of 2001, only 3-4 weeks after Chandra’s disappearance.

A jail informant told police Guandique had confessed to killing Chandra. Investigators determined Guandique had not gone to work on the day Chandra vanished. Evidence found with Chandra’s remains suggested she was attacked in a virtually identical way to Guandique’s assault victims. Investigators also found a photograph of Chandra among his belongings.

Police believe Guandique attacked and tied up Chandra in the park’s remote area and left her to die of dehydration and exposure. In November of 2010, Guandique was convicted of the murder of Chandra Levy and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

In 2015, however, Guandique’s conviction was overturned after evidence surfaced that the jail informant was lying. In July of 2016, prosecutors announced they would not re-try Guandique for Chandra’s murder after a woman came forward with an audiotape on which the jail informant is heard saying he lied about Guandique’s confession.

Guandique was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has since been deported to his native El Salvador. Police say nothing connects him to the death of Joyce Chiang.

Congressman Gary Condit was considered a person of interest in Chandra Levy’s disappearance and subsequent murder after authorities discovered he was having an affair with his intern. He was eventually cleared of any involvement.

Nevertheless, the overturning of Ingmar Guandique’s conviction brought renewed suspicion on the now-former Congressman. However, investigators say no new evidence has surfaced, suggesting his involvement and that they still do not consider him a suspect.

In January of 2011, police stated they believe two men, Steve Allen and Neil Joaquin, abducted Joyce Chiang while she was walking home from the Starbucks. They took her to the banks of the Anacostia River to rob her. Once there, investigators believe, Joyce tried to flee, only to slip on the ice and fall into the river, where she succumbed to the frigid temperature.

Allen is serving a life sentence in federal prison for an unrelated crime, while Joaquin was deported to Guyana in 2006. Police believe a third man was also involved, but they do not have enough evidence to arrest him.

Joyce Chiang’s death has now officially been ruled a murder. But neither Allen nor Joaquin have been charged in connection with the crime, and her case is formally closed. If the men were to be charged, it is unlikely Joaquin would be returned to the United States because Guyana does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. I could not find a picture of either man.

Police have also officially determined there is no connection between the murders of Chandra Levy and Joyce Chiang.

The murder of another petite brunette in Washington, D.C., was also, for a time, thought to be connected to the murders of Joyce Chiang and Chandra Levy.

In August of 1998, five months before the murder of Joyce Chiang, 28-year-old Christine Mirzayan, a Fellow in the second year of the Policy Fellowship Program with the Center of Education in Washington, D.C., was raped and murdered while walking home from a barbecue in the Georgetown neighborhood. However, just as Joyce and Chandra’s cases are unrelated, Christine’s murder has been shown another separate act.

DNA testing connected Christine’s murder to eight other rapes committed in the Georgetown area from 1991 to 1998. The perpetrator was dubbed the “Potomac River Rapist.”

In November of 2019, 60-year-old Giles Warrick was arrested and charged with the rapes and murder committed in the Georgetown area. Parabon Nabalos, a Reston, Virginia, company that provides DNA phenotyping services for law enforcement, used DNA from the crime scenes to create a family tree for the perpetrator. The profile led to five possible suspects and detective work led to the Warrick’s arrest.

Warrick was working as a landscaper in Maryland at the time of the rapes and murder. At the time of his arrest, he was living in Conway, South Carolina.

So far, Warrick has been charged with ten rapes and one murder, that of Christine Mirzayan. Authorities believe he has committed more rapes and possibly more murders. However, they do not think he committed the murders of Joyce Chiang and Chandra Levy.

The legal procedures are just beginning in Warwick’s case, and a trial date has yet to be set.


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More Information:

• Unsolved Mysteries

• Washington Post


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


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