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.”)


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