Laughlin, Nevada, lies at the Silver State’s southern tip, straddling both the California and Arizona borders. Though its population totals just over 7,000 people, Laughlin is always packed with tourists because of Nevada’s gambling industry. Casinos fill the small town described as a scaled-down version of Las Vegas. Laughlin is the perfect locale for those who like to gamble but not deal with the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.
Fifty-nine-year-old Jean Moore looked forward to a fun-filled few days in Laughlin in April of 1992. Instead, she became the center of a mystery, as she has not been seen in 28 years.
What happens in Vegas is said to stay in Vegas. Little brother Laughlin, however, has a secret of its own.
Al Henderson and Jean Moore were divorcees who had been dating for the better part of 20 years. They became engaged in December of 1991. Both were successful business people; Al had a multimillion real-estate business, and Jean was an escrow officer for a retail bank.
On April 6, 1992, Al and Jean left their home in Apple Valley, California, for a vacation in Laughlin, Nevada, approximately 200 miles away. The couple liked to play the slot machines at the Flamingo Hilton casino.
A waitress recalled serving Al and Jean at a coffee shop in Laughlin later that morning. From there, the chain of events is cloudy.
Al says he and Jean had a great time playing the machines on April 6, 7, and 8. The following is his account of the events of April 9.
Jean, Al says, wanted to play her lucky slot machine one last time before checking out on the afternoon of April 9. He says he left Jean at a side entrance of the casino and went to find a parking place. Unable to find one, he drove to the valet parking, where he told the valet he would give Jean the ticket and that she would pick up the car later.
Al entered the casino where Jean was waiting. He believes she had $600-$700 in cash in her purse, her winnings from the day before at her “lucky” machine. After giving her the valet ticket, Al claims he left the casino at 9:30 a.m. They planned to rendezvous at their hotel room at 11:45 a.m. Checkout time was 12:15 p.m.
After waiting for a few minutes and not finding a cab to take him back to the hotel, Al says he returned to the casino to play the slot machines with Jean. Because another person was using Jean’s favorite machine, he thought she might have gone shopping.
After searching the casino’s gift shops, Al returned to the casino’s slot machines to find Jean’s favorite game unoccupied. Al says he played that specific machine until approximately 10:15, believing Jean would return.
After Jean did not return, Al says he continued searching for her, unsuccessfully. He then returned to the hotel at 11:45 p.m. to meet her and check out. Not finding her there, he took a cab back to the casino to continue searching for Jean. Upon arriving, Al found the car still parked in the valet area; the valet said no one had brought a ticket for the vehicle.
Al says he then re-searched the casino’s lobby, the shops, and the gambling area, but again found no trace of his fiancee. He then reported her as missing.
Over the following few days, Al distributed thousands of missing person fliers of Jean in the Laughlin area, offering a $25,000 reward.
Al also paid $1,200 to charter a helicopter to fly over the desert area surrounding Laughlin. The chopper failed to turn up any leads.
Jean’s children from her first marriage, Joe Hamilton and Connie Christie, were skeptical of Al’s accounts. Joe pointed out the differences in Al’s statements. At first, Al claimed he dropped Jean in front of the casino and gave her the valet ticket there. Later he said he left Jean at a side entrance to the casino and gave her the ticket inside. I could not find anything from the police to verify or dispute Joe’s claim.
Her kids also found it strange that their mother left most of her jewelry, her engagement ring, and her purse behind in her hotel room. While she probably wouldn’t want to carry her bag around, why would she leave behind her engagement ring?
Jean’s children did not like Al, saying he often put their mom down in public. They had tried to dissuade her from marrying him, believing he did not love her. Joe and Christie were clearly biased against Al. Soon, however, an impartial witness would also cast doubt on Al’s statements.
Police viewed the Flamingo Hotel casino’s surveillance cameras, which monitored activity inside the casino nearly 24 hours a day. The cameras confirmed Al’s account of pulling into the parking lot at around 9:15 a.m. and record his entry into the casino.
From this point onward, however, the cameras seem to contradict Al’s claims.
One camera shows two views of the area where Al says he gave Jean the valet ticket and where he says they walked around. Neither camera showed any image of Jean. Besides, if Jean had been in the casino, four other cameras should have picked up pictures of her as she walked around the casino, but she was not seen on any of them.
None of the casino cameras showed Jean in the casino on April 6-8. The footage on these cameras is not great, but authorities believe it is good enough for them to have seen and recognized Jean if she had been in the casino.
The only person other than Al, who reported seeing Jean in Laughlin, was the waitress at the coffee shop on April 6, the day Al and Jean left their Apple Valley, California, home and arrived in Laughlin. No one else could recall seeing Jean in Laughlin or surrounding areas afterward.
One of Jeanne’s friends says she saw both Jean and Al at a gas station back in Apple Valley at approximately 4:30 p.m. on April 8, the day before Al reported Jean as missing. Al says the friend is mistaken, insisting he and Jean were in Laughlin at that time.
Phone records verify Al’s claims that calls were made from his Colorado Belle hotel room in Laughlin on April 8; one call was made at 3 p.m. and another at 7 p.m. Al says no one, other than he or Jean, was in their hotel room during their stay. The calls seem to confirm it was impossible for either he or Jean to have been in Apple Valley when Jean’s friend believes she saw them.
Al’s bookkeeper, Geraldine Fender, said Al and Jean called her from Laughlin on the evening of April 8. She says she spoke to both of them and that Jean was elated because she had a string of good luck on a poker machine. The call to Geraldine was less than 24 hours before Al reported Jean as missing.
The casino surveillance cameras seem to dispute Al’s account of events of April 9. Jean’s children believe Al was not being truthful in his intentions and suspect he killed their mother.
If Al did kill Jean, it seems odd that he would have done it before they were married. It would have been easier to obtain Jean’s assets or any insurance claims after tying the knot. Although Jean had sizable financial holdings, she was not as wealthy as Al. It seems as if money wouldn’t have been a motive in this case. Perhaps there wasn’t a pre-planned motive. She could have been killed in the heat of the moment during an argument.
Al Henderson died in 2001. Although he was never charged in his fiancee’s disappearance, he remains the primary person of interest.
The Flamingo Laughlin is now known as the Aquarius Casino Resort.
An attendant handles winnings over a certain amount. The winner has to go to the cashier window to present an ID for tax purposes and receive a W-2G form to claim the winnings. I do not know what the set amount would have been in 1992, but it seems that $600 would have been a large enough amount to have to do so. Jean was last seen in Laughlin by the coffee shop waitress on April 6. If she had won the $600-$700 on April 8 at the casino, I would think the casino would have had a record of her claiming the winnings, and that would confirm she was in Laughlin on April 8.
Jean Marie Moore has been missing since April of 1992. At the time of her disappearance, she was 59-years-old, 5’2″ tall, and weighed 125 lbs. She had a scar on her abdomen. Jean would today be 87-years-old.
If you have any information relating to the disappearance of Jean Moore, please contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at 702-828-2907.
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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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