The Oliver Munson Disappearance

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A man’s love for restoring cars leads to his disappearance. What happened to Oliver Munson after he unknowingly stepped into the middle of a chop shop ring?


A neighbor thought nothing as he waved to Oliver Munson on the morning of February 13, 1984. The 39-year-old bachelor was presumably on his way to the middle school, where he taught Industrial Arts. Little could the neighbor have known, he likely was the last person to have seen Oliver alive. When Oliver rounded the corner, he drove into oblivion.

Oliver Munson disappeared the day before Valentine’s Day, and his story involves love, not the love of another person, but the love of a hobby which likely led to his death. The beloved shop teacher may have been done in by a man running a different kind of shop.

Oliver Munson was an industrial arts teacher at the now-defunct Ellicot City Middle School in Catonsville, Maryland, 13 miles west of Baltimore. His colleagues respected him, and “Mr. Munson” was well-liked by his students.

Oliver’s hobby was buying and restoring run-down cars. In January of 1983, he eagerly bought a fully-loaded used, but classic, 1973 Datsun 240Z, from a man named Dennis Watson.

As a teacher, Oliver was strict about his students doing the homework he assigned, but he didn’t do his homework on Dennis Watson.

Dennis Watson had not sold the Datsun to Oliver in good faith. Watson was the ringleader of a car theft ring, and he had stolen the Datsun three months earlier, in October of 1982. The car garage Watson owned was a cover for his “chop shop,” where cars were dismantled for parts, or resold with fake papers. Watson had done the latter with the Datsun he sold to Oliver.

For several weeks, police had been gathering information and building a case against Watson. On March 16, 1983, they raided his shop and arrested him and his associates.

In searching the shop, police discovered illegal car titles, partially dismantled autos, and stolen vehicle I.D. tags. Oliver Munson’s name was found in the confiscated records.

Police confiscated the Datsun Oliver had purchased from Watson. After speaking with Oliver, the police were convinced he had no part in the operation and believed he had purchased the car, thinking it was legitimate.

Oliver reluctantly agreed to testify against Watson. Legal wrangling delayed the trial for eleven months, but it was finally set to begin on February 16, 1984.

On February 13, the neighbor saw Oliver, driving his regular Ford Pinto, depart from his home at 7:50 a.m. He turned onto the road leading to the Ellicot City Middle School, never to be seen again.

Three days later, on the day he was to testify at Watson’s trial, Oliver’s car was found parked on another road two blocks from his home. The right front tire was flat. Oliver’s touring cap, school papers, and a sack lunch were found on the front seat, but there was no evidence suggesting what had happened to him.

Dennis Watson became the focal point of the investigation into Oliver’s disappearance, and authorities discovered an ominous similarity to two other people associated with Watson.

Ten years earlier, in 1973, a man named Clinton Glenn was scheduled to testify in an armed robbery trial against Watson. The day before the trial, Glenn burned to death in a car registered to Watson.

Based on the testimony of another witness, Watson was indicted for the murder. That witness, however, soon died of a drug overdose investigators called “suspicious.” The murder charges against Watson were dropped.

On February 27, 1984, two weeks after Oliver disappeared, a man named Hilton Solomon contacted police. His car had been stolen only a few hours before Oliver vanished on February 13, and he happened upon it parked on a residential street.

The car was returned to Hilton, and while cleaning it, he found a hat that did not belong to him. It was determined to have been Oliver’s. Hilton also found several receipts from a video rental store that were signed in Oliver’s name.

Investigators examined the car and found a spent cartridge case beneath the track of the right front seat. They also found a red-brownish stain on the driver’s side and red smudges on one of the video store receipts. Tests revealed the stains were human blood, type O Positive. These findings suggested Oliver had met with foul play, but with no records showing his blood type, and no other hard evidence, the investigation stalled.

Police say despite the advances of DNA technology, the blood sample is now too deteriorated to be tested for a potential match.

Clinton Glenn was murdered the day before he was to testify against Dennis Watson. Oliver Munson disappeared and was likely murdered three days before he was to testify against Watson. Authorities did not think either event was a coincidence but could not make a case against Watson in either instance.

The witness who fingered Watson in Clinton Green’s murder was himself murdered, and Watson refused to talk to police about the disappearance of Oliver Munson. The only thing on which Watson could be charged was on running the auto theft ring.

Oliver’s disappearance had no apparent effect on the outcome of Watson’s trial. He pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He was paroled in 1989, after serving half of his term.

Though his body has never been found, Oliver Munson was declared dead in 1985, ruled the victim of a “presumptive homicide.” Investigators believe the man who taught shop was murdered by those who ran a chop shop.

Oliver Wendell Munson has been missing since February 13, 1984, when he was 39-years-old. At the time of his disappearance, he was 5’10” tall and weighed 160 lbs. He had black hair and brown eyes. He would today be 75-years-old.

If you have any information on the disappearance of Oliver Munson, please contact the Baltimore County (Maryland) Police Department at 410-887-3943.


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Further Reading:

Unsolved Mysteries

Baltimore Sun

The Charley Project


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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Retired Fireman Vanished in Texas

This week we have a guest post by blogger Giselle M. For those of you who don’t know, Synova suffered a serious injury and landed in the hospital. She appreciates all the support she has received during her recovery. Thank you, Giselle, for providing this story. 

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Retired Firefighter vanishes. Locals wonder if his wife’s affairs could have pushed him over the edge. Blood in the workshop proves otherwise. Where is Michael Chambers?

Michael Chambers, 70, disappeared in 2017 from his Hunt County home in Quinlan, about 40 miles east of Dallas. Deputies said they believe he may have been taken against his will after they found blood in his shop outside his home. A short time later they say he may have committed suicide.

Deputies say whatever happened to him most likely occurred between noon and 3 p.m. that Friday. His truck was at the house along with his keys and wallet. But police say Chambers and his cell phone and drivers’ license disappeared.

Chambers was last seen March 10 entering and then leaving the Quinlan Walmart alone. Surveillance video shows Chambers entering the store, paying for a couple of items, walking out to his truck and driving away.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks says Chambers and his family have been close friends for many years. He stated it his opinion Meeks committed suicide. The evidence shows a different story.

“I was his Sunday school teacher for several years,” the sheriff said. “I’ve never known a more devout Christian man than Michael Chambers. I trust him with my life.”

“This is absolutely unlike him. He’s not a person that just disappears,” said Cherri Hanes, Chambers’ daughter. “Someone knows something, and we plead and entreat you if that person is here, call the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department.”

The suicide theory states that this man with bad knees rode his bike twenty miles to a bridge on 9’ above the water and jumped off. No one has found the bike. No one can prove he had another bike besides the old one that still hangs in the garage.

Chambers is 6 feet 3 inches tall with balding gray hair. He has surgical scars on his right knee and both shoulders. He often wears a Dallas Fire & Rescue t-shirt. There is a $25,000 reward for specific information leading to his whereabouts.

The family has suspicions regarding his disappearance. A petition was started asking the Texas Rangers Company B to take over the investigation into the disappearance of Michael Chambers.

Simple Timeline:

– Mr. Chambers was last seen at Walmart in Quinlan at approximately 11:00 am.
– Neighbors came home around 3 PM and spent the entire afternoon working outside in the yard. (Noticed nothing unusual at the Chambers’ house)
– Later that evening Mrs. Chambers returns home to find her husband missing

Strangely, Mrs. Chambers left work around 2 PM, and her phone went off for over an hour after speaking to her boyfriend.
Some wonder if her husband found out about her affair and committed suicide. This is not the case. His wife’s infidelity was known to him for a long time.

Mrs. Chambers alleges to have arrived home from work and found her husband gone. His truck was parked at their house. The workshop on the property was found locked with Mr. Chambers’ keys, and wallet inside. Missing were his cell phone, and his Texas driver’s license. It is unconfirmed whether a small amount of cash was missing from his wallet. A large amount of money was still in the workshop, so robbery couldn’t be the motive.

Mrs. Chambers claims to have observed several “quarter” sized blood droplets on the floor of the workshop where he housed his classic cars. She stated to a family friend that she “thought it was transmission fluid.” (Samples of the blood were collected, and DNA analysis later confirmed that the blood belonged to Mr. Chambers. The Private Investigator claims there was a large amount of blood)

Mrs. Chambers called Suzy Losoya, daughter of Mr. Chambers, who told her to contact law enforcement. Mrs. Chambers called 911 at approximately 6:55 pm and reported to dispatch that she was unable to find Mr. Chambers at their home.

Mrs. Chambers then contacted a family friend, Penny Edwards, and asked her to come over to the residence because Mr. Chambers was missing. Mrs. Chambers called the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 7:45 pm. Before police arrived, Mrs. Chambers told Ms. Edwards that she needs her to “be on my side.”

Hunt County Sheriff’s Office initially dispatched a single deputy. Two others joined him after it was apparent that Mr. Chambers was in fact missing. The deputies and neighbors searched the 10 acres of the Chambers property but did not find any trace of Mr. Chambers.

Mr. Chambers’ phone was last pinged near Lake Tawokoni shortly after he disappeared.

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office searched a five-acre area near the Chambers’ property. They had the help of more than 75 volunteers. Despite the search, investigators found zero evidence.

On or around March 20, 2017, Rebecca Chambers canceled/suspended the cell phone service for two of the lines on the Chambers’ family account with Verizon. She dropped the phone numbers and turned off the service that belonged to her husband’s phone, and her son’s phone, leaving only her phone service active.

Mrs. Chambers sold Mr. Chambers’ pickup truck soon after his disappearance. It is unknown if Mr. Chambers’ vehicle financing included a credit life option which would have paid off the truck in the event of his death. On June 28, 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation issued a new title on the 2014 Dodge Ram truck that had belonged to Mr. Chambers. Rather than the new owner’s name, the title listed “Michael Chambers Rebecca Lynn Chambers” as the vehicle owner. There was no lien holder listed on the new title.

According to the Will filed, Mrs. Chambers is the sole heir to Mr. Chambers’ property at this time. Per the proceedings, Mrs. Chambers is required to deposit 50% of any proceeds she receives as a result of all community property assets sold into an escrow account to be left untouched for at least three years. Any assets that are not community property, Mrs. Chambers is allowed to keep 100% of the proceeds. A Notice to Creditors on Mr. Chambers apparent death was published in area newspapers on June 26, 2017. Also, on June 26, 2017, the Hunt County District Clerk received an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims from Mrs. Chambers. (Many items appear to be undervalued in this Appraisement compared to the current market values.)
Why was this allowed? Why would she hurry to have her husband declared deceased?

On June 8, 2017, Texas EquuSearch conducted a ground search in the area of the 7000 block of FM 2101 in Quinlan. Although the search was thorough, no sign of Michael Chambers was found.

Mrs. Chambers obtained a Protective Order against her son, Justin Chambers, through the Hunt County District Court system on July 13, 2017. The exact reason is unknown. The Protective Order is in place for the next two years.

During a birthday party celebration on June 27th, Mrs. Chambers was at the home of family friend, Penny Edwards. She stated to Ms. Edwards that Mr. Chambers “was not coming back.” Ms. Edwards claims that Becca Chambers was stoic and adamant about her statement.

A red 1966 Mustang red convertible was sold to an out of state buyer on July 7, 2017. Mr. Chambers had given it to his wife as a gift at the end of 2016. The vehicle was in the name of a Chambers family member.

Mrs. Chambers expressed financial hardship soon after Michael’s disappearance. After a family discussion, it was decided that Mrs. Chambers would sell the 1966 Mustang. The other alternative was for Mrs. Chambers to file for a Death Certificate through the court system, and probate Mr. Chambers’ Will.

The family was made aware of the Death Certificate filing when Suzy Losoya, Mr. Chambers’ daughter, received a call from one of his former Dallas Fire Department coworkers asking about Chambers being deceased. When the Death Certificate was filed, the Dallas Fire Department pension board was notified. Until that time, the family had no idea that Mrs. Chambers had filed for the Death Certificate. They were under the impression that selling the Mustang was the route that she was going to take.

In the days previous to July 14, 2017, a local resident, Bradley Marion Dunn, made claims on social media that he had information on the Chambers’ case. Chambers family members spoke with Mr. Dunn during this time. He was encouraged to contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.

On July 14th, Bradley Dunn met with deputies from the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at a location near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 2101 and Rancho Road in Quinlan. Mr. Dunn, a career criminal, was said to be jittery and under the influence of some mind-altering substance. Mr. Dunn was arrested on scene by Hunt County Sheriff’s Office for having a handgun on his person. He was booked into the Hunt County Detention Center. He was also charged with a Motion to Revoke Probation. Mr. Dunn is currently in the custody of the Hunt County Detention Center, awaiting disposition of his charges.

The afternoon of August 25, 2017, law enforcement retrieved swabs from the floor of Mr. Chambers’ shop for control sample analysis processing at an independent lab. The results have not yet come back.

A realtor was observed taking photographs of the Chambers home on August 26th. The house is presumed to be on the market for sale.

Several searches for Mr. Chambers have been held since his disappearance. The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted an aerial helicopter search of the Chambers property and surrounding areas. Also, dogs were brought in from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Bonham. The dogs picked up Mr. Chambers’ scent, and trailed it to the roadway, but were unable to follow it any farther. Also, a sonar search was used on the pond across the road from the Chambers house, and even at Lake Tawakoni by TEQ.

At least two male subjects who acquaintances of Mrs. Chambers have been questioned by area law enforcement.

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office has only responded to phone calls or emails from Mr. Chambers’ family sparingly. Despite numerous inquiries by family members, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office has failed to request the iMessages for Mr. Chambers’ phone account from Apple. The call logs were previously given to HCSO by the family soon after Chambers’ disappearance. HCSO is refusing to deem the case as criminal, saying that no criminal acts have been committed. A private investigator was hired by the Chambers children soon after he went missing.

This retired fireman needs justice. It is unfathomable that this man was injured in his garage, then found a bike that no one can verify he owned and ride the grueling 20 miles to the bridge to commit suicide. He knew about his wife’s affairs, and there’s documented proof of it. What happened to Michael Chambers?

If you have any informtion about this case please contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department at 903-453-6800.

Further Information:

Reddit

Interview with P.I.

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

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