Real Names: Robert Leroy Dozier and John Paul Russell
Aliases: Bob Dozier, Michael Hayes (Dozier); John Farrell (Russell)
Wanted For: Suspicion of Fraud, Drug Trafficking and Murder
Missing Since: November 1981
Details: On November 12, 1981, thirty-four-year-old Bob Dozier and forty-four-year-old John Russell set sail from Sausalito, California on Russell's fifty-foot yacht, "The Freedom Two," with Bob's alleged girlfriend Kristin Tomlin and John's wife of ten years, Suzanne. Their destination was Tahiti. Early the next morning, the two men washed up alone on Stinson Beach, California. They claimed that their boat had been struck by a freighter in tough waters. They said that they had gotten into a life raft which was later torn apart by sharp rocks. They claimed that the two women were lost at sea. A search was made for the boat and the women, which was unsuccessful. However, inconsistencies of their stories and analysis of the little wreckage afloat started to cast doubt upon their credibility.
The men claimed that they had fired flares and sent radio messages from their boat after the accident. However, these messages and flares were not noticed by a Coast Guard monitoring boat that was only three miles away. No records of the distress signal allegedly sent by the men were found. Also, the direction that the boat was apparently headed did not match an expected travel path to Tahiti. There was also no large vessel traffic in the area where they claimed that their boat was struck.
One man, a gun shop owner who was friends with the two men had been interrogated who sold the group a firearm in order to protect themselves from pirates. Russell ordered an assault rifle and a twelve-gauge shotgun. He also order 1200 rounds of ammunition. The owner was invited to tag along with the four on the boating trip but declined due to high work demands. He agreed to be interrogated on the basis he has now mistrusted Dozier and Russell's statements and intent to travel.
Other inconsistent facts were the lack of wreckage from the supposedly lost craft. The small bits of wreckage that did wash ashore were determined not to have been destroyed due to acts of nature, but man made damage. Hammer marks and other evidence was found on the debris. Also, the debris found was insufficient to conclude that it was of proper size and/or importance to sink the vessel; strongly suggesting non-vital parts of the Freedom Two were destroyed and intentionally cast overboard to throw the authorities off the track.
Medical examinations of both Dozier and Russell were suspicious. Neither man suffered from hypothermia, which is a common symptom of prolonged exposure to cold seawater. The U.S. Coast Guard has also cast doubt on the verity of the two men's reports on the basis of their behavior. As soon as Dozier and Russell were released from the hospital, both men immediately left town. Normally survivors of shipwrecks who are missing friends, family or colleagues stay in one place and work closely with authorities until sound evidence has been given that the missing people have died or have been recovered.
Another mismatch in the case is that Dozier, complaining of disorientation and memory loss at the time of rescue, later reported a third woman lost at sea by the name of Sherry Ann Dozier. Sherry Ann Dozier is in fact an alias of Suzanne Russell, whom had illegally married Dozier to go into ownership of their Nevada saloon. John Russell had wanted to open up the saloon, however his criminal record would not allow him to do this. Russell convinced Suzanne, his lawfully wedded wife, to commit bigamy with Dozier in order to gain the needed liquor license, and the bar went along successfully. This is another factor that has led authorities to believe foul play was involved in the case.
On November 14, a life preserver from the craft floated ashore; it was discovered by the Coast Guard. On the back of the preserver, several faint letters were noticed. Testing later revealed the word "Monicai". Investigators suspected that the Freedom Two was actually the Monicai which had been reported lost at sea. They also thought it might be another yacht, the Inspiration which had been reported stolen and looked exactly like the Freedom Two.
During the week of November 15, plastic bags and drug paraphernalia washed ashore near the place where the men had surfaced. The Coast Guard speculated that the men were involved in transporting drugs overseas. They believe that they faked the boat accident to make it appear to the drug owners that the boat crashed and the drugs lost, when they stole it instead. They believe that Suzanne, who was a good sailor, took the yacht to another port, where she later met with the men.
However, it is not known what involvement Kristin may have had in the case. She was an employee at the saloon and had been asked to go on the trip just a few days before they left. She had only known the men and Suzanne for a few months. Her family does not believe that she would be involved in a fraud or drug scheme. They fear that she has met with foul play.
Dozier and Russell have been charged with grand theft insurance fraud. They were reportedly sighted in Hawaii. Rumors have placed Russell in Oregon and Florida. Sightings of a boat resembling the Freedom Two have been reported in Hawaii and Acapulco. To date, no trace of them or the women have been found.
Extra Notes: This segment ran for the first time on November 9, 1988 and later updated on the November 23, 1988 episode.
Results: Captured. Bill and Betty Rauchert of Ontario, Canada watched the broadcast and recognized Dozier and the Russells as three people who stole their boat in 1982. Dozier was using the name "Bob Johnson", John Russell was using the name "John Smith", and Suzanne Russell was using the name "Ann Christine Smith". In 1982, they sold their boat to "Ann". Dozier and the Russells allegedly stole their boat after paying just 10% of the purchase price.
For six months, the Raucherts tracked their boat from port to port. They finally caught up with it in Fort Myers, Florida. A court ordered that the boat be returned to the Raucherts and issued a judgement of nearly $48,000 against "Ann". However, it did not help the Raucherts because the three had vanished again. In 1983, the two men were reportedly seen in Keymont, Texas. In 1986, they were rumored to be in Hawaii. John Russell was also reportedly seen in New Westminster, British Columbia. His father reportedly worked there at a branch of Bank of Montreal.
Bob Dozier was captured in April of 1991 as a result of an Unsolved Mysteries viewer tip. The viewer placed him in Hilo, Hawaii; the FBI was able to trace him to his location. John Russell was captured in June of 1993. Both served time for theft and fraud charges. However, they were never charged in connection with the women's disappearances.
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