Real Name: Colleen Wood
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Date: December 15 or 16, 2000
Occupation: Office Manager
Date of Birth: December 2, 1947
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 115 lbs.
Marital Status: Divorced
Characteristics: Caucasian female with blonde-to-gray hair and brown eyes
Details: In April 1998, Colleen Wood, a fifty-one-year-old divorced mother of two, traveled from Dayton, Ohio to Raton, Florida, which was part of her life-long dream. That spring, she began working as an office manager of the Lighthouse Point Marina. In early 2000, she met John Paul through a personal ad; he was a former professional race car driver and Wall Street wizard, and the two were inseparable.
One evening, she shared her hopes and dreams of sailing around the world. She was surprised and thrilled that he wanted to take her on a voyage around the world aboard his 55-foot schooner called the Island Girl. Within a few weeks, she sold her condo and entrusted him with investing the net proceedings, $43,000. A short time later, she moved onto the Island Girl with him and quit her job. Her boss and friend, Maureen Canada, was surprised that she was quitting and going on a trip.
On December 3, 2000, she called her sons, Michael and Todd. At the time, Michael lived in Ohio and Todd was a soldier stationed in California. She told them they were going to sail in a few weeks and that she would soon be in touch. Maureen said she spoke to her about ten days later, around December 13 or 14, to invite her to the office Christmas party. At the time, she was at a bar with John in Key West. Maureen claimed that she sounded fine, but she never showed up at the party, nor did she contact her family over Christmas.
After the New Year, her family and friends began to worry. Todd's wife called her cell phone and found that her account had been closed. She then contacted Florida police, but because there was no evidence a crime had been committed, they could do very little. Michael went to the Internet in hopes of finding information about John; he was shocked to discover that John had served fifteen years in a federal penitentiary for attempted murder. He was a mastermind behind a drug-smuggling scheme in the early 1980s and had tried to kill his partner for ratting them out.
In 1999, he was paroled and within less than a year, he had met Colleen. His trip around the world was a violation of his parole and he is now wanted by authorities. Her family and friends do not believe that she knew about his prior convictions. Michael claims that John told different stories about his break-up with her with different people. He told his daughter that Colleen had been irate over one of his ex-girlfriends and had ended the relationship. Michael asked John's daughter to have him call him. Three days later, John did, and he gave Michael another version of the story. He said that they had an argument and she left the boat, and a few days later came back with her boyfriend and got the rest of her stuff.
In April 2001, four months after she was last heard from, detectives first determined, based on cell phone records, that Colleen had last used her phone on December 15 or 16. The detectives were also led to some suspicious activity on her credit cards. Between mid-December and mid-February, cash advancements totaling over $40,000 had occurred on her credit cards. The detectives found evidence that proved that she did not make any of the transactions and that the transactions were made without her consent. Surveillance photographs from the ATMs showed that at least two women, neither of them being Colleen, were using her cards. Authorities believe that these women were pretending to be Colleen and were making the transactions. Their identity and relation to the case is uncertain.
Also raising suspicion were two ads in the local newspaper that were placed under her name, using her credit cards and both were ordered by a male. The first ad ran in the "help wanted" section in early December, which was about a first mate on a boat. The second ad, ran in mid-December, was placed in the personals "male seeking female" section. Authorities suspected that the ads were placed by John, but could not be certain. The second ad began running on December 16, 2000, which was around the same time that Maureen spoke to Colleen.
Detectives finally tracked down John in May 2001 and it was then where he gave another scenario about her breakup and disappearance. John claimed that in mid-December, they had a large fight over a debt that she owed him. The detectives noted that John seemed quite nervous but also indifferent about Colleen's disappearance. Despite the inconsistencies, no solid evidence has been found to indicate that he was involved in her disappearance and he is not considered a suspect. John, after being questioned by detectives, left town, which is a violation in the terms of his parole; detectives would also like to find him to question him again in her disappearance. Neither one of them has ever been found.
Suspects: John Paul is considered a person of interest in Colleen's case. He gave at least three different stories regarding his alleged breakup with her. He also apparently did not tell her about his criminal past.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 9, 2002 episode. It was also shown on Disappeared. Although not mentioned in the segment, another one of John Paul's wives, Chalice Paul, and a former business partner, David Cassorla, are also missing.
Results: Unsolved. Detectives were able to identify and locate the two women who had used Colleen's credit cards. They told the detectives that the same man had taken them to different ATMs and given them Colleen's cards and PIN numbers. He paid them ten to twenty percent of the money and kept the rest for himself. The women identified the man as John Paul. Michael believes that John accessed the credit card information from her computer.
Detectives first received tips that John was in Montego Bay, Jamaica; however, he vanished before they could question him. In 2004, after the Unsolved Mysteries segment re-aired, a viewer recognized him as someone living in Fiji; he had since re-named the boat the Diamond Girl. However, because Fiji does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, authorities could do nothing. Since then, John has been spotted in ports throughout Asia and Europe.
An acquaintance of John's was on his boat while he was in Fiji in 2004. She was suspicious of him and his connections to Colleen. She managed to smuggle a laptop from the boat and give it to one of the detectives. It was later confirmed that the computer belonged to Colleen. Information on the computer helped the detectives determine how John made some of the transactions with Colleen's account.
The last report that detectives have about John's whereabouts was from 2009, when he and the boat were in Thailand. He intended to open a dive shop off the coast of Thailand. In 2011, John reportedly sold the Diamond Girl. He is now believed to be either in Thailand or his home country, the Netherlands. He is still considered a person of interest in the case, but has never returned to the United States to be re-questioned. Sadly, Colleen has never been located, although authorities are certain the she is deceased.
- Colleen Wood on the Charley Project
- Colleen Wood on Unsolved.com
- Colleen Wood on the North American Missing Persons Network
- Colleen Wood on NamUs
- John Paul's wife Chalice Paul on the North American Missing Persons Network
- Police seek help in search for woman - May 3, 2001
- Woman vanishes; foul play suspected - June 12, 2001
- Missing woman planned around-the-world voyage - June 12, 2001
- Missing woman's friend a smuggler - June 13, 2001
- Woman's romantic odyssey turns into grim mystery - June 24, 2001
- Select It Sunday: Colleen Wood - January 5, 2014
- Racers who have run afoul with the law - May 7, 2014