Unsolved Mysteries Wiki
Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Dan Wilson

Real Name: Daniel Wilson
Nicknames: Dan
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: August 24, 1988


Occupation: Electrician / Mechanic
Date of Birth: Unrevealed
Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Divorced
Characteristics: Unrevealed


Details: Dan Wilson of Spokane, Washington, divorced his wife in 1986, but he remained close to their two young children, visiting them often. In 1987, he suffered a nervous breakdown, which he felt was due to the pain of his divorce. By summer 1988, however, he stated he was feeling much better and that he was off of his medication.
In June 1988, Dan went to work at the ASC Machine Tool Company in Spokane; everything seemed fine until August 24 when, for no known reason, he began yelling and arguing with his foreman. His foreman and the plant manager were worried about him and decided to give him the rest of the day off. He left work at around 11am and vanished. Two days later, his neighbors noticed that his sprinklers were on, so they turned them off; they did not suspect anything was wrong. He was not scheduled to visit his children that weekend, so his ex-wife did not notice that he was missing. Neither did his mother, Darlene, even though she was unable to get an answer when calling his home phone that weekend.
Finally, on Monday, August 29, Dan's car was discovered in a remote area of Custer County, Montana. The doors were unlocked and the front one was ajar; his Bible was found in the passenger seat, but the keys were not in the ignition. It was determined that the car was found more than 700 miles from his house. There was no luggage in it, suggesting that he was not planning on traveling anywhere. A search of the area turned up no trace of him.

The route that Dan took when he vanished

Dan's family reported him missing and and two of his cousins traveled to Montana to try and figure out what happened to him. His cousin, Glenda, had visited him at his house two days before he vanished. She noticed that things were out of place and in a sort of disarray, and that he seemed agitated and tired for some reason. He claimed that it was just stress related to work. Before leaving, she suggested that he take some time off from work to visit his relatives in Longmont, Colorado.
Just two days later, Dan would have his violent outburst at work and vanish. His family believes that he did decide to go to Longmont to visit his relatives. He had made the trip there from Spokane many times before. He normally took Route 90 south past Billings, Montana, to get there, but when he vanished, he apparently took Route 94, heading east of Billings. He continued 100 miles into the sparsely populated area where his car was later found. His family could not understand why he would stray so much off course; they suspected foul play.
Darlene knows that Dan has picked up hitchhikers in the past; she believes that someone else may have left his car in Montana. Determined to find out what happened to him, his family went back to his house in Spokane, finding it in even more disarray than when Glenda was there the previous week. His luggage, clothes, and an uncashed paycheck were still there. After leaving Spokane, Darlene and Glenda drove his car and began suffering from sore throats and burning sensations in their eyes. A mechanic determined that there was a carbon monoxide leak in the muffler, which explained their illnesses. It may have also caused Dan severe physical and emotional damage. It can cause fatigue, changes in personality, confusion, memory loss, and more issues.
Dan's family believed that he may be suffering from amnesia and that he could be somewhere in Montana. They placed missing person fliers throughout there, and in November 1988, received a response. A homeless shelter in Billings had a desk register which showed that a "Dan Wilson" had signed in on the night of November 12. Darlene compared the signature with his and felt that they were very similar. After going to the shelter, two of the employees were certain that they had seen him. However, since then, there have been few leads in this case.
Authorities have not yet ruled out foul play, but have also suggested that Dan may have voluntarily disappeared. His family, however, is convinced that he is suffering from amnesia and that he may still be alive.
Suspects: None known. Darlene at first believed that Dan was attacked by a hitchhiker. However, she now believes that carbon monoxide was responsible for his bizarre behavior and disappearance.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 3, 1990 episode.
Results: Solved. In September 1997, Dan's remains were found approximately five miles from his car. A positive identification was made through dental records. Authorities believe he may have wandered off and died of exposure. The Custer County Sheriff's Office considers this case closed.