Real Name: Paul Donald Kemp Jr.
Nicknames: Don, Donald
Location: Carbon County, Wyoming
Date: November 16, 1982
Details: Thirty-five-year-old Don Kemp was an advertising executive in New York. After a debilitating traffic accident, he changed his mind about returning to his Madison Avenue position. Choosing to write a book about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, in September 1982 he sold nearly everything he owned and headed out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He planned to finish the book there. However, he never made it.
On November 15, Don showed up at a western museum in Cheyenne. He walked through the galleries for two hours but spoke to no one. When he left, he apparently left his attache case. In it were his traveler's checks, diaries, and driving glasses. A few hours after leaving the museum, he called there and asked about his case. They told him it was there and he said that he would come back and retrieve it. However, he never returned and was never seen again.
At 10am on November 16, patrolman Randy Teeters found Don's abandoned Chevy Blazer idling on an Interstate 80 on-ramp forty miles from any town with his belongings strewn around it. It had been there since 7:30am. A solitary set of footprints departed from it into the snow. Due to this and the amount of belongings in the car, police believed that he was alone when he left his vehicle. They also believed that he wandered off due to mental or health problems.
However, Don's mother Mary believed that he was abducted from his car and taken to another location. An extensive search was made for him, but no trace was found. His duffel bag with a few personal items was found one mile from the highway. Mary believed that the items were planted there.
On the second day of the search, tracks in the snow led searchers to a barn six miles away. Inside, they found a pile of sticks, arranged as if someone had tried to start a fire. They also found three of Don's socks. Again, Mary believed that they were planted there. Strangely, there was only one set of tracks leading to the barn. Searchers believed that Don backtracked in his own footsteps from the barn.
Three days after Don's disappearance, a blizzard entered the area, making it impossible to continue the search. Many believed that he had died in the storm. Three years later, his remains were found two miles from where his car had been deserted. An autopsy found no signs of a struggle. It was believed he had died in the blizzard while trying to return to his car. However, Mary believes that foul play was involved in his death.
Five months after Don vanished, he was sighted in Casper, Wyoming, on two different occasions. In the first sighting, a witness saw him at a travelling exhibit of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. In the second, he was seen at a bar by a bartender, who clearly remembered serving him. Around the same time of these sightings, one of Don's friends, "Sally", returned home from vacation and found several voicemail messages, apparently from him.
Sally said that she was absolutely certain that it was Don's voice; in the brief message, he said that he would speak to her again and he left a phone number. The next day, Sally called the number and asked to speak to him. A man answered the phone and he said that Don was out. Sally is convinced that the caller holds the answers to what really happened to Don.
Telephone records traced the calls to a trailer in Casper, 180 miles from where Don vanished; the owner of the trailer claimed he had no knowledge of Don. He also claimed that he did not make the phone calls. Mary, however, believed that the man was involved in Don's death. She tried to contact him repeatedly. When he responded, he continued to deny that he knew about Don.
Three weeks after his interrogation, the man moved out of the trailer and left Casper. Investigators noted that the man was cooperative; they do not believe he had any knowledge about the case. Although they believe Don died in the blizzard, Mary believes that he met with foul play in Casper. She is still searching for answers.
Suspects: Several months after Don's disappearance, several mysterious phone calls were made to a friend of his. The calls were traced to a trailer in Casper, Wyoming. The trailer's owner denied making the phone calls or knowing anything about the case. However, Mary believes that he was responsible for Don's disappearance and death.
Extra Notes: The case was part of the January 20, 1987 special with Raymond Burr. The patrolman who discovered Kemp's abandoned vehicle, Officer Randyll "Randy" Teeters, passed away of cancer May 7th, 2004; he was 46 years old.
This was the first case ever aired on the show.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Mary passed away in May 2014.
- Don Kemp at Unsolved.com
- Death of Don Kemp on Wikipedia
- Mother won't give up search - April 12, 1984
- Mother tormented by son's mystery - April 13, 1984
- Body of Salisbury 'prophet,' missing since '82, recovered - October 9, 1985
- Remains found in Wyoming
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Don Kemp
- Randyll L. 'Randy' Teeters Obituary
- Don Kemp at Find a Grave