Real Name: Dwayne Allen McCorkendale
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Chandler, Oklahoma
Date: November 12, 1988
Details: On November 12, 1988, at a highway rest stop at mile marker 31 of the Turner Turnpike in Chandler, Oklahoma, an anonymous caller reported seeing the body of a man lying beside a phone booth. At approximately 8pm, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol arrived on the scene. The man had been murdered. Coins had been scattered about his body. The dead man was Dwayne McCorkendale, a twenty-seven-year-old truck driver and father of twin girls from Kansas City, Kansas. His truck was parked nearby. He had been killed by a single shotgun blast fired at close range into his back with a 12-gauge shotgun. The apparent motive was robbery.
Dwayne’s wife, Joan, says that if he had been killed in an accident, she could have handled it a lot better. She feels that it was very ironic that he was killed for money, when the last thing a trucker will do is carry much money for that very reason.
Every day, thousands of big rigs travel the highways and back roads of America. Though they come from many walks of life, truckers have one thing in common: CB radios, their lifeline to the rest of the world. But for Dwayne, an idle conversation over the airwaves may have signed his death warrant.
Dwayne’s final run began like any other. On November 10, 1988, he left Detroit, Michigan, en route to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to Paul Renfrow of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Dwayne made a regular run bringing parts to an Oklahoma City General Motors automobile plant. Renfrow does not believe that the night of November 12 was different for Dwayne than any other night.
That evening, Dwayne entered the turnpike and was given a ticket with the time on it. Through that ticket, investigators were able to determine that he made no other stops. He drove directly from the turnpike gate to the rest area. Other truckers reported that at approximately 5:45pm, Dwayne told them he was stopping at the Chandler rest stop to call his wife. Renfrow theorizes that someone had been listening to Dwayne on the CB radio and actually followed him into the rest area. It is also possible that the person(s) was already there waiting for him.
Renfrow believes that as Dwayne walked up to the phone booth, he pulled out some change and counted it in his hands; there was some change found at the base of the booth. He was then shot in the back and killed as he stepped up to make his call. The shot killed him instantly, so he was dead before he hit the ground. Then, after he was shot, the killer checked him to see if he had any money on him. Renfrow considers the killer(s) to be “scary” because they are the type of people who will likely commit this type of crime again.
Investigators determined that the only items that were missing were Dwayne’s keys and wallet. They estimate that the killer’s take was no more than $25. Joan believes that it is ridiculous that he was killed for such a small amount of money. She is certain that if the killer(s) had come up to him in any threatening manner, he would have handed the money over.
According to Renfrow, early on in the investigation, their leads were thin. One of things that the OSBI agents started doing was putting notices in trucker magazines across the United States. Almost immediately, calls started coming in. Within days, investigators received reports about a brown Ford Pinto equipped with a CB radio. Several truckers told of a dangerous game of “cat and mouse.” Around the time of Dwayne’s death, the Pinto was seen driving erratically on the highway trying to cut 18-wheelers off.
In one instance, a trucker talked to the Pinto’s driver over the CB radio. The driver said, “You don’t know who you’re messing with good buddy. We’ll drive anyway we want.” The trucker responded, “That’s no way to drive out here, you’re going to get somebody hurt.” The driver then said, “So? We’ve already killed one trucker. And we’ll kill another if you stay in our way.” In other instances, when a trucker would call the Pinto on the CB, the Pinto’s driver was abusive. They said similar statements, such as, “leave us alone or we’ll do to you what we did to this other trucker.”
Three weeks later, authorities received a call from trucker Ed Heitkamp. He was breaking for lunch at a rest stop when he was approached by a young woman who was acting strangely. He described her as looking “kind of trashy.” He believed that she was on some kind of drugs and was acting shaky. In fact, when she first approached him, she asked if he had any “dope” that he could share with her.
The woman told Ed that she and her friend had been visiting friends in Texas. She said that they were trying to get back to Alabama and asked if he could help them find the road to get there. When he turned to reach for a map, she stuck the whole front half of her body inside his truck cab. She then asked if he could spare her some money because she “needed a fix real bad.” He told her that he would not give her money for that. At about that same time, a brown Pinto pulled up. She jumped down off his truck and headed for the car. They then took off.
The next day, just thirteen miles south on the same highway, Dwayne was gunned down. After Ed read the article about the murder, he realized that he was probably lucky that he did not get out of his truck. He believes that he would have gotten shot because the woman was very desperate. Renfrow notes that while they have no way of knowing whether the Pinto was involved or not, it is their strongest lead in the case. He feels that it is very important that they locate the Pinto and the people in it. If nothing else, police would like to eliminate them as suspects.
Dwayne was murdered doing the thing he loved best. But for him, the freedom of the road ended in one senseless and violent split second. Joan says it has been very hard having the twins grow up only knowing their father through pictures. They see other children with their fathers and ask where their father is. She has had to tell them that “he’s in heaven with Jesus.” Later on, she is going to have to find a way to tell them what somebody did to them.
Today, authorities are no closer to finding Dwayne’s killer than they were the night his body was discovered. Their only lead is the brown Pinto. The occupants of the car were described as a white male and a black male, sometimes accompanied by a white female. The company where Dwayne was employed, Contractors Incorporated, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder.
Suspects: There were ten reports in six states of the brown Ford Pinto either trying to run trucks off the road or the car's occupants acting suspiciously at rest stops. The three people in the car were described as a white male, black male, and a white female. It should be noted that the female had confronted Ed for drugs in the area of Dwayne's murder, leading to a possible motive for robbery. There are no sketches available for the car's occupants. The car had an Oklahoma license plate. It should also be noted that the car had one very distinct feature: a CB radio. None of the occupants have been identified; it is not known if they were actually involved in the murder.
- This case first aired on the November 21, 1990 episode.
- OSBI investigator Paul Renfrow was also interviewed for the Aileen Conway and Michael St. Clair and Dennis Reese cases.
- Some sources state that Dwayne was from Joplin, Missouri.
Results: Unsolved. Investigators have looked into the possibility that an unidentified woman called "Mercedes" was involved in Dwayne's murder. She was murdered by her boyfriend, James McAlphin, on July 10, 1991. Prior to her death, she used several false identities; to date, her real name is unknown. Investigators learned that prior to her death, she had mentioned that she was used as a lure to get truck drivers out of their trucks, where a male companion (presumably McAlphin) would then rob the truckers. In one case, he allegedly murdered one of the truckers. It is possible that she was referring to Dwayne. Investigators also noted that she matched the description of the woman seen by Ed Heitkamp and that she and McAlphin matched the general description of the Pinto occupants. However, her identity remains unknown, along with any possible connection she may have to Dwayne's murder.
Sadly, Dwayne's father Milford passed away in 2013 and his brother Charles passed away in 2019.
- Dwayne McCorkendale on Unsolved.com
- Dwayne McCorkendale at OSBI
- Shooting Victim's Body Identified - November 14, 1988
- Officials probe death of KCK man - November 14, 1988
- Robbery weighed as motive in KCK trucker’s death - November 15, 1988
- Reward Being Offered in Slaying of Trucker - November 17, 1988
- "Unsolved Mysteries" comes to Oklahoma - June 7, 1990
- TV crew re-enacts crime in hopes of uncovering clues - June 8, 1990
- "Unsolved Mysteries" to feature state case - June 8, 1990
- Trucker's mysterious death featured on TV - November 21, 1990
- Oklahoma case featured on show - November 21, 1990
- Death of truck driver subject of show - November 22, 1990
- TV show prompts leads in truck driver slaying - December 3, 1990
- In some 'cold cases,' OSBI still hot on the trail - March 17, 2008
- We Know Who Killed Her. But 24 Years Later, We Still Don’t Know Her Name. (Article about Mercedes) - March 15, 2016
- OSBI to open new cold case unit - October 23, 2018
- Reddit Post about Mercedes and Dwayne
- Dwayne McCorkendale Obituary
- Dwayne McCorkendale at Find a Grave