Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Justin Burgwinkel

Real Name: Justin Burgwinkel
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Monterey, California
Date: June 12, 1993


Occupation: US Army Specialist
Date of Birth: May 14, 1972
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Marital Status: Dating
Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes


Details: Justin Burgwinkel of Massachusetts joined the U.S. Army in summer 1990. He wanted to join an elite part of it called the Rangers. He began language training for it; however, he was taken out after he was arrested for shoplifting. He was then sent to Fort Ord near Monterrey, California, where he became a cook for the soldiers there.
In August 1992, Justin began dating computer science student Iolanda Antunes who lived in Santa Clara, eighty-five miles away. He tried to visit her as often as he could. However, she soon noticed that he began acting strangely. While he would be visiting, he would suddenly say that he would have to leave and return to Fort Ord. He told her that it would be better for her to not know what he was being involved with; she became very suspicious of him. In February 1993, she was transferred from Fort Ord to Fort Lewis in Washington.
In May 1993, Justin returned to Santa Clara to visit Iolanda and began acting even stranger than before. He was apparently very secretive about a briefcase that he had brought with him. One time, she saw him taking papers out of it and shredding them. Another day, she found him in the living room crying. When she talked to him, he said nothing was wrong.
One night, Iolanda received a call while Justin was out with friends. The caller gave her a message to give to him: "The mission's off," When he returned, she gave him the message, and he began to freak out. He refused to explain, and a few days later he left for Fort Lewis. Soon after, he called his parents, but they noticed nothing out of the ordinary with his demeanor. However, at the same time, he purchased two handguns and a large amount of ammunition for no apparent reason.
On June 4, 1993, at 4:30am, Justin did not report to his kitchen duties. Three days later, he was officially reported AWOL. However, instead of disappearing, he went to Iolanda's apartment that night. He called his parents and told them that he was not AWOL, and that he was "working". Later that night, he called Fort Lewis and said that he had some things to take care of, but that he would report back as soon as possible.
However, Justin did not report back, and instead stayed at Iolanda's apartment for a few more days. He refused to explain almost anything about what was going on except he told her to watch the movie White Sands and that everything would make sense. It is about arms smuggling, the FBI, and the CIA. Iolanda thought he might be working for the CIA but he did elaborate on anything.
Finally, at around 10am on June 12, Justin left Iolanda's apartment for the last time, heading for Fort Ord. He was never seen again. His parents tried to get the police and the Army to search for him, but little was done. Three months later, his car was found abandoned at a beachfront motel near Monterey. His name was not on the guest list at all during those three months. His handguns were not in the trunk, but his briefcase, car keys, wallet, credit cards, and military ID were. His military dog tags also were, which reminded Iolanda of a bizarre incident where he asked her if she knew what those were for. When she said she did not know, he explained they are used to identify soldiers, and that if she saw them lying around, it meant he was dead.
Justin's family and friends started hearing rumors that he was possibly murdered due to connections to Army Intelligence. However, others believe that he ran away from the military and made up this bizarre story to cover his disappearance. His case remains unsolved.
Suspects: None known; some suspect that the military may have been involved in Justin's disappearance. Others suspect that he vanished voluntarily.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 12, 1995 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Justin's mother, Diane, who was in the segment, died in 2006. In her obituary, it is listed that he pre-deceased her.