Real Name: Permon Eugene Gilbert
Nicknames: Perm, Gene
Location: Hamersville, Ohio
Date: May 23, 1982
Details: Forty-six-year-old Permon Gilbert was a beloved husband and father of four. He and his family belonged to the Church of Christ and participated in the civic life of the rural Ohio county where they lived their entire lives. He remained close to his siblings, especially his youngest brother who was in and out of trouble with the law. Although his hobby was flying, he was employed as an appliance repairman. He was assigned by a national company as their troubleshooter. He worked for the large firm during the week. However, on Saturdays, he made independent service calls.
On the morning of Saturday, May 22, 1982, Permon left for service calls near his home in Hamersville, Ohio. The service calls took him to several towns in southern Ohio, including Mt. Orab, Georgetown, and Aberdeen. After finishing these calls, he crossed the Simon Kenton Bridge into Maysville, Kentucky, and stopped at a market. The woman at the checkout counter had encountered Permon in the past; that day, she noticed nothing unusual about his demeanor.
After going to the market, Permon went to a nearby flower shop. He asked if a specific employee was working, but was told that she did not start until 4PM. He said that he would return later because the employee knew the type of flowers. However, he never returned to the shop and was never seen again. He told his wife Joanne that he would be home by 3PM, but he never arrived.
Joanne was concerned, but was unable to look for Permon because she was taking care of their young child. At around 3AM, she called one of their friends, asking about Permon's whereabouts. She then called the police and reported him missing. His movements were unknown from when he left the flower shop until the next day, when he was discovered beaten and shot to death, left naked by the side of the road. The area was just a few miles from his home. There were no cloth fibers in his two bullet wounds, so it is believed that he was naked from above the waist when he was shot.
His van was found abandoned twenty-two miles from the spot where his body was found. Unidentified fingerprints and hairs were found in the van; it is believed that they belong to Permon's killer. His watch and toolbox were also found in the vehicle; however, his clothes, wallet, and distinctive Masonic belt buckle have never been found.
Police, at first, had absolutely no idea why he was murdered, because he had no known enemies. Within time, however, locals began to speculate he had been killed by a jealous husband or by drug distributors trying to gain access to his private plane. His brother, Vernon, believes he was killed as a warning not to testify in a court case against reputed organized crime figures.
To this date, no one knows who killed him, and a $20,000 reward is being offered in the case.
Suspects: Police have identified three possible scenarios that could have led to Permon's murder. The first scenario is that Permon was murdered by drug distributors after he refused to use his plane to fly drugs to different dealers. Permon, indeed, had told his wife Joanne that drug dealers had asked him to fly drugs for them. However, he refused to take part in it.
The second scenario is that he was killed for knowing too much about Vernon's organized crime case. In February 1982, when Vernon was called to testify in an organized crime case, Permon stood by him. The actual hearings were closed to the public, so Permon had to wait while his brother testified. He suspected that he was being followed while at the federal courthouse.
The third scenario is that Permon may have been having an affair with a woman he worked for and was killed by her jealous boyfriend or husband. His job placed him in many houses alone with women. This theory would best match the evidence as Permon was shot while naked and dumped without his clothes. However, Joanne did not believe this theory.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 22, 1989 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Investigators re-opened the case in 2011. Sadly, his wife Joanne Schneider Gilbert died in April of 2012 without learning any new information about her husband's death. Police and Permon's children are still searching for answers.
- Permon Gilbert at Unsolved.com
- Cinncinati Enquirer (May 1982)
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- 3 Years Later, Police Still Sift Clues In Repairman's Death
- Police, FBI like exposure from TV crime solvers
- 30-year-old murder case investigated
- Murder case getting fresh attention
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Permon Gilbert
- Permon Gilbert at Find a Grave