Real Name: Wallace Samuel Thrasher
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Drug-Trafficking
Missing Since: October 17, 1984
Details: Wallace Thrasher of Bland County, Virginia, illegally made his money by trafficking illegal drugs during the 80s. However, his organization came to an end on October 17, 1984, when one of his planes crashed in the dense Virginia wilderness. Investigators came upon the scene to find the charred body of its pilot, along with 1200 pounds of marijuana, with a street value close to $1 million.
From the late 70s to the early 80s, his operation flew tons of marijuana and cocaine into the western region of Virginia. Distributors then smuggled the drugs into Chicago, Detroit, and other big cities. Thrasher often piloted the planes himself and his neighbors considered him a local hero. Thanks to his operation, he and his wife Olga bought a ten-acre estate and surrounded themselves with luxury.
For over a decade, he seemed to be one step above the law. Of course, everything changed when one of his pilots crashed his plane into the mountainside. After the 1984 crash, it took two weeks for investigators to conclusively determined that Thrasher owned the plane. As they planned to move in to arrest him, an article appeared in the local paper, titled: "Pulaski native reportedly dies in crash".
Soon after, Virginia investigators tried to speak with his wife Olga. A man at her home claimed that they could not speak to her; however, he told them that Wallace had died in a plane crash in Jamaica on November 5, 1984. Investigators were suspicious; a few weeks later, Mrs. Thrasher produced a death certificate for her husband. Still suspicious, investigators sought to verify the information. It was later determined that the certificate was fraudulent. No witnesses were found to say that there ever was a crash in Jamaica.
Investigators decided to file charges against Wallace Thrasher. Olga was questioned again and she told them about the night of October 17, 1984. She claimed that there was a second pilot on the plane who had survived. While firefighters and police raced to the crash scene, Wallace picked the man up at a nearby gas station. He then took the pilot to his home where Olga tried to help treat the pilot's injuries.
Wallace later took the pilot to an out-of-state hospital. Two weeks later, he left on a small plane with $250,000, heading to Belize. He planned to buy a load of marijuana and return to the United States. However, investigators believe that he used the money to start a new life. Olga claims that she later received a phone call from his friends in Belize. They claimed that Wallace had died in a takeoff crash in Belize. They also claimed that the post-crash fire was so extensive that no identifiable remains could be found.
She later admitted to creating the fake death certificate in order to have access to her husband's estate. She believed that her property would be confiscated if investigators learned that her husband had been on a drug run when he died. However, investigators were still suspicious of the alleged plane crash in Belize. In May of 1986, one of Wallace's associates met with Olga. He claimed to have found his wedding ring among the plane's ashes. However, investigators believe that the ring was in too good of a condition for it to be in a fiery plane crash.
To this day, his family and friends claim that he died in the crash, but evidence suggests he's still very much alive, either somewhere in Florida or the Caribbean. Thrasher has been sighted several times since his "death" and if he is still alive, he would be in his 70s. He is 5'10", 175 pounds, blue eyes, and brown (now probably gray) hair.
Extra Notes: This segment ran for the first time on February 10, 1995. Thrasher was also featured on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Unresolved. In August of 2015, the indictment against Thrasher was dismissed under the belief that he is likely deceased. Investigators now believe that he died in the Belize plane crash. However, neither he nor his remains have ever been located. Investigators have noted that even if Thrasher was found alive, it would be difficult to prosecute him because witnesses are unavailable and too much time has passed.
- Wallace Thrasher on Unsolved.com
- Crash Probe Spotlights Rise In Smuggling
- Drug Suspect's Wife Pleads Guilty
- Missing pilot believed to have died in 1984
- Wallace Thrasher: Federal authorities at odds of drug pilot's fate
- Wallace Thrasher: 'Death' was staged, some say
- Show generates flood of tips on 'Unsolved Mystery'
- Likely dead, pilot Wallace Thrasher won't be prosecuted on '80s drug charge, feds say
- Thrasher questions still remain
- Belize plane crash on Aviation Safety Network
- Wallace Thrasher at Find a Grave
- Discussion thread on Thrasher