Real Name: William Ray Hendrick
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Date: January 10, 1999
Bio[edit | edit source]
Date of Birth: December 24, 1973
Marital Status: Married
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: Twenty-five-year-old Wil Hendrick was a well-liked theater student at the University of Idaho. He had a good job on campus and recently landed a small part in a Hollywood action film. He lived with his partner of five years, Jerry Schutz. On January 9, 1999, the two were remodeling their kitchen when Wil mentioned going to their friend Katie Payne's party. However, Jerry was tired and did not want to go. At around midnight, Wil said goodbye to Jerry and left for the party.
By the time Wil arrived, there were two parties going on. One party, on the third floor, consisted of former athletes from the town high school. The other party, on the second floor, consisted of Katie's friends from the college theater department. Throughout the night, Wil was worried about their friend Karen. She was having problems with her boyfriend, one of the attendants of the third floor party. He tried to protect Karen from her boyfriend, but Katie did not want him to get involved.
By 2:30AM, Karen had left the party, leaving Katie to watch over Wil, who was drunk. She went inside briefly to call Karen and make sure she got home. When she came back outside, Wil was gone. She noticed that his car was still parked out front, so she assumed that he had gone upstairs. The next morning, however, the car was gone. Witnesses at the party reported hearing a car, possibly Wil's, drive away at a high rate of speed. At around 11AM, Jerry called Katie and asked if Wil was there. When he learned that he was not there, Jerry began calling other theater students. However, no one knew where he was.
Wil's parents were contacted and were also concerned for him. When he did not turn up by Monday morning, thirty-six hours later, his friends searched the city for him. Later that day, they found Wil's car, parked on a downtown seat. Jerry was surprised to find that it was unlocked and that Wil had left his portfolio in the back seat. He did not believe that Wil would have left it behind. His work keys were also found on his dashboard. Again, Jerry did not believe that he would leave this behind. Police found no blood or hair samples in the car. There was also no apparent evidence of foul play.
His friend, Kathy Sprague, thought he had left town for a new life. She noted that Wil was sometimes overwhelmed by school and had talked about leaving and touring the country. She believes that he intentionally drove the car downtown and abandoned it. However, Jerry does not believe that he left voluntarily. Katie suspects that he may have been killed by someone at the other party. His family suspects that he may have been killed for being gay.
Jerry believes that Wil's car could hold the key to his disappearance. When the car was released to him by the police, he noticed that there was mud caked onto the inside wheel wells. He believes that this occurred when an assailant dumped Wil's body. He also noticed that the seat had been moved back to its far-away position. He believes that a larger person abandoned Wil's car.
Jerry suspected that someone they both knew crossed paths with Wil that morning. Two months prior to the disappearance, Jerry had fired a van driver who worked for his shuttle service. One morning, he came in from his shift, demanding that the operations manager change a headlight. Jerry and the driver got into an argument, which ended in the driver yelling a gay slur and Jerry firing him. Jerry learned that the man later got a job with a long-haul trucking outfit. On the morning of Wil's disappearance, at around 4:30AM, the man checked out a refrigerated truck from the dispatch in Lewiston, thirty miles south of Moscow. Wil was last seen around that time.
Investigators have looked into hundreds of leads and checked out several possible sightings of Wil. However, they still have no idea what happened to him. His family and friends are still searching for answers.
Suspects: Jerry believes Wil's disappearance could be tied to a shuttle driver who hurled a gay slur at him. This man started driving a refrigerated truck and was heading to Lewiston at the time of Wil's disappearance. No other suspects have ever been identified.
Katie believes that people from the third floor party may have been involved in his disappearance. Police interviewed the party attendants, but did not find any evidence that they were responsible. All of them passed polygraphs.
Police also questioned a man who reported Wil entering his apartment (below Katie's), drunk and belligerent. The man was able to calm him down and get him out of his apartment. He was ruled out as a suspect and is believed to be the last person to see Wil alive.
Extra Notes: This case originally ran on the August 7, 2001 episode.
Results: Unresolved. On September 7, 2002, two hunters found Wil's skull and jaw bone dumped in a rural area near Moscow, Idaho. No other remains are found. The cause of death could not be determined, but the manner of death was ruled a homicide. The police believe his attacker was someone he knew, but no one has ever been arrested in the murder.
However, there are several possible suspects in the case. Wil's mother, Leslie, claimed that her nephew's foster brother had told her about three men who had bragged about killing Wil. She recognized them all as individuals she had dealt with while working as a police officer. She fears that the men may have killed Wil because he was her son. However, the police have not confirmed or denied this theory.
Another prime suspect is the truck driver that Jerry fired shortly before Wil's disappearance. According to police, the truck driver actually lived in the same trailer park as Wil and Jerry. Wil actually knew the man and sometimes stayed at his home. The day after Wil vanished, the man suddenly packed up his belongings and left for Florida. He also refused to cooperate with police. However, he was never charged in the case.
Sadly, Wil's father, Keith, passed away in 2013.
- Wil Hendrick at Unsolved.com
- Wil Hendrick Facebook Page
- Wil Hendrick at East Idaho Cold Cases
- Memorial Held For Missing Student
- Moscow's Wil Hendrick subject of MSNBC segment
- Hendrick case remains a frustrating puzzle
- Hendrick case gets assist from FBI
- Murder in Moscow
- Idaho college town no refuge from violence
- A party leads to murder
- What happened to Wil?
- Who Murdered Wil Hendrick in 1999?
- Wil Hendrick at Find a Grave