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Wil Hendrick

Real Name: William Ray Hendrick
Nicknames: Wil
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Date: January 10, 1999

Bio[]

Occupation: Student
Date of Birth: December 24, 1973
Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Native American male.

Case[]

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 Saturday, January 9, 1999, the two were remodeling their kitchen when Wil mentioned going to their friend Katie Payne's party at her apartment complex at the intersection of C and Almon streets. 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, his 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 his car in a parking lot near the intersection of Fourth and Jackson street. 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 the dashboard. Again, Jerry did not believe that he would leave them behind. Police found no blood or hair samples in the car. However, they did find several sets of fingerprints. There was no apparent evidence of foul play.
Wil's 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 believed that he intentionally drove the car downtown and abandoned it. However, Jerry did not believe that he left voluntarily because they had many plans they were looking forward to. The day after his disappearance, Wil was supposed to audition for a play, pick up a $6,000 financial-aid check, and start his final semester. Katie suspected that he may have been killed by someone at the other party. His family suspected that he may have been killed for being gay.
Jerry believed that Wil's car held 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 believed 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 believed 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.
Wil's family and friends believed that the police did not initially take the case seriously, and may have lost crucial evidence as a result. For example, they did not impound his car until three days after it was found. Investigators, however, have denied this and claimed that they have taken it seriously from the beginning. They 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 believed 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 believed 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.
Investigators looked into the possibility that double murderer Benjamin Matthew Williams was involved in Wil's case. Williams attended the University of Idaho at the same time as Wil. Williams, a white supremacist, was later convicted of murdering a gay couple in Redding, California. However, there was no evidence that the two knew each other or that Williams was in Idaho at the time. He later committed suicide in prison. It is not known if he is still considered a suspect.
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 in a rural area in Latah County, outside of Moscow. Despite an extensive search, no other remains were found. The cause of death could not be determined, but the manner of death was ruled a homicide. The police and the FBI believe his attacker was someone he knew and that the person was familiar with the area where his body was found; despite this, no one has ever been arrested for his 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 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.
Strangely, Sheriff Wayne Rausch noted that when he was a detective, he tried working on the case, but then-sheriff Jeff Crouch refused and took him off of it. Crouch even went so far as to password-protect the case file, which meant that Rausch could not even access his own reports. When Rausch became sheriff in 2004, he was "stunned" by the lack of follow-up in the case. There is some speculation that Crouch may have known who was involved in Wil's case and was trying to cover it up. However, this theory has not been confirmed.
Sadly, Wil's father, Keith, passed away in 2013.
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