Dottie Caylor
A woman who’s terrified of leaving her house boards a train and vanishes.


Dottie Caylor

Missing:

Gender: Female
DOB: 1/9/44
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 190 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown
Remarks: Last seen 6/12/85


Dottie’s missing persons poster


Jule and Dottie

CASE DETAILS


Dottie had a secret PO box and bank account

On June 12, 1985, Jule Caylor drove his wife Dottie to a train station in Pleasant Hill, California, 18 miles from Oakland.   Dottie entered the station and purchased a ticket.   Although a simple task performed by millions each day, for Dottie Caylor, purchasing the ticket was a test of courage.   Dottie suffered from agoraphobia, an irrational and overwhelming fear of being in public places.   No one knows for sure if she actually boarded the train, because since that day, there has been no trace of Dottie Caylor.  

At first, friends thought Dottie may have left to escape an unhappy marriage and start a new life in another city. But as the months and years went by, there was no word from Dottie.   Dottie's sister, Diane Rusnak, believed Jule was to blame for Dottie's disappearance:

"I think that Dottie could have disappeared to get even with her husband, who had disappeared on her for half of their married life."


Dottie’s purse was found in her car

Dottie married Jule Caylor in 1973 and the young couple settled in the Oakland suburb of Concord.   According to Jule, as Dottie grew older, her home became a self-imposed prison:

"Dottie had what doctors have called agoraphobia.   She would stay inside most of the time.   She couldn't even apply for a job, much less hold one down.   It was a real problem."  

Dottie and Jule's marriage eventually deteriorated.   Dottie was often home alone, because Jule worked out of town over fifty percent of the time.   Then in November 1981, their relationship erupted in violence.   Dottie's friend, Paula Powers, recalled Dottie's first physical altercation with her husband:

"She told me that they got in an argument.   It escalated to the point where he finally hit her with a board or something, and... she did grab some scissors and said, you keep away from me, and protected herself."

But according to Jule, it was Dottie who started the fight:

"She was standing over... me with those scissors swearing at me and saying, I'll kill you, you son of a ... I'll kill you.   And I grabbed her little typing stand and hit her with it."


Did Dottie really leave on a train?

In 1984, Dottie decided to join a support group called "Women in Transition." Without ever telling Jule, she attended meetings for over a year.   Shelly Wilson, a friend of Dottie's, noticed an immediate change in her friend:

"As time went on, I would notice she was adding a little more color to her outfits.   She cut her hair in a new style, which was a very scary thing for her.   It was as if a new Dottie were emerging."

In addition, Dottie secretly rented a post office box to receive her mail without Jule knowing about it.   She also opened a personal bank account and transferred $5,000 into a cashier's check.   Jule Caylor was shocked to learn of his wife's devious behavior:

"She had secret lives, a secret existence that I knew nothing about.   And she wanted it that way... I wasn't even aware of it.   I was just suspicious."

Then, one month before Dottie's disappearance, Jule told her he had accepted a job transfer to Salt Lake City.   He recalled Dottie's reaction:

"Dottie had said, in the event that I got transferred, that she was not interested in going with me.   So I wasn't expecting her to go with me.    And wouldn't even have wanted her to, I guess."

According to Jule, just a few days before he was to leave for Salt Lake City, he drove Dottie to the train station.   Jule was certain that Dottie had her purse, as well as her overnight bag as she walked in the train station the last time.   But he can't be sure that Dottie ever boarded the train:

"And I dropped her off, and she walked around the corner of the station and disappeared."

The next day, Jule took the train home from work.   In the train station parking lot, he was surprised to find Dottie's Volkswagen parked next to his car:

"So I walked over and looked inside, and then I noticed her purse, and that was very, very strange."  

Shelley Wilson also found it strange that Dottie left her purse behind:

"She told me how important it was to her, to have her purse with her all the time. That's one of the things that made me feel so terribly upset when I realized that she had not taken her purse with her."

Over the next four days, Jule left notes on Dottie's car, asking her to contact him.   He expressed his love for her in the notes and pleaded with Dottie to come home.   Jule waited five days to file a missing persons report.   Two weeks later, Jule moved to Salt Lake City, where he built a comfortable new life for himself:

"It was hell living with Dottie.   It was hell having her disappear the way that she did.   And yet, since I've gotten here, and gotten settled, and into a new job and that whole problem is behind me, things are really pretty good."

Many years have passed and still no one knows if Dottie Caylor left to escape an unhappy marriage or if she was simply the victim of foul play.   The Concord Police Department is still treating Dottie's disappearance as a homicide.   Police do not consider Jule Caylor a suspect but a "person of interest."