An auto shop owner disappears after he receives a call for help from a stranded motorist.

Dale Williams is missing

Missing:

Gender: Male
DOB: 7/15/56
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown/gray

CASE DETAILS

Dale’s truck discovered in a river

On July 4, 1999, a family in Montrose County, Colorado, taking a Sunday swim, discovered a pick-up truck in the muddy water. The Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene. The truck belonged to Dale Williams, who had not been seen or heard from for six weeks. The pickup and the crime scene gave no clues to Dale’s whereabouts.

Forty-two year-old Dale Williams was a devoted husband and father of two teenage daughters. He owned and operated an auto body shop in the town of Nucla. The night he disappeared, Dale didn’t make it home for dinner. At first, his wife, Diana, assumed he had just lost track of time. But by bedtime, she was worried:

“I called the shop a couple of times and no answer. So I thought, ‘Well, maybe he just didn’t hear the phone ’cause he’s using the air ratchets or something. I went to bed about 10, I laid there and I felt like something’s wrong. I tossed and turned all night, woke up several times and he still wasn’t home.”

What happened to Dale’s missing posters?

By dawn, Dale had not returned. As soon as she got her kids off to school, Diana drove straight to his garage:

“When I first walked in the shop, the door was unlocked. The hood was still up on the van. His tools were just lying around the vehicle like he’d just walked away from it for a few minutes. I went over to my mother-in-law’s and she hadn’t heard from him the day before or that morning.”

They searched for hours before calling the police. Investigators learned Dale made a brief stop at family friend Tami Lowrance’s office about 12:15 P.M. the day he disappeared:

“I had a windshield that I needed repaired on a truck of ours. I thought it was strange that Dale stopped in, because he didn’t have to stop and tell me. He could have called me.”

Dale was in a hurry. According to Tammy, he told her he was on his way to help a stranded motorist:

“Maybe he felt uneasy about who he was going to give a tow to. I really don’t know. That was the last time that I saw Dale Williams.”

Dale found torn photos at his shop

Investigators also found out that Dale’s friend, Pastor Tom Ross, and his son, had stopped by the body shop late that morning. Tom told the police that Dale received distress call while he was there:

“It was getting close to the noon hour and he said, ‘I’m real busy today, got a full shop.’ ‘But,’ he said, ‘I got time for one game of darts if you want to, if you got time.’ I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ And a phone call came in. They said they were broken down about three-quarters of a mile east of the Bedrock Colorado Store, just a little country store.”

Dale’s shop did auto body repair. He wasn’t a mechanic. Tom Ross thinks it was strange for him to receive a call for roadside help:

“I did feel it was odd that they called Dale for assistance. But, at the same time, Dale was willing to go and help somebody if they were broken down. We said our good-byes at the shop door. That’s the last time I ever saw Dale.”

Who was the mysterious stranded motorist?

Dale’s friends and family printed missing posters and put them up all over town. Dale’s wife, Diana, explains the strange events that followed:

“We had missing posters up. And I’d noticed, I put some in the post office and about two days later they were all gone. So I put some more in there and in two or three days, they’d disappear.”

A surveillance camera hidden by police captured a photo of the man who tore down the flyers. He was a former friend of Dale and Diana Williams. Lt. Greg Hiler of the Montrose County Sheriff’s Department:

“The individual depicted in the photographs was questioned and he denied any involvement in Dale’s disappearance. He also was able to explain, to give us an alibi, for the 27th of May 1999. For the most part, that alibi is consistent and has been confirmed.”

Twelve months before Dale vanished, he and Diana had helped move the man’s ex-wife to another state without his knowledge. Diana thinks this was the basis for a motive:

“He was angry at Dale for helping his ex-wife move. And then we wouldn’t tell him where she was or anything like that. And I feel like he was really angry with Dale for that.”

A month after the move, Diana said that Dale found some disturbing items outside his shop:

“He went to work and he noticed some pictures torn up there. Just lying all over the ground.”

The torn photographs had been stolen from his shop. They were pictures of Dale and Diana with their now divorced friends. Several .22-caliber rounds were scattered on the ground. A few days later, Diana made a strange discovery in the drop box at the video store she managed: a .22 caliber revolver. The gun — like the torn photos — had been stolen from Dale’s shop:

“I was really nervous ’cause I didn’t know what to think. And Dale just told me to not worry about it, things would be okay and things will settle down. Whatever happened, it was more to scare him, he felt like, than anything.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season twelve with Robert Stack and in season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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22 Comments

  1. thinkingoutloud

    maybe the man ripping down the fliers had something to do with his disappearance? maybe he had someone set up a fake distress call to Dale. Maybe Dale knew this person to be the friend of the husband and that is why he was feeling uneasy. Just because the man had an alibi doesn’t mean he wasn’t involved. I think the police should’ve dug deeper into this guy. Seems shady to me

    Reply

  2. Kika

    Does anybody know the status on the ex wife of said friend? Is she alive? Is she missing?

    Reply

  3. Bill Blaski

    So sad…any updates on Dale?

    Reply

  4. AW

    Just a note that his height / weight is incorrect – it should state 5’7, 170 pounds.

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    Alwayssearching, I think it means the Lt. Was talking about the man tearing down the fliers, not that the man was actually the Lt.

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    I agree,check out the man of the ex wife, but also check the phone records to determine if the call came from a cello phone, if so proceed from there.

    Reply

  7. Beccaboo

    I don’t know about this one. Something is off. Are there no other mechanics in his area? Or was it a customer and he gave him/her his details to call him if they got stranded? I think either it was the husband of the ex wife or the husband got people to carry out the job and kill Dale or he was involved in something that his wife or any one else knew about.

    Reply

  8. Anonymous

    Police need to look into Dale’s involvement into drug trafficking. Local police at the time had that suspicion.

    Reply

  9. Chanita jackson

    I just don’t understand what had happened to dale Williams he seemed like he was a sweet man it’s not fair to his wife and his two daughters that they have to suffer somebody needs to bring justice to his wife and two daughters!

    Reply

  10. nameless

    I need to start off by saying that I knew Dale and was remodeling his body shop at the time of his disappearance. I was involved in the initial search and continued to search for Dale for 7 years following. I would like to address the comment regarding Dale a known drug dealer? The answer is although he was associated with a person that was later convicted of possession with the intent to sell methamphetamine.There is no evidence that Dale was ever involved in drugs. Four days ago on 11/01/2016 human remains were found by hunters in the sawmill mesa area, not far from where Dales truck was recovered. I am praying that they may be those of Dales but after speaking with others involved in the recovery they are not convinced and are waiting for test results. For Dales friends and family lets hope that they may find peace and closure.

    Reply

  11. Rtb

    I have told many people items l knew ,one being relation,another being an employee of Montrose County sheriffs department and have found it funny that nobody ever ontacted me about things l knew or have heard!

    Reply

  12. KnewHim

    They forget to mention he was one of the local drug dealers. His body is in a mine shaft somewhere.

    Reply

    • blm

      Now that statement is one that needs to be verified. Is there proof that he did deal in drugs? or just say so? Proof. Was/is there any? So you say he is in some shaft, again where is the proof? Hearsay? What did other druggies say about this? And yes, there were drugs in the area of John D. could not have been convicted because of his involvement with drugs. Someone needs to ask John D. what he knew, because he (John) was very affirmative about the fact he knew that Dale was dead. That was way to much info for me. Avoided John from then on.

      Reply

  13. TS

    I just now read all the comments. To give some information that was not in this article. There is no AAA in the area is is very small and when this happened there was literally very limited cell service and AAA did not go out there. Dale was a worker by himself he had a few friends who would help him at the shop but for the most part he worked by himself. The for the most part is the lt didn’t want to state it was for sure due to they didn’t have video or phone records to confirm he was where he said he was.

    Reply

  14. Johnny

    This crime should never have happened. Dale should have brought another worker to the site with him as it was lunch hour. Williams own hesitancy with answering call to the stranded motorist proved to be right. Don’t understand why the perpetrators dumped the truck. It looked pretty new and could have cashed it out to somebody for sale. This case can be solved I think. Dale Williams was singled out definitely targeted. The stranded motorist could have called AAA or a number of other places to have a tow.

    Reply

  15. Moe

    Was this ex friend abusive to the ex wife? What was is reasoning for taking down the fliers? Did they ever get the phone records from customer who needed help

    Reply

  16. AlwaysSearching4Answers

    Man goes missing after receiving call for assistance. Apparently he seemed to be in a rush and uneasy. Family prints missing persons flyers, some one pulls flyers down, person is caught on camera. Said person is a lieutenant with the Montrose County Sheriff s Department and his Alibi checks out… “FOR THE MOST PART”. Let’s not forget we are talking about a man.who had beef with the now missing auto body repairs man. I can’t be the only one that finds this slightly disturbing. I would also love to hear the excuse this Lt. has for taking down the missing person flyers. Also why would the Lt’s wife need help leaving him.
    I hope that Dale Williams’ friends n family one day know peace and find closure.

    Reply

    • Bluebird

      You need to reread the article. The person in question was not the lt. The lt. Is the man giving the statement below his name.. they do not mention the name of the friend in this article that is confidential except to those of the few who grew up there know who there talking about.

      Reply

  17. Jack

    What does “for the most part” mean. The former friend seems like a little guilty they need to do some further investigating into this man.

    Reply