A trucker mysteriously disappears in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.

Devin Williams

A semi-truck came crashing through the woods

CASE DETAILS

It was Memorial Day weekend, 1995.  Arizona’s Tonto National Forest was a popular getaway for families and campers.   The last thing anyone would have expected to see was a ten-ton semi truck crashing through the woods.  The driver of the truck was Devin Williams, a 29 year old father of three.

A witness talked to the driver

Two campers had a frighteningly close experience as Devin’s 18 wheeler barreled towards their SUV.  Lynn Yarrington was an eye witness:

“There was no expression on his face at all.  He didn’t attempt to slow down or look over to see if they needed help or anything, he just kept on going.”

Later that day another eye-witness, Charles Hall, came upon the 18 wheeler stalled in a field.  Hall recalls the trucker’s last words being, “I’m going to jail.”

“I envisioned a hostage situation, a hijacking, kidnapping, whatever.  A jail break, maybe, and someone had a gun on someone in the cab.  He made no effort to keep us there, no effort to ask for help, do anything for him.” 

Late Sunday afternoon, Deputy Dean Wells followed up on a report that a 48 foot semi was stranded in the forest.  When Deputy Wells arrived on the scene he found the truck’s cargo to be completely intact.  The driver was nowhere to be found and when he checked the National Crime Computer, there was no record of either a missing truck or driver.

Was Devin on drugs?

The inside of the cab appeared to be very clean and well maintained.  According to Deputy Wells, there was no reason to believe foul play was involved.

Devin Williams was a loving husband and the father of three.  By all accounts, he was not the type to dump a fully loaded rig in the middle of the forest.  However, the abandoned truck was indeed his.

Six days before his wild ride in the forest, Devin had left his home in Kansas and headed west.  It was a route he had taken many times.  After delivering his load in California, Devin checked in with his boss, Tom Wilson:

“Looking back, I can’t see anything out of the ordinary to make me suspect anything.  Everything indicated it was just a very normal trip in the time frame and that everything’s going real good.”

On Saturday evening, the day before his disappearance, Devin telephoned headquarters for the last time.  He complained of being unable to sleep, yet was determined to get back on the road.  By Sunday morning he was barreling through the woods of the Tonto National Forest, miles from any highway.  To this day, no one knows why, and none of the theories make sense.

Reports of Devin’s disoriented behavior and incoherence prompted suspicions that he was on drugs.  But according to Tom Wilson, that was not the case with Devin:

“We’d had no drug problem with him.  He had passed his drug tests and everything…”

Devin’s wife, Mary Lou Williams, is confident that something must have happened to her husband.  The young couple had recently purchased a house and, according to Mary Lou, were at the happiest point in their marriage.  It was unlike Devin to go off his route, let alone be that irrational.

If Devin Williams didn’t run off, where was he?  Foot patrols, canine searches and rescue teams all came up empty handed.  Hunters and hikers in the area never reported finding so much as a bone fragment or a scrap of clothing.

UPDATE:

Nearly two years after Devin’s disappearance, hikers discovered a human skull, just a half mile from where he had last been seen.  Dental records confirmed the skull belonged to Devin Williams.  The cause of his death and his strange behavior is still an unsolved mystery.


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

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27 Comments

  1. Rachel

    They searched for him but never found anything? How’s skull as found not far from the truck. He was dumped there.

    Reply

  2. Chloe Stetson

    “By all accounts, he was not the type to dump a fully loaded rig in the middle of the forest”
    Yeah, yeah, yeah…. That’s what everyone says about their criminal family member. Especially murders…
    “No way he did that! He was such a loving, kind, and gentle man! I just KNOW it wasn’t him!”
    When it turns out to be that “gentle, loving man” every damn time.
    When are people going to learn? Everyone whos Anyone is absolutely capable of anything at anytime and anywhere!!
    Juat because he was your “son” or “husband” or “father” doesn’t mean Jack sh*t! Sorry to tell you. I can’t help but laugh at these peoples stupidity.

    Reply

  3. Wolf

    Carbon monoxide poisoning.
    The symptoms fit. The truck should have been throughly inspected.
    Just because you can’t smell exhaust, doesn’t mean there isn’t a leak.

    Reply

  4. Ryan

    I’ve heard of so called closet alcoholics-the ones who made it to work on time…etc., maybe Devin was a closet drug user…or maybe Devin took drugs after the drug test…considering that no signs of trauma where found on Devin’s body…narcotics are known to make the user paranoid,disillusional,incorherent,

    If so that might also explain the “$20.00 bill”sighting -another witness encountered a man who resembled Devin with a rock and a $20.00 bill in his hand-as I recall-trying to start a fire.

    Reply

  5. Dean Valdez

    I played Devin Williams in this episode, I met his wife and three children, they were living in an old winnibago and had already lost there trailer, I always wondered what happened to them,I always thought he tripped and fell over the edge of the canyon near where they found his truck! May he rest in peace!! I did hear they found his skull and identified him through dental records!

    Reply

    • Sierra Williams

      You did a good job we all grew up…still horrible not to know what happened to our dad 🙁 and rumors of he left us or on drugs really sucked growing up but it’s life..im his youngest daughter

      Reply

      • Jamison

        It seems he had a stroke with an aneurism, because his blank face seen by witnesses and bizarre behavior that Devin did not ever have in general. I believe his cognitive ability was affected from the stroke. It is sad and I am sorry about it but that seems to be what happen.

        Reply

      • Roy Ijams

        My wife and I each have two million safe driving awards.. We had a truck that had an exhaust leak. The company we drove for said diesel exhaust wouldn’t case that kind of problem. I didn’t want to lose my job and my wife was able to stay home when I was a driver trainer. .At times my dispatcher ask me if I felt ok.. I was put on cpap in Feb. 2012. On 6/12/2012 I sleep walked out of semi while on cpap. 10/1/12 I had a grand maul seizure after a full night on cpap. . Many things can effect a persons mind. .The people with mean remarks don’t need posted.. I get the same remarks about my ordeal. Like my wife pushed me out or a suicide attempt .. I’m now on total disability.. Sorry for your lose. . My granddaughter saw me roll down highway and my wife doesn’t like to talk about it. . I’ve not been able to get media to tell my story.. Elevation can effect breathing. I have found charts that show that. We all are different. I had all kind of side effects to Cpap. It was use it or quit driving. I’m lucky my wife has been here for me. I have a few hospital pictures on FB. . My pace maker showed no events. . So it had to do with breathing. Sleep clinics will not admit it. Yet have paid out billions in fraudulent billing.

        Reply

    • Chloe Stetson

      Wow! You have a very interesting use of exclamation points! Why is that! Are you just excited!?! thanks!!

      Reply

    • Tenarife

      This was re-aired today and I too had wondered what happened to his wife and children. They didn’t seem to have a lot of money. I thought maybe they moved in with a family member. I see his daughter replied but didn’t give any real details about her life afterwards.

      Reply

  6. Nbdyptclr

    Did anyone check out the tractor, and see if there was evidence of exhaust / diesel fumes getting into the cab? This could very well explain the sleeplessness, behavioral changes, and the whole nine yards. By the time he exhibited the kind of behavior reported, the levels in his system could very well have been lethal.

    Reply

  7. A ominously

    Read 411

    Reply

  8. Joyce

    Read missing 411

    Reply

  9. Anonymous

    Most likely he hit someone from beig tired and panicked. Running away and frezzing to death.

    Reply

  10. Picachu

    It is a petty that not the really interesting details was mentioned about Williams’ disappearance. For example, just the day before his disappearance, several campers saw him some shorter distance from his truck, which was stuck
    in the mud in the Buck Springs area off Arizona Highway 87, where he had ended up after an erratic drive 45 miles from Flagstaff, the intended destination (Correct me if I am wrong with that).
    When the campers asked him why he had gone there, he replied; “I didn’t do it, they did”, pointing towards his truck. The campers described that he appeared dazed.
    The next day other witnesses saw him standing without shoes a bit away from his truck and “talking to a tree”, whereafter it is said that he “simply disappeared”, leaving his possessions in the truck. That was the last sighting of him, until a part of his skull was found two years later.
    I am perfectly aware that this behaviour is fully consistent with a psychosis, which can be developed by different causes, both congenital as well as by certain substances (I know it was denied he took drugs, however that does not mean that no one could for example have slipped him something), or caused by certain types of illnesses affecting the brain, however the details are still interesting even so, and should have been mentioned for the “peculiarity” of it, so to speak.

    Reply

  11. Anonymous

    Missing 411 (David Paulides).. There are weird elements to this that seem plausible for one of his cases

    Reply

  12. Eric W Bohannon

    He Faked his “Dis Appearance”. I See him hiking up the side of a Mountain, from the road, I see him in a recliner drinking beer, with a 12 pack, watching TV, a late model pick up, maybe on disability, could be going by Don or Donnie.

    Reply

  13. Anonymous

    Could he have been an undiagnosed diabetic? An out of whack blood sugar could have caused his symptoms/behavior

    Reply

  14. IAN [ENGLAND]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q52i4FTuI9s

    Devin’s case is briefly discussed above.

    Reply

  15. Not sure

    This just screams methamphetamine. Condolences to the family.

    Reply

  16. Anonymous

    It’s very possible that he had not slept for days. The last time he called he complained of not being able to sleep. This had probably been a predicament for days. He eventually became so exhausted, he wheeled into the woods. So disoriented from sleeplessness, that he didn’t stop and think about what he was doing. When he finally stopped in the field and said he was going to jail, that may have been from the fact that the barely conscious part of him realized he almost crashed into the people that he encountered while speeding through the woods. He then most likely wandered off and died. Most likely due to his exhaustion/weakness/elements of the woods.

    Reply