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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36 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ginger Spice

    i think he was hit in the head and the last place he was when he got off the phone and walked out someone hit him in the head and was going to rob him but he got away with a head injury it is a iffy thing to say but the police didnt go there and ask questions which they should have done no wonder he was so confuseddd

    Reply

  2. Avatar

    Ginger Spice

    i think he was hit in the head and the lat place he was when he got off the phone and walked out some het him in the head was going to rob him he got away but with a head injury it is a iffy thing to say but the police didnt go there and ask questions which they should have done no wonder he was so confuseddd

    Reply

  3. Avatar

    Bill Blaski

    Not sure why the coroner could not get a case of death, or run toxicology on the remains etc. was it drugs, diabetes, mental break, lack of sleep, I just wish the people who saw him would’ve called 911 immediately and kept him in eye shot. I hate it that he never got the help he was crying out for. Nowadays people will film someone in trouble vs helping them. RIP Devin

    Reply

  4. Avatar

    Stephanie

    This one made my heart so sad for Devin and his family 🙁 Wonder if it was a brain tumor?

    Reply

  5. Avatar

    Kai

    Pretty sad case. Any number of medical conditions could cause confusion and strange behavior, and they don’t have to be something he was regularly suffering from. He food have had an acute issue like a stroke, or a severe diabetic episode, etc.

    Seems, to me, he had some sort of sad, acute issue, acted erratically in a way that scared everyone around him making them run away instead of help him, then, either that condition got worse and killed him, or he died of exposure being unable to help himself in his impaired state. They never found the location he ultimately expired, but some carnivorous animal did, and moved the skull to an area already searched where it was found later.

    Unfortunate and sad

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Jan

      This breaks my heart because I experienced a severe diabetic episode that no one I encountered contacted authorities to report my strange behavior. I ran off the road into a ditch although two passerbys contacted the police. The police arrived and asked if I was okay, I responded I was okay but couldn’t even focus my eyesight. A tow truck was called to transport my vehicle to the nearest auto garage as I had two flat tires. The tow truck driver had to assist me into his tow truck and seemed to notice something was wrong but never notified the police officer or asked if I was okay…I thought I was okay. We arrived at the tire store where I could not even stay awake. We were left at the tire store and I vaguely remember talking to myself, I could barely walk and couldn’t figure out how to pay the bill for the tires. Again no one asked if I was okay or called the police. The tires were replaced and I proceeded to drive away in the car. I now knew something was wrong because my vision was so blurry that I could not see the lanes on the highway. God sent me an angel….after noticing my erratic driving another driver called the State Patrol. At the Patrol’s request, this driver continued to follow me and informed the Patrol of my driving location. This allowed the police to quickly locate me. For some inexplicable reason I looked into my rearview mirror and noticed flashing police lights. In my diminished capacity, I wondered why I was being pulled over. As the patrol officer approached my vehicle, I recall hearing him yell “Thank you” to a passing car. The officer took one look at my face and asked “Are you a diabetic?” I confirmed I was and he immediately ran back to his patrol vehicle and called the paramedics. They arrived quickly and tested my glucose level to determine I was at 25…..on the verge of coma and death. I had never experienced this so I did not identify it. IF YOU SEE SOMEONE ACTING STRANGELY, CALL THE POLICE. IT COULD SAVE THEIR LIFE!!!!

      Reply

  6. Avatar

    banksallday

    Its hard to come up with a realistic scenario that fits all the puzzle pieces together just perfectly. Some people are better then others when it comes to gut instinct and can solve riddles and puzzles when it deals with the human psyche and the mysteries that can surround individuals who fall victim. I would say my self having read over thousands of cases with quite of few of them being solved I might be inclined to say I lean just a bit over what the normal intelligent person who hasn’t been involved with such things might conclude. I’m just a home-brew recreational armchair detective though but iv surprised my self a few times.

    My mind went back and fourth, but Im a logic player in this cruel game. I can only make assumptions on experiences Iv had in my life which is plentiful. I dont usually come up with the crazy one in a million chances theories that, regardless, many cases can have. But we also have to appreciate the uncertainty and randomness that is life. Anything can happen at anytime with mysteries disappearance cases, after all thats what makes them unusual and interesting to begin with. Logic in this case would put the blame in my mind on financial pressure a we know the burden he was facing trying to take care of his family. This can believe it or not be more powerful then any drug related or sociopath behavior. That was one thing that stood out to me, which is the logical choice here. See logic plays in facts, we know this isnt his first rodeo, hes been on skidrow up and down the US driving big rigs for many years. This isnt some kid that accidently fell victim to bad choices and he wound up doing something crazy. I dont think this is drug related, and if their was something wrong with the truck the investigators would have mentioned that and it would have found its way to us the armchair detectives. I think it was a mental break of some kind brought on by finances, bad money practices or having some run in with some people in some way as he did say some stuff that would indicate that their was some type of communication with other people other then his family. At least i dont think it was an accidental overdose, he knew what he was doing, maybe financial stress caught up to him and he decided to to do something hardcore like heroin.

    This is one of those mysteries where their should be literally hundreads of pages of police investigation, but we have no facts what so ever. We dont know what the deal was with his big rig, what did they find in it? Did they investigate the last stops he made, or the local areas and question any one as to why a man would go completely insane in one night that has never had one incident in his entire life. Their is way more questions then answers like with most cases, this is one of those cases that with enough money and resources, a group of private investigators could retrace his steps and turn up more evidence I think.

    Reply

  7. Avatar

    Nick

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

    Just because the remains turned up somewhere that was already searched doesn’t mean that someone dumped the body. It may come as a shock to you, but the forest is populated by carnivorous animals that will scavage dead bodies as a source of food. Even more shocking, it’s not like an animal can pull up a table and chow down. Not having hands and walking on all fours tend to prevent that. As such, surprise, surprise, animals often drag and pull remains in order to get at the meat.

    His remains being moved from where he died is 100% possible, but that doesn’t necessarily point to human causes.

    Reply

  8. Avatar

    Rachel

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

    Reply

  9. Avatar

    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

  10. Avatar

    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

  11. Avatar

    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

  12. Avatar

    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

    • Avatar

      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

      • Avatar

        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

      • Avatar

        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

    • Avatar

      Chloe Stetson

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

      Reply

    • Avatar

      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

  13. Avatar

    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

  14. Avatar

    A ominously

    Read 411

    Reply

  15. Avatar

    Joyce

    Read missing 411

    Reply

  16. Avatar

    Anonymous

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

    Reply

  17. Avatar

    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

  18. Avatar

    Anonymous

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

    Reply

  19. Avatar

    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

  20. Avatar

    Anonymous

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

    Reply

  21. Avatar

    IAN [ENGLAND]

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

    Devin’s case is briefly discussed above.

    Reply

  22. Avatar

    Not sure

    This just screams methamphetamine. Condolences to the family.

    Reply

  23. Avatar

    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

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