A man is found dead four years after his car was abandoned in Wyoming.

Smiling Don Kemp with beard and suit and tie

Don Kemp

A car in the middle of a desserted street with belongings on the floor

The car was abandoned in the middle of nowhere


In November 16, 1982, an SUV was found in the middle of the desolate Wyoming prairie, its doors open, the engine running, and clothes scattered all over the highway. The owner of the car, 35-year old Don Kemp, was nowhere in sight.

Four years after he disappeared, Don’s body was found just a few miles from where his Blazer was abandoned. The sheriff believed Don froze to death in a blizzard three days after he was lost. But Don’s mother, Mary Kemp, is not convinced:

“My son was murdered. I definitely believe this. Absolutely. He was murdered.”

Two police investigators looking down on Don's body in a patch of grass

Don’s body was finally found

Don Kemp was a promising young advertising executive in New York City until he was severely disabled in a traffic accident. After he recovered, his sister, Kathy Dobe, said that he chose not to return to Madison Avenue:

“He had become disillusioned a bit with materialism. Don loved the good life and New York was the epitome of that. And I think he wanted a simpler time and a quieter time, and I think that’s what drew him to that area.”

In September 1982, Don sold almost everything he owned and began a long drive West. His destination was Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he planned to write a book about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The day before he disappeared, Don was seen at a museum in Cheyenne. He wandered through the small galleries for two hours, speaking to no one. When he left, Don apparently forgot his attaché case. In it were his traveler’s checks, diaries, and his driving glasses.

The next day, November 16, l982, at 10AM, highway patrolman Randy Teeters came upon an eerie sight. Don’s abandoned car, in the middle of nowhere:

“Neither of us had seen anything like this. The vehicle was left forty miles from any town, on an off ramp, running, stuff strung out of it, the doors open, a relatively new vehicle, not one that someone would just leave.”

A mobile home in a forrest

Who made the calls from the trailer?

When he found the car, Patrolman Teeters noticed a single set of footprints leading from the roadside into the empty, lonely prairie:

“I have no idea what would inspire anybody to walk out through that prairie in the middle of winter. We considered possibly someone under medication that didn’t know what they were doing due to the medication, or being out of the medication, possibly that would affect him to the point of where they would just walk out into the middle of nowhere.”

The local sheriff’s department concluded that Don had wandered off alone. But Don’s mother believed he was abducted:

“I was certain he was in a horrible jam. I just felt it, because this was so unlike my son. I knew that he hadn’t walked out there. I feel that he didn’t, and yet the sheriff kept saying that he was out there.”

Sheriff C. W. Ogburn said he believed Don was not well mentally:

“Well, I think he was disturbed, he was having mental problems and possibly some health problems, and he just couldn’t cope with it.”

Deputy Rod Johnson flew over the area for two hours. He could see for miles over the open terrain. But he said there was no trace of Don:

“I felt the guy was disorientated, and I felt that he didn’t want to be found. If he would’ve wanted to be found, he would have heard the aircraft, could have waved his arms, got our attention, gone up to a ridge, anywhere, and been sighted.”

Later that day, Johnson and two other deputies found a duffle bag lying near the single set of footprints. In it were laundry soap, clothes, and a teapot, all belonging to Don.
Don’s mother doubted he placed the bag there:

“I believe it was put there to make it look like my son had walked out there. And I don’t believe my son did.”

Tracks in the snow led searchers to a barn six miles from the highway. Inside was a pile of sticks arranged to start a fire, and three of Don’s socks. Three days after he disappeared, a blizzard made it impossible to continue the search.

Three years later, a group of hunters discovered Don’s remains just a few miles from where his SUV was abandoned. According to Sheriff Ogburn, an autopsy showed no signs of foul play:

“We never did suspect foul play. He was out there, and was avoiding us, stayed away from us, and I believe on the second or third day, he was gonna try to get back to his vehicle and he didn’t make it.”

This is where the case of Don Kemp should have ended. But Mary Kemp has been haunted by two clues that just don’t fit: a sighting of Don and a number of mysterious phone calls.

Five months after Don supposedly died in the blizzard, he was seen 150 miles away in Casper, Wyoming. Not once, but twice. He was reported to be at a traveling exhibit of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia and at a local tavern. Mary Kemp talked to a bartender who distinctly remembered serving Don.

There were other clues that pointed to the town of Casper. Around that time, one of Don’s closest friends returned home from vacation. On her answering machine, she found six different telephone messages from Don. She asked that her identity not be revealed:

“I’m absolutely certain that it was his voice. And it was a very brief message, ‘I’d like to speak to you again, call me,” and a phone number. The next day I called, asked to speak to Don. A man answered the phone and said that Don was out. I’m convinced he holds the clue to what really happened to Don.”

Telephone records prove that the calls were made from a trailer in Casper, Wyoming. The young man who was renting the trailer at the time said the phone company must have made a mistake. Capt. Mark Benton of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department interviewed him several times:

“He told us on all occasions, in all interviews, that he had no knowledge of the phone calls and that he had not made the phone calls. I had an occasion to show him a picture of Donald Kemp and he said that he did not know Donald Kemp, had never seen Donald Kemp, and knew nothing of his whereabouts.”

Unsatisfied by the man’s story, Mary went to Wyoming to conduct her own investigation:

“God knows what happened to my son in that trailer. It’s too horrible to contemplate. I don’t know. But I think I deserve an answer. I tried in every way I knew how to contact this young man. I finally spoke with him only one time on the phone. I asked him about my son, and he said he knew nothing about Don Kemp. He just paid those phone bills, he didn’t look at them. And I told this young man he was lying. ‘You know what has happened to my son.’ And he just hung up on me.”

Three weeks after he was questioned, the young man moved out of the trailer and left Casper. Capt. Mark Benton:

“In all three times that I spoke with him, he was always very cooperative. And I have no reason to feel that the individual here in Casper had any knowledge of this man even being in Wyoming, other than these phone calls, and I don’t have an explanation for it and neither did he.”

Mary Kemp doesn’t believe the young man:

“Who made the phone calls? That’s the big question, who it was. It had to have been my son.”

So what really did happen to Don Kemp in the vast Wyoming prairie? Sheriff Ogburn thinks he died in the blizzard, but can’t explain the phone calls. Mary believes Don was abducted, taken to Casper, and murdered. But then, why was his body found just three miles from his abandoned Blazer? His death remains a mystery.

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




  1. Patrick

    A lot of the clues point to him being disturbed and wandering off, maybe took his socks off resting and then just walked away from life and died from the elements. Bizarre and the mother believes otherwise but it happens. The calls could’ve been a prank, happens all the time.


  2. Ashley Elam

    Why has no DNA been done on the found body and his sister to verify or rule out if it was him?


  3. CathyK

    Just watched a re-run of this episode. I have more questions than answers after reading ALL these posts.
    1. Did he regularly wear his glasses when he drove? If he was at the museum for 2 hours, an excited author to be, wouldn’t he have been taking some notes on things in the museum and record those in the journals in the case he left behind? I can understand his excitement thinking about the museum and leaving his case behind and remembering later down the road, ransacking his vehicle looking for it…but common sense tells me someone else did the ransacking looking for anything of value.
    2. This was a time before cell phones were popular. So the calls to the girlfriend from the trailer…how did the caller know the number/name of girlfriend if it wasn’t him?
    3. Was there a POSITIVE identity of the body that was found? that was not mentioned. If the body was “intact” with wildlife around, did it include socks? and forensic information on COD?
    4. If he left his vehicle. why not take other clothing/coat besides socks..and 3?? were the socks determined to be his? How can there be footprints leading up to a barn/shelter and non be found leading away? 6 miles in the wilderness/prairie is a long way to walk in cold temperatures and impending blizzard.
    5. I appreciated the “sighting” in Texas…sad there was no follow up.
    6. Medications. There was a lot of speculation of missed medications leading to a psychotic break, but no concrete information about whether he was even prescribed medications. If they were in his “case” wasn’t a pill count taken?
    7. Who leaves money, glasses and precious diaries behind without going back to investigate?
    So many unanswered questions. I certainly hope he is at peace if he is still wandering around. I know everyone is trying to make sense of this as I am, but we forget that if he was in a psychotic episode rational thinking is not a luxury.


  4. Get Joe Kenda on the case

    Unsolved Mysteries could have spent a little more time with the important evidence. It seems that I have to assume quite a lot about the evidence particularly specific findings that would answer the big questions. Maybe it creates more of a mystery and gets people intrigued by leaving much to the imagination. It would make it more interesting detailing all of the findings, forensics, facts, times, dates, etc and it would better explain why certain conclusions and decisions were reached. Nothing useful can be discerned from such an extreme abbreviation of the case. I doubt the investigation was that simplistic.


  5. sarah j. lennon

    i heard that “Unsolved Mysteries” will be on Netflix. i can’t afford Netflix so i can’t watch it. :(.


  6. sarah j. lennon

    christopher jensen asked some good questions, especially the first one about the footprints.


  7. Christopher Jensen

    I stumbled upon the Don Kemp case and am intrigued yet irritated that these basic questions are never answered on any of the sites or in any of the articles. Am I the only one to wonder the following:
    1- They followed footprints in (dirt? snow?) for 6 miles to a barn and that is where they ended. Where there no footprints ever leading back OUT of the barn? How does one set of footprints lead to a barn and then just end there? That makes no sense. Wouldn’t someone have to still be inside the barn b/c if they left the barn again it would start another set of footprints leading back out!?
    2- WTF happened to Mark Dennis and why is he never mentioned again after he moved away? Um, hello!? Is he still living? Did he change his name? Did he just *POOF* vanish into history? C’mon!
    3- The answering machine messages: did they auto delete after Judy listened to them or what happened to them?


  8. sjlennon

    i wondered if the unsolved mysteries producers have any news about the show being on of the networks again, like abc or the cw? i remember the show being on nbc and cbs some years ago. it is one of my favorite shows.


    • Unsolved Mysteries Post author

      We are always trying to find a network, channel, or streaming service that is interested in showing new episodes. We would love to bring the show back.


  9. Jene Tamburrelli

    Keep up the great work guyz.


  10. thinkingoutloud

    i don’t think it’s impossible don ran away on purpose and left his materialistic life behind like his sister said. maybe he chose to leave his checks and glasses at the museum as a symbol since he loved Abraham Lincoln. and he traveled west to start a more simple life. i think the car was for show, i don’t think he completely abandoned his car cause he was crazy, i think he did it show he no longer wanted to live that life so he initially left but the engine running and clothes everywhere was for show. he definitely had some sort of communication with the man on the phone, i wonder if this man accidentally killed don and later put his body back to where his car was to throw the cops off. is it possible don was in contact with this man prior to his travel and this man assisted don in how to go about leaving everything behind?

    and what about an autopsy? could they ever confirmed how he was killed? i knwo they found him four years later but his body / bones would highly differ from freezing to death or being shot or beaten , etc. they need to figure out how he died for real.


  11. don sortor

    any one know were that trailor is located


  12. Dr. Robert Mallinger

    There is definitely something not right about his browsing of the museum. He has glasses for driving–are these glasses prescription or simply sunglasses? If the former, he would not be leaving that briefcase behind. Even more still, if he had all of his Traveler’s Checques in that case. The Traveler’s Checques are most intriguing. This fact suggests that he planned his trip, that is, he had a sum certain in those checques for just travel expenses–food, fuel, and lodging; the remainder probably to fund his home at his destination in Wyoming (where he would stay while researching his Lincoln book). Wyoming would not be a place to associate with Lincoln: Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, or Washington, DC would though. Did he find some connection to Lincoln like a political ally with something to say about his Administration or Assassination? Also, there are threads revolving around Mary Surrat who many believed to have been railroaded by the Court Martial–no surviving conspirator was tried in civilian court except John Surrat and he was found Not Guilty on the same evidence that convicted his mother.

    Despite the sheriff covering his backside for a very poor investigation and “search” for the missing Don Kemp, given that the man’s remains were found within walking distance of the SUV location and a place that was not concealed, it is quite clear this is a suspicious death, not a suicide, which means murder is suspected. Given that
    footprints are going in one direction away from the SUV and toward this “stock” barn or some sort of stockman’s shelter. Who owned this building and what does that rancher/outdoorsman have to say about this suspicious death? Otherwise, I would like to know who built this shelter on someone’s private land or if belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, who paid for its construction? I don’t believe that Mr. Kemp just happened to stop near that point. A meeting with someone or was he hijacked?

    I do not see this man leaving driving glasses; Traveler’s Checques; and his research journals in his briefcase at a museum which gets to an interesting point. Was he meeting a contact at the museum? That would be a good reason for Mr. Kemp to be lugging his briefcase; otherwise, it would be awkward for moving among the exhibits.


    • sjlennon

      in the area where don’s vehicle was abandoned and the footprints led to the building so many miles away, i wondered how familiar don kemp was with the area. would he know that the building his socks were found in was there? if he didn’t know the area at all, i don’t think there’s much chance he would end up at that building his socks were found in. that would be a good argument for the socks and such to be planted.


  13. Montana Mtn Man

    There is no mystery here in my opinion, which probably doesn’t count for much in today’s screwed up world. It seems fairly simple. After leaving his briefcase in Cheyenne, he probably got way out on the highway before realizing that he had left his briefcase somewhere. Maybe he had made other stops before leaving Cheyenne and didn’t remember he had left it at the museum. The daunting task of having to backtrack and go to all the places he stopped at in Cheyenne and it’s outskirts or possibly just the museum there, was too much for him to handle in his fragile state of mind. He simply pulled over at a No Services exit of which there are many out here in Wyoming and Montana and ripped his vehicle to shreds trying to find if he had misplaced the briefcase anywhere else in his vehicle. Then just totally lost his mind out of anger or perhaps a nervous breakdown of sorts and took off into the Wyoming prairie, leaving the vehicle running and doors open. I don’t know if many people in the East and Midwest realize just how huge and foreboding the prairies and mountains are out here. And, both Wyoming and Montana are the lowest populated states in the lower 48. You can walk for twenties of miles and not see a ranch or house or another person. I believe the sheriff was right and he and his men did as thorough a search as was possible at that time of year. There’s really no mystery to this case. It took a group of guys hunting for Prairie Runners ( Antelope ) to find Don’s remains long after he disappeared. He obviously made it to the barn where the sheriff found his socks and then eventually tried to make it back to his vehicle and didn’t make it. That’s it. Not that mysterious after all. Then again, perhaps I am wrong. As I said, this is merely my opinion. It’s the Big Empty out here.


    • Grace

      There’s also very strange & alien goongs on in the big empty. I know-usrd to live thete. One really good reason I don’t any more.


    • Flemming

      That’s absurd. One wouldn’t just randomly fly into a blind rage and bolt straight into a prairie. Makes no sense at all. And then m, after running 6 Miles he come to his senses, stays in a barn, and is somehow (in an area he knows literally nothing about.) finds his way the whole 6 Miles back to his truck only to flop dead within walking distance of the truck? No way.


  14. Anonymous

    Thanks admin, I think the site is good and being visible on mobile is important.

    I also forgot to include one observation that other readers might chime in on; namely, why would he forget such valuable things at a museum and not come back for them? I think that strongly points to abduction at that museum or some other compelling reason to leave without taking those things with him. Why would he do that, and even if he did happen to legitimately forget, why wouldn’t he come back for them before continuing on? He would have been seen at restaurants, gas stations, or some other point in town that he had visited, when he went back to inquire if that’s where he had left his belongings. His travelers checks and driving glasses were in that case? Very, very odd.

    One reason there are recent comments on this thread may be due to a podcast on Mysteries Abound that came out in 2016.


  15. Anonymous

    By the way, site admin: The site isn’t responsive on mobile, and to preview a comment requires you to look at white text on a yellow background. Just fyi, you might wanna fix that.


  16. Anonymous

    To my knowledge, he never married. There was a fictional book about his life that was published, where he had a girlfriend that I believe was murdered. But I do not believe any of these events transpired in his real life.


  17. Anonymous

    Consider this, based on Grace’s comments above. What bugs me most is THE CAR WAS LEFT RUNNING. So what if he was basically hijacked from the museum. Two guys see him & his vehicle. One (kills, knocks him out) and shoves him into the backseat of his vehicle and drives the car to where it’s found. ONE set of footprints CARRYING the body to . . . a 2nd vehicle? and they drive 3 miles & dump the body, and along the way dump various items. Maybe they’re disappointed at not finding more cash or drugs? One of the guys, maybe, lives at that mobile home. Maybe the other was that stupid sheriff (just my prejudice talking for his lack of interest in the case). Forget dementia or superstition.


    • Tom

      According to the “The Trail Went Cold” podcast, his car was so full with all his belongings that there was no space for anyone else in the car except the driver. So it would have been impossible for more than one person to be in his car at that time.


  18. Anonymous

    LOOK AT HIS PICTURE, IT IS VERY CLEAR WHAT HAPPENED. He abandoned his car to continue is trip west towards LA. He changed his name to Christopher Pratt and became an actor. Clearly his mom was crazy and he just needed to get away from that. The identity of the body is probably the actual Chris Pratt, but the jury is still out on that.


  19. Anonymous

    I knew Don in high school, outside Baltimore, Maryland. He was our class president. I also knew his sister, Kathy and am familiar with the family. Mary couldn’t accept the half assed explanation from Sherriff Coburn and his lack of use of full resources to find him. I wrote novel “Footprints To Nowhere” depicting the main events which reads like a James Patterson novel. Don was a Lincoln nut all his life and was doing research about the assassination. I talked to his sister who I knew in high school as well, and she has never gotten over it. Who was Randy Teeters and what did they find in Kemp’s Bronco that was incriminating?


    • James

      It’s sad that you’re on here trying to push your book. A very bad book that makes about zero sense I might add. James Patterson you are not. It would have been way better had you not embellished the entire thing and actually cared enough to have someone proofread it!


    • Heather DuVall

      Randy Teeters was my father. This was one of the weiredest cases he ever worked. He was a young officer doing his job with a wife and 3 kids at home. It wasn’t some stupid conspiracy theory that the Wyoming Highway Patrol or Patrolman Teeters was involved in, I can guarantee that. They searched when he disappeared to a point it was beginning to put officers lives at risk.


  20. john

    This is wired but i would love to know what’s next.


  21. Keri

    Why is it so hard to believe this guy committed suicide? Every piece of evidence points to it… he was by all accounts strugging physically and mentally at the time. Just because his grieving mother says “he would never do that”, suddenly it must be foul play? There isn’t one shred of evidence to support that. And quite a bit to contradict it (one set of footprints, erratic behavior, eluding rescue choppers, obsession with “channeling” Lincoln, etc.) And if anything the car running and the left behind briefcase mean he was “on his way out” so to speak and didn’t care about any of it. No real mystery here in my opinion.


  22. Lydia

    It sounds crazy but I believe I saw this man a few years ago. He called himself Donnie. He was in a library in new caney, TX. I was doing a book report on Abraham Lincoln and he started talking to me in great detail about him.I had never heard of this case until I saw the episode about him on unsolved mysteries. This man looked exactly like don . Well much older… but I’m pretty sure it was him.


  23. simonesays

    Has anyone heard Steph Young on Where did the Road go podcast? she has written about this case in her latest book and one thing she talked about not mentioned anywhere above is that the man in the trailer was he EXACT DOPPELGANGER. here are some key words for me: Lincoln’s assasination, Lincoln’s hair, DNA, cloning, D.U.M.B.s and the contract the shadow govt made with the ET’s in the 40’s – overlooking a certain amount of human abductions in exchange for tech. If you can imagine the most obscene/extreme thing and multiply it 10 times you still will not get close to what is happening deep underground in those bases. Conspiracy is no MAINSTREAM. deal with it.


  24. An Interested Bystander

    Two things stand out for me about this case: a sale of Lincoln’s hair, which was worth some money (it sold for $25k recently), and the fact that the vehicle was left running.
    I think it bears serious examination. What would compel you to leave your vehicle running, and leave the door open? Only the thought that you’d be right back. Call of nature maybe. Or *maybe* if I saw something that HAD to be investigated immediately. Was anything strange reported at that time in that area?
    Also, when were these calls made? Before, or after Don’s vehicle was found? It may not even have been him driving it.
    Lots of speculation here, but I think these are basic questions that nobody seems to have answered.


  25. Anonymous

    This case is weird. I don’t know what to believe!


  26. Bob A.

    Since publishing my novel I have gotten many comments from other classmates about the case. Everyone who had met Don really liked him and most don’t think he was off the deep end. I am heading out west with a classmate who grew up in the same neighborhood as Don in Baltimore County. We are going to Rawlins and Casper this month to ask questions and get records of the case. We hope to shed some new light on the many questions that have never been answered. I too think that he was abducted and was murdered. Perhaps as a result,I can write a non-fiction book to set the record straight. I am sorry that the fictional version confuses people. Also, i want to say that It was proof read many times but apparently some things were missed.


  27. Carolyn

    Something strange about him leaving his belongings in the museum. If he needed spectacals to drive, he would have realised he had left everything there and gone back to retrieve them surely.
    The police said they followed tracks to the barn six miles away, what kind of tracks? Not a single set of footprints? Someone in that trailer knew something as well. It does sound as though something was being covered up. Making out his mother was crazy because she was trying to find her son is odd too. Mg
    All very very strange!


  28. Tom B

    I was his frat brother. I heard he married or was going to marry George Romney’s granddaughter. What happened?


  29. cdr

    I discount conspiracy theories 99 percent of the time. This is one, out of all the cases ever shown on UM, that I believe there’s a possibility of something (eh, maybe I’ll consider Tommy Burkett’s case as a conspiracy, but not a conspiracy like this one).

    If not the government (he had knowledge of something he shouldn’t have), then possibly something relating to the paranormal. Perhaps he decided to do seances with someone in Wyoming, then he got wrapped up into something he shouldn’t have (think satanic panic of the 1980s, and all of the wannabes).

    Keep posting; I am interested to hear from someone who has knowledge of Wyoming in that period of time. gradstudenttx@gmail.com


  30. Grace

    I just learned about this case on an old episode of Unsolved Mysteries. I was living in Casper, Wyoming in 1982, leaving Wyoming in 1985. I can tell you with absolute certainty due to many bizarre experiences that both satanic worship and alien abduction was rampant in Casper and the surrounding area in the ’80s. It is my belief that they coincide with each other. I have learned via research that there is a deep underground UFO base sw of Casper. I also saw with my own eyes (among countless other things) a witches buriel ground on Casper Mountain.
    When coupled with Don’s fascination with and participation in questionable paranormal activities like seances and Ouija board use (neither of which is harmeless fun, but potentially very dangerous due to evil spirits coming through either one), I believe something may very well have attached itself to Don’t in NY, travelling with him on his trip. I also think he may very well have disappeared while in the museum. No one leaves an attaché case full of important documents and travelers checks behind. He disappeared in the museum, count on it. The car, clothes, duffel bag, etc, were meant to redirect people’s attention to make them think Son drove out there, got out of a running vehicle and disappeared (which makes no sense whatsoever).
    I believe he was abducted and taken to the DUMB (deep underground military/UFO base) outside of Casper. Apparently the trailer & its resident were involved-perhaps the trailer sets over a hidden entrance leading to the DUMB. While there, he either managed to sneak calls to his mother or his abducter(s) allowed him to call.
    After they were finished doing whatever they did to him between the time of his disappearance and the discovery of his body so suspiciously close to his vehicle years later (you gonna tell me they wouldn’t have found him when he first disappeared if his body was there back then?? B. S.!), I believe they simply took him back there as an act of completion.

    I know how crazy this all sounds. But folks, like it or not, it’s a crazy world in which people disappear all the time, never to be seen or heard from again. There is also ample evidence that there are other beings living on/in earth and that they are responsible for a lot of those disappearances. So before you write me off as another wingnut, consider the fact that my explanation satisfies all the pertinent questions of who, what, when, where, why & how. It as of today is the only one that does.


  31. A FRIEND



  32. Richard Sloan

    Nice to know someone is still trying to find some more clues about Don’s mysterious disappearance and death. Don was too nice a guy to just let the mystery die. Please let me know anything you find. Try to find Don’s sister. I have no idea where she is. Maybe she remembers the name of Don’s real-life girlfriend and she can be found to see if she came up wwith more. I wonder if she kept digging or let it go after her mom died. I’ll copy your email address for future reference. Here’s mine — emma1231@optonline.net. Sidebar: At the time he left for Wyoming he was living on what I think is called Randall’s Island off Manhattan. You need to take a tram to get here.Don mailed me, from Ndew Salem, Illinois, a stone that fit in the palm of the hand. He wrote that it came from the bank of the Sangamon, as I recall. I still have it, but the words — written with a thin Sharpie — are fading. Proof of the sale of his lock of Lincoln’s hair can be found in the catalogue of the auction of the collection of my late friend, Donald (another Donald!) Dow. This was about five years ago. Sold with the lock were a couple of related envelopes. One from Don and one from me. You now know everything I can impart.


  33. CDR

    Thank you for providing us with this information, Richard.

    As a disclaimer, I was not even born at the time of Don’s disappearance. I am 31, a graduate student, and I have been looking into Don’s disappearance for the last eighteen months.

    In my spare time, I research three separate cold cases. By far, this one fascinates me the most. There are so many elements to the story. Due to the age of the story, and also the age of those involved in Don’s life at the time of his death, my hope is that this case is never swept under the rug.

    About six months ago, I contacted the State of Wyoming. I wanted more information about the state of his vehicle at the time it was abandoned. To date, nobody has provided me with any information.

    If Don’s sister, family, or any friends desires to share any more information with me, I may be contacted at gradstudenttx@gmail.com . Any information shared will be kept confidential, if so desired.


  34. Richard

    Don was a dear friend of mine when he lived in Manhattan, and gave me one of the books from his personal library before he left town. I also helped him sell his precious lock of Lincoln’s hair. We were both members of the Lincoln Group of NY. I think he was even on its Board of Directors for a while. He sent me a couple of postcards from Springfield, Illinois while en route to Wyoming. There’s more to him than I knew at the time he left NY. He told me he was going to Wyoming to write a book about Lincoln’s assassination — a subject we were both into — and selected Jackson Hole where he could be isolated and would not be distracted. It sounded weird to me, but I figured that he’d eventually return. I thought he was unhappy with his job and the rat race in general. I knew he had been injured in a taxi accident. I don’t know if he was hooked on any medication as depicted in Bob’s book. I expected he would eventually return. A few short years after his body was found, I learned that all along he had been interested in trying to contact Lincoln’s spirit and that he had held seances in his apartment. His girlfriend loaned me tapes of those seances, and they were so weird. I knew that Don had once participated in trying to contact Mrs. Surratt’s spirit with a few friends through a Ouija board, but I thought it was just for fun. I am currently reading Bob’s fictionalized account of his disappearance which makes no mention of his Lincoln seances. When his girlfriend finally told me about Don’s obsession with communicating with Lincoln, she revealed that the Sheriff’s men didn’t just find papers in Don’s van about the Lincoln assassination that he had compiled for the book he was writing. The papers had to do with contacting Lincoln’s spirit. I think it was his girlfriend who expressed to me the theory that they led the Sheriff to conclude that Don was a nut job, and that he may have been on drugs. DId it dissuaded him from thinking he had met with foul play? The Sheriff did, however, interrogate the man in the Caspar, Wyoming trailer. I spoke to Don’s recently-deceased mother on the phone a quite a few times before they found his body. I didn’t think she was a nut job. Regardless of whether or not she was, however, if it was my son who had disappeared under such mysterious circumstances, I would have been just as frustrated and would have reacted and acted exactly as she had. She should be given credit for her zealousness. I believe, as she did, that he met with foul play. I don’t know if author Bob Armstrong’s scenario about the murdered girl and the man who Don accidentally killed while trying to find her murderer was a complete fabrication to heighten the mystery story or if has any basis in truth. If true, did he learn about it from Don’s girlfriend? I still have a few chapters to read. I haven’t spoken to that girlfriend since handing her back the tapes, and I did not make copies of any of them. Don was such a nice guy, and I still miss him. I am a little disappointed in Bob’s book, though. It reads as though whole paragraphs are missing in a couple of instance, notably that a suspect actually followed Don to the spot where his van had just been found. I don’t think he had an editor or a proofreader. Also, he misspelled the name Surratt throughout the book as something like “Sarrat.” This makes me wonder how thorough his research and interviews were. I hate books that fictionalize history because you don’t know which part of it is truth and which part isn’t. I realize Bob was merely trying to write a good story, but rather than answer any questions, it only raises more of them for me! I wish Bob would have included a postscript revealing which elements of his story were made up. I’m glad I haven’t finished reading Bob’s book, as I’d be tempted to reveal how it ends, and I shouldn’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read it. The title is “Footprints to Nowhere.” I found it on Amazon.


  35. Bill Thompson

    I am blown away that these comments are so current. I used to work with Mary Kemp in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1973/74 and met Don once in her apartment there. Then I recall years later that this story was broadcast on an Unsolved Mysteries episode when Raymond Burr hosted that show. For some reason today I Googled Mary Kemp and found this link. If Mary is still around and reads this, I would love to hear from her.


  36. Blitzer

    This is not the only case that has ended in bizarre circumstances. Thousands of people go missing every year with no traces at all. What I really find upsetting is how many children go missing without any traces, ever. Never found. I read a book called (missing 411) really bizarre stories of how parents would be hiking with there children, stop to tie one of the kids shoe & within less time to tie the shoe, one of the children missing, just vanished, and up to now still never found, no explanation. After reading that book it scared me enough that when I took my son camping or outdoors activities, it made me want to put him on a leash! lol link to many stories & unsolved missing people is– http://www.canammissing.com/missing-411-north-america.html

    My heart goes out to the families of missing love ones..


  37. CDR

    Randy Teeters passed away years ago, Robert. Heather, what did they find in the SUV?


    • Heather DuVall

      Sorry, I just ended up back on this thread when I realized they remade the original Unsolved Mysteries video from the pilot with a different narrator.

      My dad, Randy Teeters, died in 2004. This case still has fascinated me. I was a very young girl when this happened. It was one of the first cases my dad worked as a WHP officer. The blazer was completely full of gear and Don Kemp’s belongings. Dad said there were all sorts of prescription medications from pain medicines to psych meds. They didn’t find anything with anyone else’s names on it. There was no indication of anyone else ever being in the vehicle and it was so full another person wouldn’t fit. The area where they found the vehicle was in the middle of nowhere and there was never an indication of any other vehicle around either. The footprints led only into the prairie.

      It never made sense to my dad why anyone would walk off into the prairie in one of the most brutal climates in Wyoming if they were in their right mind. Dad believed that Don Kemp might have stopped to pee because there were no services anywhere there and walked too far into the prairie and got disoriented and couldn’t find his way back to his vehicle. I know they had a bad blizzard and had to stop the search more than one time due to weather conditions. Anyone who has ever been through a Red Desert blizzard k owns that you may or may not find someone or something for years even searching the same area due to drifting and wind.

      My dad died believing that Don Kemp just made a bad call to walk into the prairie and it killed him.


  38. Heather DuVall

    Randy Teeters was my father. This case was bizarre at best. Don Kemp definitely was struggling with mental and physical issues based on things they found in his blazer… The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. His mother, Mary Kemp, was crazy in her pursuit of answers and harrassed many people who had given her all of the information they had in some pretty mean ways…


    • Bob

      Who was your father the case? I knew Don Kemp in high school outside of Baltimore Maryland. He was our class president and I am very familiar with the case. I wrote a novel about it and have talked to his sister Kathy who I also knew in high school. He did have a severe back injury in a cab in New York. He was reported to change after that. In defense of Mary Kemp, she really never got a satisfactory explanation given the bizarre happenings after his disappearance. What did they find in his van?


  39. Rhett

    For your dumb i half go with mary because i think he saw someone out outside his widow so why am when so outside widow got to take key car you was heard it shot him then kidnapped to casper brutal stab him throw 3 miles away so hiker some cloths and soup and stuff duffle bag so cops could find start in farm six miles away put three of his socks in the barn so they could find it and those message where to tell them their someone following


    • Lol Rhett

      I tried my hardest to understand this comment, but after ten minutes, all I could understand was something about cloth and soup. I think.


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