A woman who’s terrified of leaving her house boards a train and vanishes.
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:
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 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:
But according to Jule, it was Dottie who started the fight:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Shelley Wilson also found it strange that Dottie left her purse behind:
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:
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.”
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