Sightings of a missing man after a boating accident give his family hope.

Gordon Collins

Missing:

Gender: Male
DOB: 2/22/57
Height:  6’2”
Weight: 200 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Light
Defining Characteristics: Scars – outer left shoulder, 2-inch clean horizontal scar from a power saw, chest above the heart is a circular scar from a fall on bicycle handlebars
Remarks: Last seen 4/93

CASE DETAILS

In September of 1991, a disoriented, penniless, and obviously out of place young American man wandered into the Mexican village of Colonia Vicente Guerrero, 300 miles south of San Diego. He lingered for months, living on hand-outs and the charity of strangers.  Many now believe the man was Gordon Collins, who had been missing for five months.

The boat was found overturned

In April 1991, Gordon was vacationing with his girlfriend, Anastasia Seals, and another couple, near Santa Rosalia, a popular deep sea fishing port near the middle of the Baja Peninsula.  Four days after they arrived, the group rented a boat at a local hotel.  Gordon’s friend, Wayne Schwartz, had fished off the Baja coast many times. As the group left port, a fisherman on his way in warned them that a storm was brewing.

Several hours later, a fierce storm hit the area. Gordon and his friends never returned.  The next day, a hotel employee discovered the bodies of Gordon’s girlfriend, Anastasia Seals, and Wayne Schwartz.  But Gordon and Wayne’s wife, Arlean Burlington, were never found.  Gordon father, John Collins, described what the searchers found:

“The bodies and all the paraphernalia out of the boat was all within one square mile of each other, ‘cause I talked to the fellow that fished the bodies out and so we say, ‘Hey, where’s the other two jackets?  Where’s the other two people?’”

For three days, the United States Coast Guard searched a 250-mile area, but found nothing. It seemed obvious that Gordon and Arlean had also perished.

His parents searched for him in Mexico

In time, Gordon and Arlean’s parents were asked to sign death certificates.  However, reports that Gordon was still alive had already begun to come in from Mexico.  Some thought he might be suffering from amnesia.

When Gordon Collins’ parents traveled to the site of the accident, they found two Mexican fishermen who said they had seen a man matching Gordon’s description wander out of the ocean.  He was wearing only shorts and was covered in cuts. They said they saw him trying to board a bus.  John Collins recalls his reaction:

“I was very excited.  Things started fitting together because this is where the accident happened.  They found the bodies just a mile and a half off of the shore. It’s gotta be Gordy.”

Many people say they saw Gordon

Around the same time, a man named Jose Peralta also sighted Gordon on a nearby beach.
Gordon’s mother Mary Lou Collins talked to him:

“Jose said that Gordy said he was waiting for friends he went fishing with and could he have Jose’s blanket, ‘cause he was going to sleep on the beach there at Cabo and wait for his friends.”

John Collins tells of other confirmations:

“On one trip, we were headed toward La Paz and we stopped at a few of these taco places and they said, ‘Yeah, seen him an hour ago’.  So we went on down for probably another three or four miles and we stopped again, and the guy says ‘Yeah, we seen him about thirty minutes ago.’  So we finally got right into town and they say, “Yeah, within five minutes.’ And I don’t know what happened, but everybody just clammed up.  We couldn’t get anymore more information.” 

Over the next three months, Gordon Collins was spotted at least fifty times in seven different locations, all in the area of La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, at the southern end of the Baja Peninsula.  Gordon’s parents hired Bill Garcia, a private investigator, who alerted newspapers in Baja.  After the articles ran, Garcia received several calls from a village 300 miles south of Tijuana.  Raul Amador says he remembers Gordon vividly:

“He was four, five months here in town. … Everybody knows him.”

Bill Garcia believes the villagers:

“We’ve show them pictures and everyone recognizes him and they’re positive that it’s him.  The people that have talked to him know some things about Gordon and feel confident that he is there.”

When the man identified as Gordon was arrested for stealing food, the local sheriff brought in James Hatfield, an American living in the village, to translate.   James said he was sure the man he met was Gordon Collins:

“There’s no doubt in my mind it’s Gordon, because when we met him in jail, I introduced myself to him and he gave me his name Gordy.  And then when the flyer came out, it’s right there on the flyer, ‘Gordon.’  And you can’t get the two pictures mixed up.  It’s the same.”

But Bill Garcia didn’t make it in time:

“He moved on shortly before we were able to get to the area and we haven’t been able to find where he’s gone from there.”

Over the next year, sporadic sightings of Gordon continued.  The U.S. Consulate has officially reversed its position and no longer presumes that Gordon Collins is dead.  John Collins holds onto hope that he may see his son again:

“You can’t just up and give up, because it’s your son. I know it keeps me driving, it keeps me going. And I want to get him home.”


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

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15 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    This is going way, way back but I’ll give it a shot. I lived in Antigua, Guatemala between 1994-96, and for several months during that time, I recall a tall, blond-headed guy with very long hair wandering the streets in Antigua. Guy was homeless. I spoke to him one day, and the only thing I remember him telling me was he stated he was from Canada. I understand Collins is from California, however if he were trying to avoid being identified or caught, I could understand him saying that. Anyway, when I saw this story in an old episode of UM, it reminded me of that person from over 20 years back.

    Reply

  2. Rob

    I know this guy. He saved my Life in 1999. I was with my uncle and we were deep sea fishing in Panama, near the island of Coiba.
    He went by the nickname Duke or Luke.
    He LITERALLY SAVED MY LIFE on February 27, 1999.
    *I have NO DOUBT that this is the same person.
    Feel free to contact me.
    RJ

    Reply

  3. Marilyn ANN Hill

    Iv replied to “missing & homeless” they took pic of Gordon collins, posted yesterday I think, I sent him info on here, it’s definitely him, yall hv no phone numbets bt iv seen from posts here that people iv posted ur info on gordon on “missing & homeless” hv put more proof of him in mexico, act quickly, please, please, please, before he’s gone again, help him, help his poor family, I know it’s him, I’d send pix bt ur comments space hasn’t that option.

    Reply

  4. Rosa salazar

    I know where gordy stays. l have tried to explain where he’s at to unsolved. I have a close up picture l took of him in 2014. I have tried to be his friend. He is very cautious. I want this looked into. I am not sure if l leave my info.

    Reply

  5. Chanita

    I hope he will turn up some day he was feeling like a outcast !

    Reply

  6. Frances recupero

    I live in east Boston mass a day for a few years now I have noticed a homeless man with blond hair walking the streets early in the morning’s. He doesn’t wear shoes most of the time and he sleeps outside. I am told that he refuses handouts but I have never offered. You could try calling station seven in east Boston I am sure they will know who I am describing so they probably know his name.

    Reply

  7. Phyllis smith

    On CDL facebook in Mexico today couple hours ago has information
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1207304489292494&id=129643173725303

    Reply

  8. Mrs.Barrie

    I think Gordon is in LewisburgTennessee. I’ve seen this man walking around with no shirt , wearing a poncho and rag jeans. If this is him , he’s been in town for about 2yrs. When I seen him at first he is fairly tall, messy dirty blonde hair, and a beard. Skin looks like he’s got a tan. I took a picture of him today standing next to an intersection near a Walmart with no shirt on as if waiting to get a ride or something.

    Reply

  9. Tracey Warmack

    I think I’ve seen ths man in Silver Spring, MD. I’ve seen him walking along Viers Mill Road near Aspen Hill Road, or near Glenmont area. Always walking alone. His face looks the same, he is always walking alone. His hair is the same color but Has grown into one giant single lock of hair that looks like a huge dread lock. This same man has cut his hair before. However, the last time I saw him it began growing longer again. My prayer for the family. God bless them.

    Reply

  10. Michael

    Channel 11 in Atlanta Georgia ran a news story 2/2/15 on a man in Richmond Hill Georgia who calls himself Benjamin. He was found in August 31, 2004.

    http://www.11alive.com/story/news/crime/2015/02/01/man-lives-for-decade-not-knowing-who-he-is/22583483/

    Reply

  11. rich

    I think I saw him in vera cruz mexico in 2009 he was walking barefoot with 4-5 dogs that he cares for.he was in the market visiting someone on roof top apt. 4-5 buidlings down from the hotel campoamor towards the entrance of the market.

    Reply

  12. Michele McLaughlin

    I think I saw this person at a retreat over the July 26,27 ,2014 weekend at Billy Graham’s Cove in Asheville NC. He wasn’t with our group but he did fit the description, very tall and wearing his hair long. We were thinking that any church group would like him to play Jesus.
    I would have the staff there find out his name . we all had to have name tags and be registered….

    Reply