A missing man turns out to have six different wives.

Jack Lutter

Suspect:

Gender: Male
DOB: 6’2”
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 200 lbs.

CASE DETAILS

On September 27, 1980, Jack and Caroline Lutter were married in Lake Tahoe. Jack was a flight engineer for United Airlines, and Caroline was working as a marine biologist. According to Caroline, theirs was a happy marriage until August, 1986, when Jack disappeared:

“I was married to Jack for over six years, and we were together for eight years, and, for most of those years, it was a very happy time.   And over time, I grew more and more in love with him, which I thought was impossible to do.   I tried to understand the fact that he was a pilot and yes, pilots are away from home a lot, and so many times, if he’d tell me he’d be home the next day and he didn’t show up, I would cry and be in tears, because I planned my weekends for him to come home.”

Jack & Caroline Lutter

For four weeks, Jack didn’t call and Caroline had no idea where he had gone.   The situation worsened when their son, Jonathan, was diagnosed with a hernia and needed immediate surgery. Caroline called the airline to try to find Jack. When she spoke to his supervisor, she got news she never expected–other women had also been calling about her missing husband:

“It was a terrible feeling.  I felt very betrayed, extremely betrayed. And after loving him so deeply all these years I felt like my love for him had been violated.  I found out that every single thing he told me was a lie. I found out that there were many, many, many women in his life.”

Jack & Fatima Lutter

Caroline discovered that some of those women were not just girlfriends, but Jack’s wives. For years, Jack Lutter had successfully created a life of bigamy and an intricate financial network that supported six condominiums, six houses, a fifty-foot yacht, and at least fifteen children. Jack’s wives all had one thing in common–they were all from male-dominated cultures where women seldom question their husband’s actions. He initially met each of his wives through chance encounters. One of them, Fatima, fell under his spell on an airport bus in Seattle:

“I wasn’t thinking that he was attractive at all.   It’s just that he was very friendly.   So, I was looking at him as… a very nice person.   And then he offered his phone number and he asked for my phone number.”

A few months later, Fatima and Jack Lutter were married in Reno. She unknowingly became his fifth wife.   They moved to San Francisco, where they had two children.

But not all of Jack Lutter’s women were married to him. Theresa, whom he met in 1980, was his common-law wife.   They met in Denver, had a child, and then moved to El Paso. Like his other wives, Theresa believed she was the only person in Jack’s life:

“I never believed he was unfaithful. And he always said that he always hated people that get divorced because he doesn’t believe in divorce.”

Fatima came across photos of his other wives

Once Jack disappeared, his wives began calling each other. Theresa and Caroline slowly pieced together the true story of Jack Lutter’s numerous marriages. He had told his fifth wife, Fatima, about a condominium in San Francisco, where his grandfather supposedly lived. When she searched it, there was no grandfather. But Fatima did find a secret cache of Lutter’s personal belongings–including explicit sexual photos of his many wives:

“The whole thing was just like a nightmare.   It was really hard for me to look at the pictures and, it really hurt… that I was not the only woman, that this man is just practicing the same thing that he’s saying, it’s just, no meaning to it.”

Knowing that Jack always left his car at the airport, Caroline took a spare set of keys and searched it. In the trunk, she found checks and mortgage receipts for various properties he owned all over the country:

“Not only did he have other women, but he had lied to me about his financial situation, too.   For him never to have supported me at all, in all these eight years, to have borrowed money from me, only, to turn around and use my money to pay these mortgage payments and I knew that many of these mortgage payments were for wives or women living in these homes. And it was my money that he was using to support some of the other women.   I was extremely angry at that.”

Caroline found unexplained mortgage payments

Caroline packed up Jack’s belongings, filed a missing persons report, and asked the police to investigate her suspicions of bigamy.   Sergeant Keith May of the King County Police Department was the lead investigator on the case:

“To me, it’s unbelievable.   The farther I got into the case, the more aghast I was at the job that this guy had to do.   He never missed anniversaries or holidays or birthdays or anything for his children or his wives. It’s unbelievable, the capacity that this man has for detail, and his abilities to disengage himself from one family entirely and re-engage himself with another family.  And take up as if he hadn’t been gone at all.”

Jack Lutter’s wives all lived in cities on his airline routes. The system worked perfectly until the airline decided to promote Jack and change his routes.  His complex web of lies began to unravel. Jack vanished, and for six weeks, none of his wives heard from him.  Then, in the middle of the night, Jack called Caroline. He said he was calling from a payphone inside a Cuban prison, where he had been held captive after being shipwrecked off the Cuban coast. Now, he wanted to come home. Caroline knew he was lying, but to lure him back she pretended to believe him.

Two days later, Jack called from the airport.  Caroline had planned to alert the police.  But that night she decided first to confront her husband, and then call the authorities. She insisted that they talk in a public place, so they drove to a restaurant near the airport. But by the end of their conversation, Caroline did not have the heart to turn Jack in:

“What I saw in front of me was a man whose whole life had just broken apart. And to me, he was like a wounded, cornered animal.  Not willing to admit to the truth.   We spent the weekend together, and, on Monday, he said he was going to go try and salvage whatever he could with his job, and I took him to the airport.”

Jack walked down the ramp and out of Caroline’s life forever. Then he simply went to the haven of another wife–Theresa.   Although she also knew of her husband’s infidelities, Theresa neglected to turn him in as well. Jack Lutter lived with Theresa in El Paso for six months. Then in March of 1987, he was fired by the airline and disappeared yet again. According to Sergeant May, this time his vanishing act was permanent:

“I know why Jack has done what he has done.  I know when he did it and for how long, and I know what the results are. What I don’t know is where he is right now.  That’s the mystery.”

Update:

Jack Lutter was finally captured after he was spotted at Los Angeles International Airport.  He was taken to Seattle and convicted of bigamy. He served his sentence of 90 days and was released on probation. But he violated his probation by disappearing once again. A warrant for the arrest of Jack Lutter has been issued by a Seattle court.


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

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9 Comments

  1. Chanita

    Why Did He Have Six Different Wives?

    Reply

  2. Paul McLeod

    Why did he do it?

    Reply

  3. Anonymous

    He seems to have multiple profiles on facebook. Thought you guys should know.

    Reply

  4. hmmm

    90 days? Really?…why is this a concern?

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    My wife was Jack’s roommate in San Francisco during 1983. He was a hermit who would come into his townhouse, go into his room and lock the door. He always sounded like he was building something in there. Most of all, you never knew when he would walk through the front door. Then when we saw him on AMW, we flipped.

    Reply

  6. Barbara

    Any idea how old he would be now?

    Reply

  7. Esther

    Have you people who had been on any flights seen this man flying or wondering around any of your flights ages ago? Have you people who were at the airport ages ago seen him walking around the airport? Contact the police before he goes on the run again.

    Reply

  8. Alan

    One of his wives could have stopped him from leaving back in 2006 and this would have been solved back then. Has anybody seen him today?

    Reply