A soldier goes AWOL and is never seen again.

Justin Burgwinkel

Missing:

Gender: Male
DOB: 5/14/72
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Last seen: June 12, 1993

CASE DETAILS

Justin’s former girlfriend

Private Justin Burgwinkel, United States Army, had a plan…he set his sights on serving with an elite combat unit known as the Rangers. He scored high on his army tests and immersed himself in language training.   His specialty was Korean. But three years after reporting for duty, Justin went AWOL, absent without leave, and then he vanished without a trace.

Three months after Justin disappeared, his car was found, gathering dust in the parking lot of a motel. His cars keys were locked inside, along with his wallet, credit cards, and military ID. To this day, no one knows what happened to Justin Burgwinkel. However, the person who was closest to him at the time–his girlfriend Ioland Antunes–had noticed an extreme change in Justin’s behavior during the weeks prior to his disappearance.

Dogtags were found in car

Justin was stationed at Ford Ord, in Monterey, California. He met Iolanda, a computer science student at Santa Clara University, while he was on a weekend pass. Before long, he was regularly driving the 80 miles from Fort Ord to visit her. After awhile, Iolanda began to see signs of trouble..Justin seemed to have a secret life. This is how she described Justin’s behavior:

“All of a sudden, he would just stop what he’s doing with me in the afternoon and he would just say, ‘I’m sorry. But I have to go to Monterey and see some people. But I’ll be right back.’ I’ll be just saying, ‘Just like that? Out of the blue?'”

“And then he started getting more vague: ‘I can’t tell you, it’s, I really can’t–can’t discuss this with you right now. I’m doing something you know, kind of secret and I, I can’t reveal it to you.’

Justin’s car was found outside a motel

After three years at Ford Ord, Justin was transferred to Fort Lewis, in Washington state. More than two months passed before he was able to take a two week leave and visit Iolanda. She recalls that Justin’s unusual behavior continued:

“Justin always had a briefcase with him..He’d be very secretive about it. He would never open it in front of me.”  

‘There was this one time, I kind of angled myself just to turn and look over my shoulder to see what he was doing. All he’s doing with that briefcase is taking pieces of paper in fact–taking pieces of paper out and shredding them with his hands. Just tearing them into little tiny, tiny pieces.'”

Whatever Justin was involved with, it seemed to be veering out of control. One day, Iolanda found him alone in the living room, sobbing.

Later, there was a strange phone call. Iolanda says that she answered, only to hear a stranger’s voice say, “The mission’s off.” Lolanda asked the caller to explain what he meant. “Just tell him–the mission’s off”, the voice said.

According to Iolanda, when she told Justin about the call, he reacted badly, storming through the apartment shouting, “Damn it! Damn it!” When Iolanda asked Justin who he was involved with, he simply told her, “You don’t want to know.”

At the end of his visit, Justin returned to Fort Lewis. Soon after, he bought two handguns, and more than 100 rounds of ammunition. Then, he failed to show up at Fort Lewis and was reported as A.W.O.L.

But Justin didn’t make much of an effort to hide. He showed up at Iolanda’s apartment. She insisted that Justin call his parents, and they urged him to contact the base.

His keys and wallet were in the trunk

Justin did call the base and said that he would return. But Justin didn’t return to Fort Lewis. Instead, he remained at Iolanda’s and resumed his secretive trips to Ford Ord.

When Iolanda pressed Justin for an explanation, he referred her to White Sands , a suspense film about the intrigue-filled world international arms smuggling. But Justin wouldn’t confide anything more about his activities. Then, one day, he left Iolanda’s apartment and never returned.

No one heard anything about Justin for three months. Then, his car was found in the parking lot of an isolated, beachfront motel near Fort Ord. Justin’s name did not appear in the motel register. His handguns were nowhere to be found. But, surprisingly, his briefcase, which he seldom let out of his sight, had been stashed in the trunk. Inside was his wallet. And, tucked in the wallet was his standard-issue, military dog tags. Based on what Justin had once said to her, Iolanda saw the dog tags as a bad sign:

“We were driving down one time in his car and Justin had his dog tags and he said, ‘Do you know what they’re for?’   I kinda had an idea but I just said, ‘No, no, what, what are they for?’ ≠And he says ‘Well, when a soldier dies they put it in his teeth so, you can identify him. If you ever see these, you know, lying around, that means I’m dead.'”

Is Justin Burgwinkel dead…swallowed up by a shadowy role in a gun running operation? Or did he simply run away and cover his disappearance with a twisted fantasy plucked from a Hollywood movie?


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season seven with Robert Stack and in season one with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina.

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34 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Sadly, it sounds like he was a paranoid schizophrenic. The torn up papers, the missions he had to go on, crying uncontrollably… I think he was calling out for help, unfortunately the girlfriend had no idea and people with these delusions can be very convincing. *If* he was doing any recreational drugs it could have been magnifying the problem. Poor kid. If I were to investigate his case I would start with the homeless and any hospital psych patients.

    Reply

  2. Anonymous

    EXACTLY, A CIA Operative……..SPY COOK! Can you say WALTER MITTY?

    Reply

  3. Anonymous

    I thank he’s dead to, someone killed him cause he knew to much about something. I hope his famliy found the truth soon. My pray’s are with the famliy.

    Reply

  4. Kitty Brune

    The only interesting and close to believable comments here for me are from the two incognito persons, K. Vonnegut and I Run the Risk of Being, and the two guys who served with Justin Burgwinkel but evenso everything here is just speculation. This case is still an unsolved mystery because there still is not enough evidence to lead to any suspects.

    Reply

  5. Secret Squirrel

    I run the risk of being called a liar. But it’s the Internet, so who cares (?) You can take my comments for what they are worth and make your own decision …or not.

    I have worked for a decade in clandestine operations for the DIA. Not CIA, but DIA. I did in fact have a cover within the US Army, and that was to serve as a Public Affairs NCO, when I was in fact an officer working in counter intelligence.

    The purpose of placing me with Public Affairs was to put me in the position where I could serve as a media liaison between the military and the American civilian media. Foreign nations often use media as a cover for their own agents who attempt to collect on leaders or personnel with access to sensitive information.

    My service was from the early 2000s to the near present.

    I came up in the field at a very interesting time when the Internet was emerging as a non-kinetic tool for intelligence collection. This meant that it became less and less likely that my job would be specifically to identify foreign agents who were posing as members of the civilian media.

    As counter intelligence we experienced an island of indecision where the DIA simply didn’t know what to do with us. Intelligence collection became more prominent online and some of the tasks of a counter intelligence agent became digitized and handed off to computer specialists working in the realm of data mining and electronic warfare.

    We certainly still had a purpose only, I joined at a time when that purpose evolved rapidly. So as a relatively new guy, I had to be very aggressive with making myself useful.

    I was assigned to JTF North, which was an intel unit of the US Army situated at Fort Bliss, Texas – which is about 30 minutes south of White Sands, which is a location prominent in Justin Burgwinkel’s story.

    JTF North was made up of members from the US Army, the DIA, FBI and local law enforcement in El Paso (which is the city Fort Bliss is located in.)

    I was part of an ADVON team who helped transition special forces team members who were loosely associated with the 1st Armored Division as they transitioned from Germany to Fort Bliss, Texas. Eventually the whole of the 1st Armored Division moved from Germany to Fort Bliss.

    The Special Forces group fell under the 1st Armored Division solely for administrative purposes and as the 1AD moved back to the US, it was our goal to absorb the SF group into the JTF North, essentially stealing them from the 1AD.

    I am limited on what I can say but I am also taking advantage of online anonymity to say things I probably shouldn’t.

    The “JTF” in JTF North stands for “joint task force”. Hence, why the organization was made up from several agencies. Adding the Special Forces to the mix was a very grey area.

    In JTF North, my duties became less about serving as US Army Public Affairs and more about serving as a counter intelligence agent with no cover. I was involved with moving back and fourth between El Paso and Juarez which are two bordering cities, with Juarez being situated on the Mexican side of the border.

    The film Sicario very accurately describes how our movements occurred between the two cities. The film production came to El Paso while I was stationed there and was originally planned to be related to our activities.

    The defense department managed to convince the film makers to not portray our activities.

    Our activities were related to seeking out members of the drug cartels in Juarez and eliminating them if they were suspected of colluding with known terror networks in the Middle East. When I say “eliminating” I am talking about arresting, deporting to the US or arranging to imply they are cooperating with the US government, which would cause the cartels to work the problem out naturally.

    Our whole mission was to evaluate and neutralize the possibility of terrorist factions aligning with drug cartels in order to gain access to the US and heavy weaponry. The truth is that there was a relationship there and most Americans have no idea how dangerous this all became.

    In time, our job became pointless because the Obama Administration virtually destroyed border security and the flood gates opened. I always thought the accusations of Obama being a Muslim were ridiculous until I saw what he did to our border. But that’s another subject.

    As things became more tense, we made moves to absorb the SF group from the 1AD into our organization in order to provide ourselves with security as we operated. This was a grey area because of something called the Posse Camitatus Act, which is a federal law that bans US military from operating on US soils outside of military installations.

    This meant the act of SF groups leaving with us from Fort Bliss to Juarez was against the law even though it was only about 4.5 miles worth of road. From the moment we exited Fort Bliss we were on civilian US soil and had 4.5 miles or road to cross before reaching Mexico. While on those 4.5 miles, the SF were breaking the law. To get around this, we and they were all placed under the direction of the FBI, which made it legal.

    This is actually discussed in the film Sicario. The DoD convinced film makers to omit all references to counter terrorism in their film. So the film is largely fictional. The only accuracy is how we travelled back and fourth.

    My point in telling you all of this is that I believe my career has put me in a very credible position to discuss the Justin Burgwinkel case. Because first off, I served in clandestine projects in that area and I have been involved with the scenarios of using soldiers under cover in abstract jobs, film and operations of those who could be considered “gun runners”.

    My conclusions about Justin Burgwinkel is that his story is false. There is some element of truth related to the idea of the US and drug cartels being involved in transactions involving guns. Operation Fast and Furious however, should tell you that the agency responsible was the ATF, and no DoD personnel were involved.

    This is the first reason I say Burgwinkel’s story is false.

    The idea of shredding documents to me is also rather absurd. As others have pointed out, why not just burn them and be more efficient about it? But that’s not why I find the behavior stupid. I struggle to imagine what could be placed on documents that are so secret they need to be destroyed. If such documents existed, my career would have been over if I removed them from a facility that housed classified material. And what could be on those docs anyway? It’s not like the US takes receipts or contracts for arms transfers.

    I have been involved with arming members of al Nusra and intimately understand the process.

    This is another reason Burgwinkel’s story is false.

    Next problem is the phone call that tells his girlfriend that “the mission is off”.

    First off, no one in the DoD would give the slightest bit of knowledge to a civilian that a mission even exists. And if the need arose to inform an operative that a mission has been canceled they would never dream of using a intermediary.

    During my service, my home was in El Paso. At the end of the day, I would come home to my wife just like I was a car salesman or a groundskeeper. The stress from my job caused me to take up excessive use of alcohol just so I could sleep at night. It nearly destroyed my marriage. What I never did however, was talk about my experiences with my wife. Not even the slightest inkling of data. Not for her safety but because to do so would have been unprofessional.

    This is another reason why I say Justin Burgwinkel’s story is false.

    Although I did have a cover, it is a very rare thing – and as I said. As the digital age evolved, my need for a cover evaporated. But the cover of Public Affairs situated men between the military and the civilian media where I could theoretically intercept a foreign agent. What would the purpose of using a cook as a cover be? To keep the peas from taking to the carrots? It makes no sense and serves no use.

    Justin Burgwinkel also told his girlfriend and/or parents that if they ever found his dog tags, it meant he was dead. I deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria – and saying goodbye to my wife was always heartbreaking. I shudder at the idea of discussing the possibility of my death. We certainly prepared for the possibility but talking about it was taboo. I mean, we transferred cars or the house to her name. I made sure my life insurance was good. My will was in place, etc. But I never mumbled the words “incase anything happens to me”. It just went without saying.

    I also have trouble with an operative even having dog tags in the first place. The three rules for wearing dog tags in the military are ‘when flying in an air craft, when overseas and when designated by the commander’. I’m pretty sure a Commander would not want his secret squirrel wearing dog tags.

    As for the fate of Justin Burgwinkel, I am afraid that in all likelihood it is rather grim.

    If he were around today, he could be accused of stolen valor. He was not the first soldier to embellish his career and won’t be the last. Those of us who have served in the special access programs take offense to false claims. That’s because we know so many who were killed in action and it dishonors their memory.

    However, with the tragic disappearance of Justin Burgwinkel the chance to place him on trial never arose. But from what I know about the case, none of his actions, demeanor or details line up with any element of intel operations. So I believe his story to be false. I have in fact heard of people living in a fantasy world go to extreme lengths to legitimize their story. It is a relatively common occurrence without having to be the result of mental illness.

    I can see how a cook who hadn’t achieved what they hoped and it bruised their ego to the point where they develop a convoluted story to compensate. There is a considerable stigma against military cooks since cooks, mechanics and supply clerks are the three jobs you can get in the military after failing the ASVAB. It may not be fair but they are all often considered to be idiots or cowards for not signing up for something more sophisticated. I am speaking of the stigma that exists not of my opinion. Everyone who wears the uniform earns it.

    If Justin Burgwinkel simply chose to disappear and never contact his family again, it seems unlikely that he would not be driven to reemerge to satisfy his need to continue his fantasy. So I suspect three possibilities.

    1. He had chosen to take his own life and had done so in a manner that has for one reason or another, hindered detectives from locating his body.
    2. He has walked away from his former life and has since lived under an alias or perhaps even as a transient. But it seems unlikely that all this time would pass without him either being discovered or him feeling the need to contact someone from his former life.
    3. Lastly, my final possibility is based on a lot of speculation. Perhaps Justin Burgwinkel made contact with people associated with gun running. There have been incidents where people living a fantasy life have deliberately gone undercover on their own accord for the sake of living out a fantasy. People have attempted to buy drugs only to report the sellers to the authorities and so on. Justin Burgwinkel’s inexperience and naivety could have lead him to suggest a transaction he could not deliver on. Or, he was involved with criminal activity and used his fantasy as a cover. This involvement could have lead to his murder.

    I do not believe Justin Burgwinkel was affiliated with any sort of clandestine operations and I lean heavily toward the idea that he is no longer with us.

    Reply

  6. Diana

    If he’s dead than where’s his body? His body should at least come up somewhere.

    Reply

  7. Jamke

    How could it all be in his head, the girlfriend said there was a phone call that said “the missions off”
    So who was that on the other end of the phone??

    Reply

    • Leigh

      I agree. That’s the only thing that makes me think others were in on whatever he was up to. But, I wonder if he was on site when that phone call came in, or if he could have made it himself. I think if anyone else killed him they had no reason to leave his belongings in his car where they would eventually be found. Lots of questions, few answers.

      Reply

  8. chanita

    Where Is He At Now?

    Reply

  9. Bess

    Sounds similar to the case of Paul Whipkey.

    Reply

  10. Renard Muldrake

    Justin was involved in a federal gun running operation. Things went wrong on the operation, all information was burned (this is why Justin was seen shredding documents in a briefcase) then, after all data was successfully destroyed, anyone involved was killed. Justin had a friend who knew what was happening who told Justin they were going to be killed. Late one night alone and in the dark, the reality sunk in and Justin broke out into tears. The person who called was Justin’s friend and once he realized it was Lolanda and not Justin, he simply said “the mission is off.” Meaning it’s official. They’ve started killing us. Justin knew this and freaked out. It is of my believe They got him.

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  11. Jan

    I think your right anonymous. There’s always a sighting somewhere even if it’s false. The military didn’t deny it though it seems far fetched. They say he wanted to be an Army Ranger but that he wasn’t and he was caught shoplifting. I think he was given an option. Do this or else. I think they didn’t want him to be an Army Ranger so that way if he did spill the proverbial beans no one would believe him and if they did it would just be the crazy people. It’s possible it may have been military involvement.

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  12. Anonymous

    Something happened to this man…what surrounds him is unanswered questions.
    It’s clear he was living a life that neither has family or girlfriend knew about..
    what would cause this man to diappear?
    Strange also they way they found his car.
    wallet; keys, dogtags;etc.
    it’s looks like he simply walked away..
    Why hasn’t three been a least a couple different sighting of him?
    What’s more puzzling is the its like he vanished out thin air..
    no traces..nothing…
    It does seem like foul play But then nothing points to that.
    expect his bizarre behavior..
    someone had to see right before he disappeared.
    at a gas station, walk along somewhere; at the store.
    did anyone where is car was found..see him someone?
    its almost no one both to look any further after finding this guy’s vechicle..
    Someone knows something or saw something…
    I don’t think anyone is coming forward for whatever reasons..

    Reply

  13. sillywilly

    ok it sounds as if he was paranoy skitsofrantic which is sad my father was diagnosed with that , but it also seems very weird if he took his own life and wanted attention he would do it where he would be found!!!! so we are left with a few senarios either he jumped into the oceon and no one looked for him or he ran away and is probably reading these and should be completely ashamed that he has put his family through that kind of heart ache !!!!!!!! or he is completely sick as I said skitsofrania is a disease that will make him hide out so very possible he is hiding with the homeless or met with death on the streets hiding out withj the homeless but not from a heroic act , just bad luck .either way I believe he is very sick and needs serious help .and if I was the parents and family I would be checking the streets talking to homeless and or mental facility. but I would believe at this point a mental facility would in fact have contacted his family by now.

    Reply

  14. Anonymous

    He was murder by those carnival travelers

    Reply

  15. Hyroglyphx

    There are a lot of gaps in this story, but I doubt very seriously that he was actually working any kind of clandestine operations given the extremely Hollywood portrayal of it. There’s no way a legitimate covert operation would ever be conducted the way it was described.

    I think this kid wanted to be something special but had mental illness or simply was incredibly naive. He probably obsessed about being a Ranger, and some people in his battalion were aware of both his desire for Spec Ops and that he was a total dork. I theorize that they decided to play a practical joke on him by setting up an elaborate hoax to play on these facts. They would make fake phone calls to him (that he thought was real), and would leave fake dead drops (briefcases) just to troll him and have a good laugh. He, on the other hand, took it seriously and they probably took it way too far.

    Something very serious happened as a result of this game and somewhere along the line he died, either the people messing with him killed him by accident or he got himself killed trying to get away from what he thought were agents out to get him.

    I think the people trolling him realize that they would be at least partially, if not fully liable, in his death and have covered the manslaughter by getting rid of his body.

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  16. Donovan Ripwood

    i feel sorry for this man

    Reply

  17. T. L. A.

    In my 27 years of law enforcement, I have seen this syndrome many times. He was a secret agent, only in his mind. He had illusions of granduer. I would bet my pension he committed suicide.

    Reply

    • Misuse of 'illusion.'

      I think you mean “delusion.” Typical uneducated law enforcement wannabe. I don’t believe he was or is an ‘agent’ anymore than I believe you are real law enforcement!

      Reply

  18. I know

    He was involved in selling guns just to street gangs just a couple of months before probably when he got the call is when king an his 3kids were murdered by gang members with a knife while 2 soldiers from ford hod an fort Lewis standed guard outside an were to get rid of the weapons for the gang most soldiers that were. From fort hod got transferred to Lewis for reasons they were soldiers that got to deep an coundnt stop cause they were scared of the gang an the higher ups an they knew he was going to do something cause he didn’t show up he went awol he is a liability

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  19. Nick

    Yep. Sounds to me like Justin had some mental issues and wanted to sound/feel important. Anybody who thinks Justin was some CIA operative or gun-runner needs to stop watching so many movies. This kid seems to have been a disturbed young man. It wouldn’t surprise me if he left his girlfriend’s house and took his own life elsewhere.

    Reply

    • TG

      I highly doubt it was anything clandestine! That’s just like several have said, it’s too Hollywood!
      I know his parents want to think it was some secret operation, but my guess is he was dealing/smuggling drugs, & got caught up with the wrong crowd!
      I believe he’s dead, by the cartels he was dealing with!!!

      Reply

  20. John

    I was stationed with him at Fort Ord, after all these years the memories have faded a little. Yes was was a cook then, he also smoked weed and no he wasn’t likely an “Agent”. He was one of those soldiers that does just enough to get by, wanted to remain lazy and under the radar. I remember him leaving just before we were moved to Fort Lewis, don’t remember seeing him at Lewis at all but then again the cooks were sent to their line units rather than staying with Regimental Headquarters. He probably got caught up in drugs and or didnt want to move to Lewis and wanted a fast way out or met his death on the streets of San Jose or Seaside.

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  21. Honey

    When was this first aired? Says his “specialty” was Korean.North Korea may not have been the big pain in the ass that it is now. And the girlfriend being of some sort of Asian descent spells trouble. Which one was the double agent?

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  22. FormerClassmate

    I knew Justin. Went to basic training with him. Not sure where they came up with the whole “Rangers” thing. He was training as a military intelligence linguist (98G) at the Presidio of Monterey, CA when he was kicked out of the program for stealing CDs from the post exchange. They stuck him on KP for a short time while he was waiting to get re-classified as a cook and then subsequently stationed at Fort Ord. He then was transferred to Ft. Lewis, WA during the base drawdown of Fort Ord before it closed in 94. I’m sure the “investigators” got their information from his family instead of asking the military directly.

    Reply

  23. Lauren

    I feel very sorry for his family and him. If he was telling the truth then he is probably dead.If he was living in some fantasy land then he probably has mental problems.Either way he’s in trouble.

    Reply

  24. IV

    Yeah… because those who show up late for cook duty know too much… good god, only little kids and 20 year olds buy into this crap.

    Reply

  25. renee pettigrew

    I totally agree with the previous comment. I think he was murdered. Sad story for his family not knowing is worse than knowing

    Reply

  26. Yeti

    He lives………….in Asia.

    Reply

  27. K. Vonnegut

    I think that poor Justin is dead. The sobbing that he was doing alone had to be real and may have suggested that those he was working with were being killed also (the mission is off may have meant that someone that he was working with in this operation died).

    He probably WAS a courier exchanging arms and was very serious about this. I believe him because if he were trying to pull a fast one on his girlfriend then he would have given her some Hollywood story, which he did not.

    He ALWAYS told her that he could not talk about it. If he hasn’t been found by now and leaving his wallet with the dog tags inside (he knew that each mission could be his last) and he probably parked that car where it could be found in the event of his death so that at least that his family would know not to look for him.

    He probably took on his own death knowingly so that his family OR his girlfriend would not be killed for what he was involved in.

    I also think that the people he was working with were fellow soldiers who got in way too deep for the kind of access that they had and that it was too easy (at that time) to get away with what they were doing, but then, the CIA probably got to him because of what his group knew and who they were working with.

    It could have been anything government related, but I highly doubt that he was trying to make himself “important”.

    There was a lot of dirty business going on in government during that time with the arms and weapons and these young men who were clean cut were used in the operation.

    Perhaps, an operation within an operation. Another option is that when Justin was no longer needed for this “mission” that he was killed to never be found again.

    This man was very distressed for anything “pretend” and I did watch “White Sands” and it was very throughout-provoking and such things were going on during the time that this film was released.

    Particularly between Reagan’s era came into the Bush Sr. era. At that time, the US was getting into all sorts of secretive strategies as Bush Sr. was an operative and a major operative in the CIA for many years.

    These young men, such as Justin, really may have believed that they were doing something for their country and knew the dangers behind what they were elected to do.

    When the caller did not care who he spoke to when the girlfriend picked up the phone meant that something very bad had gone down and that the caller really had to get a hold of Justin and I think Justin sort of knew what was going down and that he would be next and that he bravely faced whomever he had to face to prevent getting anyone else involved.

    The only time a man cries like that is when his fellow solider has been killed. That young lady was probably followed right after Justin’s disappearance.

    This happened in the Danny Casalero case where there were shadowy figures of the government involved in a much higher scheme and mistakenly murdered another guy (either as a warning) or truly because they drove the very same type of car.

    Sometimes the CIA will hire rogue soldiers from Nam who have been programmed to take on assassinations.

    Justin was probably at the bottom of something much greater than he and his selected group of fellow soldiers could possibly control.

    Their role was critical, but whomever selected them was a third party within whatever they were doing.

    This case may never be solved because of the involvement of government operatives. It wasn’t some game with some local thugs, or else his body would have been found long ago as well as the others (who I am sure were killed and are missing and that no one has linked the men together with this incident).

    Justin was way over his head, and there may have been torture involved as well (which was the code sentence that “the mission is off”) It may have meant something much more sinister than any mission being “off” I am entirely sure that it meant that one of their own was captured and killed and that each person in his group were next and that the caller also knew his own fate.

    It is too bad that they were never able to obtain phone records for who called Justin (when his girlfriend answered) and where.

    And Justin probably did not feel the need to “hide” because whomever he and his fellow soldier friends were working on or for already knew where he lived.

    He very much wanted to tell his girl friend, but knew that the story would be too incredible for her to explain to anyone and that the government would only deny whatever he told her.

    SO Justin was fortunate to use a movie to give her clues.

    Whoever killed him, also killed those who were working with Justin and Justin knew that if HE did not give himself up, then it was a matter of time before they killed his family and the government or whoever THEY were working with, did not want for there to be attention drawn by murdering entire family members.

    Justin knew that they would only want him and he knowingly came into his death, hence, why he left the dog tags in his wallet.

    He told his girl friend that if ever his dog tags were left behind that he was dead.

    I don’t think that Justin was up to something “bad” but something in which he and his fellow soldiers believed was for the good of the country and that it backfired.

    Whoever it was is tying loose ends and Justin was a “loose end” along with his fellow soldiers.

    He KNEW that this mission could have taken his life and he was preparing his girlfriend for what he knew may happen to him.

    Very sad story.

    Reply

  28. K. Vonnegut

    I think that poor Justin is dead. The sobbing that he was doing alone had to be real and may have suggested that those he was working with were being killed also (the mission is off may have meant that someone that he was working with in this operation died). He probably WAS a courier exchanging arms and was very serious about this. I believe him because if were were trying to pull a fast one on his girlfriend then he would have given her some Hollywood story, which he did not. He ALWAYS told her that he could not talk about it. If he hasn’t been found by now and leaving his wallet with the dog tags inside (he knew that each mission could be his last) and he probably parked that car where it could be found in the event of his death so that at least that his family would know not to look for him. He probably took on his own death knowingly so that his family OR his girlfriend would not be killed for what he was involved in. I also think that the people he was working with were fellow soldiers who got in way too deep for the kind of access that they had and that it was too easy (at that time) to get away with what they were doing, but then, the CIA probably got to him because of what his group knew and who they were working with. It could have been anything government related, but I highly doubt that he was trying to make himself “important”. There was a lot of dirty business going on in government during that time with the arms and weapons and these young men who were clean cut were used in the operation. Perhaps, an operation within an operation. Another option is that when Justin was no longer needed for this “mission” that he was killed to never be found again. This man was very distressed for anything “pretend” and I did watch “White Sands” and it was very throughout-provoking and such things were going on during the time that this film was released. Particularly between Reagan’s era came into the Bush Sr. era. At that time, the US was getting into all sorts of secretive strategies as Bush Sr. was an operative and a major operative in the CIA for many years. These young men, such as Justin, really may have believed that they were doing something for their country and knew the dangers behind what they were elected to do. When the caller did not care who he spoke to when the girlfriend picked up the phone meant that something very bad had gone down and that the caller really had to get a hold of Justin and I think Justin sort of knew what was going down and that he would be next and that he bravely faced whomever he had to face to prevent getting anyone else involved. The only time a man cries like that is when his fellow solider has been killed. That young lady was probably followed right after Justin’s disappearance. This happened in the Danny Casalero case where there were shadowy figures of the government involved in a much higher scheme and mistakenly murdered another guy (either as a warning) or truly because they drove the very same type of car. Sometimes the CIA will hire rogue soldiers from Nam who have been programmed to take on assassinations. Justin was probably at the bottom of something much greater than he and his selected group of fellow soldiers could possibly control. Their role was critical, but whomever selected them was a third party within whatever they were doing. This case may never be solved because of the involvement of government operatives. It wasn’t some game with some local thugs, or else his body would have been found long ago as well as the others (who I am sure were killed and are missing and that no one has linked the men together with this incident). Justin was way over his head, and there may have been torture involved as well (which was the code sentence that “the mission is off”) It may have meant something much more sinister than any mission being “off” I am entirely sure that it meant that one of their own was captured and killed and that each person in his group were next and that the caller also knew his own fate. It is too bad that they were never able to obtain phone records for who called Justin (when his girlfriend answered) and where. And Justin probably did not feel the need to “hide” because whomever he and his fellow soldier friends were working on or for already knew where he lived. He very much wanted to tell his girl friend, but knew that the story would be too incredible for her to explain to anyone and that the government would only deny whatever he told her. SO Justin was fortunate to use a movie to give her clues. Whoever killed him, also killed those who were working with Justin and Justin knew that if HE did not give himself up, then it was a matter of time before they killed his family and the government or whoever THEY were working with, did not want for there to be attention drawn by murdering entire family members. Justin knew that they would only want him and he knowingly came into his death, hence why he left the dog tags in his wallet. He told his girl friend that if ever his dog tags were left behind that he was dead. I don’t think that Justin was up to something “bad” but something in which he and his fellow soldiers believed was for the good of the country and that it backfired. Whoever it was is tying loose ends and Justin was a “loose end” along with his fellow soldiers. He KNEW that this mission could have taken his life and he was preparing his girlfriend for what he knew may happen to him.

    Very sad story.

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