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UPDATE: New Details Emerge in the 1981 Disappearance of Dale Eugene Kelley

Dale Kelley (Apr 1981)

Last month, I wrote about the disappearance of Dale Eugene Kelley. To refresh your memory, 20-year-old Kelley vanished in May 1981 en route from Carmichael—a Sacramento suburb—to Los Angeles, where he planned to visit his girlfriend. A month later, his car was found abandoned in New Orleans.

As I wrote in October, information about Dale Kelley’s disappearance is so incredibly scarce that it’s hard to identify any of the players involved, or know what and when things happened. I’ve since continued to search local newspaper, phone book, and city directory archives but had yet even a mention of Dale Kelley—or, at least, of this Dale Kelley, as it seems the greater Sacramento area was home to a gaggle of Dale E. Kelleys in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

This week, a Redditor and then-friend of Kelley’s left a rather informative comment my /r/UnresolvedMysteries post.

In its entirety, the friend’s comment read:

I was a friend of Dale’s and can answer all of these questions. First, he cannot be Snake River John Doe, as the physical description of that poor young man rules him out. Dale’s girlfriend was a UCLA Cheerleader, they met in Carmichael before she transferred there. Dale was a student, extremely reliable, totally sane, level headed, and a sweet human being. He was raised military and shared an apartment with his childhood friend (my then-boyfriend) and another guy. His folks lived out of state. I was at school in Chico at the time of his abduction.

Dale was leaving for a long weekend to visit his girlfriend. When he did not arrive as anticipated, she phoned my boyfriend very worried. He called a few friends from the south bay, on the off chance hope he had possibly detoured for a visit. It became obvious something had happened so my boyfriend filed the missing report. My boyfriend called me in Chico to relay this story.

I came up to Sac and we drove down Hwy 5 looking for some evidence of his car, possibly broken down. His other roommate and I took a photo to News 10, it was aired one time on the evening news. His girlfriend and her mother enlisted a number of psychics.

Several weeks later, a letter arrived from City of New Orleans about the car. My boyfriend turned the info in to the detective, who had the car shipped back over to Sac. I shall withold further info about what was in the car and its condition.

Dale did not drive his car to New Orleans, he would not have done that….never been there, knew nobody there, nor would he worry his friends or family. He was not known to have ever picked up a hitchhiker but was [laid] back and likely would respond to someone asking for help. I believe he was carjacked when stopped somewhere or pulled over to help someone who was broken down, abducted, and later killed.

To me, this is proof that the internet can, in fact, be used for both good and evil. Never did I imagine that my dinky little blog post about a 30-years-cold missing persons case would be seen by someone who actually knows something.

I am hoping to speak further with this commenter. In the meantime, the timeline of Kelley’s disappearance becomes that much clearer.

Posted in Crime, Homicides, Missing Persons


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