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David Glenn Lewis: What Happened?

When David Glenn Lewis’ wife and 9-year-old daughter came back home from a weekend shopping trip to Dallas on January 31st, 1993, and discovered David missing with freshly made sandwiches in the fridge, they had no indication that across the country David was hours away from being found as an unidentified John Doe. The man had been noticed walking down a Washington highway before being murdered in a hit-and-run.

Though the hit-and-run victim’s identity is now known and his reason for death well-established, questions remain surrounding why David Glenn Lewis headed to Washington that weekend, and many other puzzle pieces regarding David’s last activities continue to be up in the air.


Pic: Lost And Find Blog

Background Of David

David Glenn Lewis was born in Borger, Texas in 1953, the second of two kids to Hershel and Esther Lewis. David graduated from high school in 1972 and from there went to Texas Tech University, where he was an Honours student and graduated with a degree in political science. David continued to Texas Tech University Law School, achieving a doctorate in jurisprudence in 1979.

David practiced as an attorney in Amarillo, Texas, and was a member of the American Bar Association. He wedded his wife Karen in 1981 and their only kid, a daughter, was born a couple of years later. David was a member of a local church, a Sunday School teacher, a member of the director’s board for the Dumas Community Education Advisory Council, and a district chairman involved in the Boy Scouts of America. David was explained to be an affectionate family man and charity volunteer who was close to his parents and brother.


David goes missing

Super Bowl weekend of 1993, David’s wife and daughter headed from their house in Amarillo to Dallas, around 400 miles away, for a weekend of shopping. They departed Amarillo on the 28th of January, leaving David at the house alone for the following couple of days.

It is realized that David was last noticed alive on the 30th of January, but where and by whom has not been disclosed.

On the 31st of January, the day of the Super Bowl match, David’s wife and daughter came back home from Dallas. Expecting to find David waiting for them, they were stunned when the man was nowhere to be found. The tape recorder had been left recording the match, though it had continued to run after the match had completed. Two freshly made sandwiches were discovered in the fridge. David’s wedding ring and watch had been placed on the kitchen counter.

(NB one source claims David’s tape recorder had no pre-set function and so he would have had to manually set it to begin recording on the 31st. I can’t discover another source that verifies this but something to keep in mind)

There were no clues of a battle or anything disturbed in the home that would point towards burglary or foul play. It seemed as though David had just slipped out for a while. Due to the match and the tape recording, David’s wife thought David may have gone to a friend’s home to watch and would return soon.

Nonetheless a day later, on the 1st of February, there is still no clue of David. David’s wife goes to the Amarillo police department to report her spouse missing.


1600 miles away, a body is found

While David’s wife was reporting him missing in Amarillo, at 10:30 pm some 1600 miles away in Yakima County Washington, many people sighted an individual on Route 24 near Moxee, various miles from Yakima Airport (the precise location is doubtful. NB one source claims the person was lying down by the road, while another claims he was walking along the center of the road, but either way, he was somehow along the road in a precarious manner). Motorists turned around to stop other drivers to tell them of the individual, but when they turned back they discovered the individual deceased.

Police reached to discover the body belonged to a middle-aged man. He had been dressed in military-style clothes and work boots. An analysis discovered no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system (from those that were tested for).

Investigators thought him to have been the casualty of an accidental hit-and-run. A Chevrolet Camaro was noticed leaving the scene around the time of his casualty.

The man had not been holding any identification when he was murdered, and his identity was unfamiliar.


Unaware of the finding, the investigation into David’s disappearance proceeds

The day after John Doe’s corpse was found, the 2nd of February, the investigation into David Glenn Lewis’ disappearance in Amarillo heats up when investigators discover David’s car.

The red Ford Explorer had been discovered outside the Potter County Courts Building downtown. Under a mat on the floor, police discovered David’s house and car keys. His checkbook, credit cards, and driving license were inside the car in the normal place David kept them.

With the recovery of these items along with David’s wedding ring and watch which were discovered in his house, none of his private effects were missing. The finding of David’s car and these items have given police no actual answers.

The investigation does, nonetheless, lead police to a fascinating piece of information: sometime before his demise, David had notified his wife that he thought he had been in danger. He wouldn’t, nonetheless, tell his wife any information about the dangers he believed to be on his life or what the reason for the danger was.

David’s family thought his disappearance may have been correlated to his work as an attorney: an angry client or individual who held David accountable for something that occurred as the result of a case and wanted to exact revenge on him. David was due in Dallas a week after his disappearance for a deposition in a conflict-of-interest case between his former law firm and a prosperous client. David had told his dad that he had no intention of covering up any wrongdoings by his former firm and was going to “tell the truth, whoever it hurts”.

These possible leads, nonetheless, went nowhere, and it wasn’t until later that detectives made their most crucial discovery: two plane tickets bought in David’s name around the time of his disappearance.

The first ticket, bought on the 31st, was a ticket from Dallas to Amarillo. Interestingly, this is the exact journey David’s wife and daughter made on the exact day – when they came back home to discover him missing (how the two got home from Dallas themselves is unclear). The second ticket, bought a day later on the 1st of February, was a ticket from Los Angeles International Airport to Dallas. This is the day John Doe’s corpse was discovered in Washington.

The intention behind the plane tickets is unknown, and it has not been disclosed whether they were used. Did David plan to use them? If so, how did he get from his house in Amarillo to Dallas, a 5-hour car journey away? Did he plan to return home from Washington to Texas before he was murdered, using LAX as a stop-over? And if that’s the case, why did he go to Washington in the first place?

With no more leads materializing, the criminal investigation into David’s disappearance was shut after eleven months.

In 2002, police notified the local press that the plane tickets bought in David’s name around the time of his disappearance led them to think David left the home of his own accord and they did not suspect foul play in his case.

No other leads were forthcoming.


An identification, but no real answers

In 2003, ten years after John Doe’s corpse was discovered in Yakima County, a Washington patrol detective named Pat Ditter read a newspaper series entitled ‘Without A Trace’ about missing person cases. Ditter, a stickler for detail and a devoted detective, read in the series about the flaws in missing person investigations and especially shortcomings in the NCIC’s (National Crime Information Center) computer system at the time. Motivated by the feeling that possible identities for anonymous victims may have fallen through the cracks of computer databases, Ditter took to Google and inputted characteristics associated with about a dozen cases hoping to discover missing person cases that matched their descriptions.

Within a week, police ultimately had a breakthrough: a list of likely victims who roughly fitted the description of the Yakima County John Doe. One, in particular, a Doe Network entry for David Glenn Lewis complete with an image of the missing man, caught Ditter’s eye. The picture of David was strikingly related to one Ditter had of the John Doe, though he was put off by the absence of glasses on the John Doe’s corpse.

After looking into evidence discovered alongside John Doe’s corpse, Ditter found out that a pair of glasses had been discovered. Ditter went to access the personal effects found with John Doe’s corpse and was able to discover the glasses, wrapped up in the military-style clothes he had been wearing when he was murdered.

Now believing the relation between John Doe and David Glenn Lewis may be more than a coincidence, Ditter got into connection with Amarillo police. He later sent them items that could be utilized for DNA analysis: one of the boots the victim had been wearing, and a tissue sample preserved since 1993. David’s mum Esther gave her a DNA sample to test against the unidentified man.

In October 2004, eleven years after he went missing, David Glenn Lewis was completely recognized as the deceased man discovered on Route 24, 1600 miles from the house. It is unknown why David would have headed to Washington, and nobody has been able to give any insight into a relationship he may have to the area.


Though John Doe has his name back, numerous questions still circle surrounding what exactly occurred to David Glenn Lewis that weekend and how he ended up in Washington. Though police had stated before his corpse was recognized that they thought David went missing of his own accord, David’s assertions to his wife that he had been in threat, his behavior as a loving family man, and the nature of his job as an attorney have David’s family convinced that he was the victim of abduction or foul play.

Ditter thinks David’s demise on the road in Yakima County to have been an accident rather than suicide.

Nobody can give any explanations as to what would lead David to Washington, a state to which he had no ties. The nature and motivations behind the plane tickets bought in David’s name, too, remain a mystery.


EDIT: u/grannypanties75 has found a 1993 article summarising David’s activities before he left Amarillo here. It talks about $5000 being deposited into David’s account on the 30th and possible airport sightings around these few days.

Timeline of events

28th January 1993

– David’s wife and daughter’s head from their house in Amarillo to Dallas for a weekend shopping trip.

30th January 1993

– David is noticed alive for the final time before he is seen on the road in Washington. Details of who saw him and where have not been made public.

31st January 1993

  • A plane ticket is bought in David’s name from Dallas to Amarillo. Whether this ticket was used, and by who, is unclear.

– David’s wife and daughter come back home from Dallas to discover David nowhere to be seen. The tape recorder is recording the Super Bowl match, but continued recording after it was over. There are two fresh sandwiches in the fridge and David’s wedding ring and watch are on the kitchen counter. David’s wife determines David has gone to watch the Super Bowl match with friends.

1st February 1993

  • A second plane ticket is bought in David’s name, this one traveling from Los Angeles to Dallas. Again, it is hidden if anyone used this ticket.

– With no clue of David still, David’s wife reports him missing in Amarillo.

  • In Yakima County, Washington, motorists claim to notice an individual on Route 24 near Moxee at around 10:30 pm. They turned around to tell other drivers but returned to discover the man dead. A Chevrolet Camaro was noticed leaving the scene. The dead man, who was discovered wearing military clothing, was not recognized. He was found to not have been intoxicated at his time of casualty and all drugs that were tested for were not discovered in his system.

2nd February 1993

  • David’s car, a Ford Explorer, is discovered by investigators parked outside the Potter County Courts Building in Amarillo. David’s private effects, including his keys, credit cards, and driving license, are inside.

2002

  • Police reveal they think no foul play has occurred in David’s case and he vanished voluntarily.

2004

  • A Washington State patrol officer is motivated to use Google to check for possible individualities for the unidentified man found on the road in 1993. He found an image of David that bore a striking similarity to one of the decedents, though David’s glasses were missing. After reading that glasses were discovered at the crime scene, the officer called the Amarillo police with a possible individuality and sent them DNA samples to check against David Glenn Lewis’ family members.
  • The corpse discovered in 1993 is positively recognized as David Glenn Lewis.

Questions that remain:

Why did David leave his house in Texas and travel 1600 miles to Washington? He had no known links to the state. Was he running from an anticipated danger to his life? Was he meeting someone? Did he just want to leave his family? Did he ever plan to return?

How did David get to Washington in the first place? Were the plane tickets brought in his name related to his plans? If so, what is the connection to LA? Had he scheduled to fly home from Washington via there?

What is the importance of David’s attire of military-style clothes and work boots when he was discovered dead?

What was David referring to when he notified his wife that his life had been in danger? Was it related to his work?

Why was David on the road before he was murdered? Did he have a breakdown or other mental health problems that had led to his initial decision to leave home? Was it a suicide attempt?

Was David’s hit-and-run truly an accident, or correlated to the danger he believed himself to be in? Who murdered him?

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