Updated: Sep 23, 2022
Dale Duane Williams was born on July 15, 1956. He was a longtime resident of Nucla, Colorado in Montrose County. He was a dedicated father to two teenage girls, a husband to Diana Williams, a devoted community leader, and a successful business owner. Dale owned a body shop called "Dale's Pro Body Shop", he owned a Showtime Movie Rentals his wife managed, and several other buildings and businesses in Nucla. Dale was described by many as friendly and willing to help anyone.
On May 27, 1999 Dale was working at his body shop. A family friend, Pastor Tom Ross and his son, placed him there. The pastor and his son had stopped by Dale's shop to have him replace the windshield on their church van. Dale mentioned to them that he had a busy day ahead, however Pastor Tom Ross said he had enough time after fixing the windshield to play a game of darts with them. The pastor says while they were playing Dale received a call, he believed from a woman, asking Dale for assistance. The caller explained they were stranded on a remote stretch of highway, about three quarters of a mile east of a country store in Bedrock, Colorado. Dale offered to bring his wrecker to assist the caller, however they told him they needed something simple, "just a jump". Dale told the pastor he was going to help the motorist and soon got into his pickup truck and left the shop. Pastor Tom Ross would later say,
"I did feel it was odd they called Dale for assistance. But, at the same time, Dale was willing to go and help someone if they were broken down. We said our good-byes at the shop door. That was the last time I saw Dale Williams."
On his way to help the stranded motorist Dale stopped by his friend's house and spoke to his friend's wife, Tami Lowrance. Tami says Dale stopped by and relayed to her that he was too busy to fix their windshield until the next Wednesday, he also mentioned the motorist he was on the way to try to help. She would later comment she thought it was weird that he would stop by in person to tell her this and not just call; she said she wondered if Dale was apprehensive about going to help the motorist and maybe that was the real reason he stopped by.
That was the last time Tami Lowrance saw Dale Williams.
That day around noon Diana Williams says she called her husband's body shop to inquire what he was doing for lunch. She did not receive an answer and assumed he was busy. That evening Dale did not return home for dinner; at first his wife believed he was just busy at the body shop and wasn't extremely worried. However, later that evening she called the body shop once again. Once again there was no answer. Diana would tell police
“I called the shop a couple of times and no answer. So I thought, ‘Well, maybe he just didn’t hear the phone ’cause he’s using the air ratchets or something. I went to bed about 10, I laid there and I felt like something’s wrong. I tossed and turned all night, woke up several times and he still wasn’t home.”
Upon waking the next morning Diana says she was horrified to find her husband had not made it home at all the night before.
She went to Dale's mother's house, asking her if she had seen Dale; however, her mother-in-law had not seen him either. They went up to Dale's body shop where they found the front door unlocked, the hood propped up on a van and tools strewn around the van. It appeared Dale was in the middle of fixing the van when he walked out of the body shop. There was no real evidence he had ever returned to the body shop the day before. Dale's wife Diana and his mother began inquiring around town, they looked for him at junkyards and other places he was known to frequent. However after several hours of looking and not finding anything they alerted authorities.
Authorities learned of the call from the stranded motorist pretty quickly, and figured Dale had either accidentally ran off the road somewhere or possibly became stranded himself on his return to work. They drove the 25 miles between his body shop and the location the caller gave, however they found no sign of his truck or of Dale along the route. Rumors started and witnesses came forward saying they actually saw Dale's truck parked at his body shop at 1:30 PM the day he went missing. Which, if true, would mean Dale's truck was returned to the body shop parking lot within 90 minutes of him receiving the call asking for help. Other witnesses came forward and said they saw Dale that evening between 5 and 6 pm in a neighboring town buying soda in a general store. Those sightings have never been confirmed, but it was noted that the witnesses were longtime residents who were trustworthy and who knew Dale.
Within days of his disappearance Dale's wife Diana and his family had printed "Missing" flyers to hang up at the post office, and around the town of Nucla. However, after hanging up the flyers Diana was dismayed to see all of them torn down. She proceeded to hang up more flyers, which were again all torn down within the next couple of days. This prompted the local police to place hidden surveillance cameras around the post office. The police were able to capture images, and identify who was tearing down the posters. There were shocked to learn it was actually a longtime family friend of Dale and Diana.
Diana wasn't as surprised to learn it was their former friend. She told police the two families had a falling out about a year prior. The man and his wife were going through a nasty divorce and Diana and Dale assisted the wife in moving out of state without their friend's knowledge. This upset the man, and he demanded to know where his wife was. Dale and Diana refused to tell him where they had taken her, and just a month later Dale and Diana would be the target of several strange incidents.
One morning as Dale was walking into his body shop he noticed something on the ground. As he got closer he realized it was pictures shredded and strewn in front of his business. The pictures were of Dale and Diana, and the man and his ex-wife. These pictures were stolen from inside Dale's shop, torn up, and scattered on the ground in front of the shop. Among the pieces of the pictures Dale also saw several .22 caliber bullets scattered on the ground.
Just a few nights later, at the Showtime Movie Rental Diana managed, she made a very scary discovery in the night drop box; a .22 caliber revolver. Dale and Diana would later realize like the pictures the gun had been stolen from Dale's body shop. This scared Diana considerably, however, Dale told her not to worry about it, that things would eventually settle down and everything would be ok. He told her he believed it was meant to scare him more than anything else. Although, when Dale went missing Diana couldn't help but think maybe this friend was still holding a grudge that even a year later they still wouldn't disclose the location of his ex-wife.
Police questioned this friend about the burglaries at the time, which he denied having any involvement in. Police questioned him once again after catching him tearing down the "Missing" flyers, and said the man said he had an alibi for that day, which police said they were able to "mostly confirm".
6 weeks after Dale went missing, on July 4, 1999 a family was swimming where the San Miguel and Dolores rivers meet in Unaweep Canyon in Montrose County, Colorado. They came across Dale's truck submerged under 13 feet of water. The family alerted authorities, who retrieved the truck and quickly traced it back to Dale. Any hope, however, that this would be the break in the case they were waiting for was soon extinguished; upon examining the truck they found no evidence of Dale and no sign of what may have happened to him. Strangely, they discovered a metal toolbox that had been bolted on the back of Dale's truck missing from the wreckage. They eventually located several tools and the lid of the toolbox. They found the lid downstream and the tools near Bedrock, Colorado. Dive teams searched both rivers but found no other trace of Dale. There were also several abandoned mines in the area; police searched the mines and also found nothing relating to Dale or his disappearance.
Police eventually showed Diana photographs of Dale's truck and she instantly told police she believed someone else was driving Dale's truck last; not her husband. Diana was led to this conclusion because of the window on the driver's side, she explained Dale always drove with the window either all the way up or all the way down, however in the photographs she pointed out the windows were rolled halfway down. Police were inclined to agree with Diana that someone else was driving Dale's truck that day. An analysis of the truck and the scene gave police a few clues; the truck's ignition was on, the truck was in a low gear, and the highway ran parallel to the river. Police noted the angle of the highway in relation to the river would force someone to make an abrupt, very sharp turn to end up in the river from the highway. However, police found no skid marks, instead the tire marks they found indicated the truck had slowly rolled from the top of the embankment down into the river. Debris found in the cab of the truck seemed to indicate it had been there since the day Dale disappeared.
Police remain perplexed as to who the caller was that day. They traced the number back to a cell phone that was reportedly stolen. They were never able to locate anyone who saw the interaction between Dale and the motorist. No one ever came forward saying they were the one who made the call. No more evidence has been collected since police found his truck in 1999. Dale Williams' daughters have come forward recently and garnered new interest and attention for their father's case. This prompted the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to make a statement in 2019 and ask the public for help once again. They are specifically looking for information relating to the identity of the stranded motorist that called Dale asking for help the day he went missing. There has been no new announcements or updates on the case.
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