[SIZE=1]I saw this on E's Hollywood Secrets and had to look it up.[/SIZE]
Missing screenwriter's vehicle found in Mojave Desert canal
[SIZE=1]July 9, 1998
Web posted at: 1:24 a.m. EDT (0524 GMT)[/SIZE]
PALMDALE, California (CNN) -- A year after a screenwriter vanished on a drive across the Mojave Desert, authorities dragged a California canal on Wednesday and found a submerged Ford Explorer and what they presume are the remains of the missing writer.
Screenwriter Gary DeVore, 55. author of the thrillers "Running Scared" and "Sudden Death" as well as several other films, vanished on June 28, 1997, while driving from New Mexico to his home in Carpinteria on the Santa Barbara County coast.
"We're confident we have located Mr. DeVore's vehicle," said Santa Barbara County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Burridge. However, he said they couldn't immediately say if the remains were DeVore's until dental records were checked.
The discovery of his vehicle was prompted by a bizarre development in a case that has yielded few clues for investigators trying to solve the mystery since DeVore disappeared last year.
Authorities acted on the lead of amateur detective Douglas Crawford, who formed a hypothesis based on newspaper articles about the anniversary of DeVore's death and another article about a freak 1995 accident that caused a car to plunge into the same aqueduct where DeVore's vehicle was found.
Before his disappearance, DeVore had spent four days near Santa Fe, New Mexico, working on a script at the home of family friend Marsha Mason before he disappeared.
According to credit card receipts, DeVore refueled in Fenner, 35 miles west of Needles, on Interstate 40, after leaving New Mexico.
Crawford deduced that DeVore had a 350-mile range of travel and was heading toward home because he spoke with his wife of just 18 months on the phone while passing through Barstow, California, in the Mojave Desert.
Speculating that DeVore fell asleep while driving and his vehicle rolled over the guard rail and into the murky aqueduct, Crawford visited the site Friday and found parts of a Ford Explorer. The area in north Los Angeles County is where the highway crosses the aqueduct and San Andreas Fault before quickly rising up into the rugged Angeles National Forest.
Crawford contacted DeVore's publicist, Michael Sands, and investigators about his hypothesis.
"I am devastated and I feel so for his family and wife," Mason said by telephone Wednesday. 'I want to know who he is'
DeVore's wife, Wendy, originally speculated that her husband had been abducted and was suffering from amnesia, and some friends had said he ran away from a sagging career and troubles with the Internal Revenue Service. His wife is still not convinced his death was an accident and has serious questions about Crawford.
"I want to know how the hell he knew, and I want to know who he is," she told KEYT-TV. "And I want to know why if he was interested in that information he didn't come forward far, far sooner," she said.
Mrs. DeVore said her last conversation with her husband was unusual and she wonders if someone was with him when he made the phone call. "I wonder if he was killed and they drove the car over the thing," she said.
Police divers found the Explorer's hood and then the truck 12 to 15 feet under water in an upright position.
Burridge said it was too early to know what caused the Ford to end up in the aqueduct or the cause of death. But he said amateur detective work was not suspicious. "It's all information that's been in the press," he said.
Crawford told KFMB-TV in San Diego that even though his detective work was on target, he doesn't feel like a hero.
"I feel like a suspect," he said. "That's the way I got treated by police."