Details of Disappearance
Chance and his father, Lee Wackerhagen
, disappeared from Lockhart, Texas on December 26, 1993. Lee and Chance's mother, Gaye Williams, had divorced three years earlier and Williams had custody.
Chance left his mother's Kingsville, Texas home on December 17 to spend the Christmas holidays with his father. The child last spoke to Williams on Christmas Day, asking for permission to stay a few days longer with Lee. She says he sounded happy and was excited about his Christmas presents. Williams gave him permission to stay longer and told him to call her later to set up a time to return home. She never heard from Chance again.
The day after Christmas, Lee and Chance were seen eating dinner at a restaurant in town. They appeared to be happy and having a good time. Neither of them have ever been seen or heard from again.
Latricia Gail White, Lee's live-in girlfriend, was found murdered in their apartment on December 27; authorities believe she had been killed in her sleep the day earlier, sometime after the Wackerhagens were seen eating at the restaurant. She had been shot six times in the head with a .22 caliber revolver.
There were no indications of a struggle at the crime scene and nothing appeared to be missing, but Lee and Chance were nowhere to be found. Investigators did find Chance's footprint in the blood at the crime scene, indicating he was there either when the murder happened or shortly afterwards.
A photo of White is posted with this case summary. She was 38 years old, recently divorced, had two children and worked as a nurse at Central Texas Medical Center at the time of her death.
Lee's green 1986 Ford pickup truck was found abandoned in a field in east Austin, Texas at 1:00 a.m., three days after White's murder. Inside the truck authorities found Lee's hunting rifle, which hadn't been fired. They also found his checkbook, his wallet, a toolbox, a spare tire and some bloodstained Christmas gifts, some of them unopened. The blood was originally thought to be White's, but testing proved it wasn't her blood type. There was not enough blood present to indicate a life-threatening injury.
Four months after Lee and Chance disappeared, Chance's maternal grandfather got an anonymous phone call at his home. The caller said "help me" and then the line went dead. Chance's grandfather believes the call was from his grandson, but this hasn't been confirmed and the call was never traced.
Authorities initially believed Lee had murdered White and fled with Chance; Lee reportedly had a violent temper and was jealous and suspicious of White and the couple had frequent, fierce arguments. Williams said she was also a victim of abuse from Lee and said she was frightened of him.
The FBI issued warrants for his arrest on charges of murder, interference with custody and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The warrants remained active for the next 25 years, but there was no sign of either Lee or his son. Lee had no prior criminal record, and Williams stated that although he had been abusive towards her, she didn't believe he would have harmed Chance. Lee's friends also did not believe he would have killed White or harmed his son.
In the spring of 2016, authorities reopened the case and announced they had evidence that both Lee and Chance were victims of foul play. There has been no indication of their whereabouts since 1993.
Investigators believe White's murder was probably a crime of passion committed by someone who had a close relationship with one or more of the victims. Lee is now considered a missing person and possible homicide victim rather than a fugitive. He worked as a truck driver at the time of his disappearance, and had previously been a backhoe operator.
White's murder remains unsolved and the search for Lee and Chance continues.