Clifford Leon Herl

Herl, circa 2005

  • Missing Since 03/20/2005
  • Missing From Trego County, Kansas
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 02/21/1977 (42)
  • Age 28 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'2, 280 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Brown hair, green eyes. Herl may have a full beard or a goatee. He wears eyeglasses. His shoe size is 16. He goes by his middle name, Leon.

Details of Disappearance

Herl was last seen in Trego County, Kansas on March 20, 2005. He resided with a roommate in Tyrone, Oklahoma at the time and was supposed to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a job interview, but he apparently went camping at Cedar Bluff Reservoir in northwest Kansas instead.

The campground is in the opposite direction from Tulsa. Other campers who saw Herl there and stated he was acting oddly. He has never been heard from again.

Herl's pickup truck was reported as abandoned and was impounded by authorities on March 21. The vehicle was about two miles away from the reservoir and one of its windows was broken.

Police also found his camping equipment, clothing, wallet, driver's license, and Social Security card, along with a shredded note inside the truck. Herl wrote that something bad had happened and he was afraid to tell authorities, and that he wanted to change the old things in his life to new ones.

Some accounts said the note indicated suicide, but police have stated there is no evidence that Herl is dead.

In the months after Herl disappeared, there were several break-ins at cabins at and around Cedar Bluff Reservoir. Authorities stated that the individual(s) appeared to have stayed in the cabins for several days, ate stored food and used the toilet facilities. Handwriting similar to Herl's was found on some papers in one of the cabins, but it has not been established that he was the trespasser.

An abandoned erect tent was found three-quarters of a mile from Herl's truck after his disappearance; inside were some "bizarre" letters addressed to Satan. There is no proof that Herl wrote the letters, but authorities are considering that possibility.

Herl was formerly employed at the Southwest Daily Times newspaper in Liberal, Kansas. He was fired shortly before his disappearance after he suddenly stopped coming to work and gave no explanation for his absence. Herl's loved ones stated that his behavior changed drastically before he disappeared; he was formerly a conscientious worker and had been promoted in 2004.

A week after his termination, the newspaper office was burglarized. There was no sign of forced entry, indicating that the burglar(s) knew the door's security code. The crime remains unsolved and it is unclear whether it has anything to do with Herl's disappearance.

Foul play has not been ruled out in Herl's case. Authorities believe he may be in trouble and they are concerned for his safety. He may have been sighted in Lamar, Kansas in September 2005. His case remains unsolved. Lamar police are assisting the investigation.

Investigating Agency

  • Kansas Bureau of Investigation 620-792-4354
  • Lamar Police Department 716-336-1352

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 20, 2005; casefile added.