Craig Lee White

White, circa 1990; Jesse Watkins in 2009

  • Missing Since 02/23/1990
  • Missing From Middle Township, New Jersey
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Age 18 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6 - 5'7, 130 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description Black sweatpants, a black and gray Adidas sweatshirt, a gray jacket, a black knit Raiders cap and work boots.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American male. Black hair, brown eyes.

Details of Disappearance

White was last seen in Middle Township, New Jersey at 6:00 p.m. on February 23, 1990. He was lifting weights at his residence in the 400 block of Washington Avenue when his cousin, Jesse E. Watkins, came over and asked White to go to the woods and help him cut poles. A photograph of Watkins is with  below this summary. White agreed to go with him, and the men left together in Watkins's new maroon pickup truck.

White said he would be back shortly, but he has never been heard from again. He left his room unlocked and music playing, and he left personal belongings behind. He also had a one-year-old son, and his loved ones stated it would be uncharacteristic of him to abandon the child. His mother waited a week before reporting him missing.

Watkins gave inconsistent stories as to where he last saw White. In 2007, he was charged with White's murder. Authorities believe jealousy was the motive; in late 1989, Watkins found out White had been seeing his girlfriend. Several family members had warned White to stay away from Watkins prior to his disappearance.

Watkins allegedly told another girlfriend he had killed White. He supposedly said he hit him with a brick, shot him and threw this body in a river. A male friend of Watkins claims they once discussed the best way to dispose of a body and suggested weighing it down with a cement block and throwing it into a river.

At Watkins's trial in 2009, the prosecution called witnesses who testified they heard Watkins confess to White's murder on several occasions. The stories he supposedly told them contradicted each other. Watkins's attorney said there was no evidence White is even dead, and called witnesses who believe they saw him alive after his February 1990 disappearance.

White was facing drug charges at the time of his disappearance, which could have given him a reason to drop out of sight. However, he had always made his court appearances before, and his mother stated he had never had a driver's license and rarely traveled far from home. Watkins was convicted of first-degree murder in February 2009.

White dropped out of Middle Township High School in the tenth grade. He later worked for C & C Sanitation and at a bus garage, but he was unemployed at the time of his disappearance. Foul play is suspected in White's case due to the circumstances involved. Investigators are searching for his body.

Investigating Agency

  • Cape May County Prosecutor's Office

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 13, 2018; picture added.