David Earl Whitehurst

Whitehurst, circa 1992

  • Missing Since 04/17/1992
  • Missing From Tampa, Florida
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 06/22/1951 (68)
  • Age 40 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 170 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Whitehurst is an alcoholic.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown/hazel eyes. Whitehurst has a scar on his left eyebrow.

Details of Disappearance

Whitehurst was last seen in Tampa, Florida on the evening of April 17, 1992. He flew out of Vandenberg Airport in a leased plane and has never been heard from again. He left his silver Dodge Stealth at the airport, with his keys and wallet inside it.

Weather conditions in the area were rough at the time of Whitehurst's disappearance, and he was not an experienced pilot, having gotten his license only the month before. His father believes he ran into bad weather and crashed into a remote wooded area. The Civil Air Patrol didn't begin to look for him until April 21, and Whitehurst hadn't filed a flight plan, making search efforts difficult.

There is speculation that Whitehurst either left of his own accord or met with foul play. He owned a debt-collecting business, Continental Recovery Systems, and was having problems with it at the time of his disappearance: he had decided to cancel a pending merger with another company, and he had filed a lawsuit against two former employees.

He was well-known locally and due to the nature of his business, he had many enemies and had been threatened before. Whitehurst's lawyer said that in the weeks before his disappearance, someone had been following him.

Whitehurst was divorced with one teenage son at the time he went missing. Searchers never found any sign of him or his plane, which was a single-engine Piper PA 28-181. The plane is colored beige with brown, orange and white stripes, and the registration number is N4319N.

Whitehurst's case remains unsolved and the circumstances of his disappearance are unclear.

Investigating Agency

  • Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office 813-247-8683

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 18, 2018; two pictures added.