Dennis Lee Reynolds

Reynolds, circa 1978

  • Missing Since 02/04/1978
  • Missing From Litchfield, Illinois
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 24 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'0 - 6'2, 160 -180 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A denim jacket and blue jeans.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Reynolds has a cleft palate. He wears eyeglasses.

Details of Disappearance

Reynolds was last seen in Litchfield, Illinois on February 4, 1978. He disappeared during a catastrophic blizzard that struck the area during the second-worst winter in the recorded history of Illinois, with 100-mile-per-hour wind gusts and a wind chill at sixty degrees below zero.

Because of the severe weather, airports, businesses and schools throughout central Illinois were closed indefinitely, mail service stopped, and police, ambulance and fire services were often unable to reach people in need of help. The National Guard was called in to assist with the situation. 24 people in Illinois died inside their stranded vehicles, and three men, Reynolds included, disappeared.

On the day he went missing, snow began falling at 2:00 p.m. and by evening temperatures were below zero. Reynolds and his best friend went to a bar. Afterwards, Reynolds took his friend home and said he was going to go visit his girlfriend. He has never been heard from again.

His girlfriend was not at home that night. After his disappearance, Reynolds's car was found abandoned in a snow-filled ditch across the street from his girlfriend's house, its doors locked, its windows broken. Reynolds's jacket was still inside it. He had apparently tried to walk to a nearby residence, about 100 feet away, to get help.

Prior to his disappearance, Reynolds had been in a dispute with the two brothers of a girl he dated. At one point, about six months before he went missing, Reynolds was in a fight with the brothers and they beat him with a baseball bat and he had to be hospitalized for his injuries. The brothers reportedly threatened to kill Reynolds if he went near their sister again. One of them passed a polygraph about his case, but the second brother, and the girlfriend, refused to take one.

Reynolds drank alcohol and was involved with drugs at the time of his disappearance, but his family stated he was close to them and they don't believe he would have simply walked away, particularly during the severe weather. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Litchfield Police Department 217-324-5991

Source Information

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 15, 2019; casefile added.