Details of Disappearance Dolores was last seen during on July 31, 1979 at her residence in Woodland, California. Her son says he saw her at 9:30 p.m., sitting in the family room, wearing a nightgown. Her husband, Carl L. Wulff Sr., stated she simply left in the middle of the night while he was asleep. She has never been heard from again. She left behind all her clothing, jewelry, car, keys, eyeglasses and medication.
Authorities do not believe Dolores left of her own accord. Her marriage was troubled in 1979 and the couple was in counseling. Dolores told her family members Carl was drinking heavily and had threatened to kill her.
Carl is the prime suspect in her disappearance. Several strands of hair, blood, a palm print and one Dolores's gold earrings (missing its backing) was found in the trunk of his car after she went missing.
Blood was also found on the outside of the trunk and on the car's side windows. The blood was Dolores's type and Carl admitted it was hers, but said she had had a nosebleed a few days before her disappearance. Carl refused to take a polygraph about her disappearance and, within days of her going missing, he began removing her belongings from the house.
Dolores had left her husband several times in the past. The previous times she went missing, he made efforts to find her, but after her July 1979 disappearance he reportedly acted as if he never expected to see her again. She would usually go to her family when she left Carl, but none of her loved ones have heard from her since 1979.
The Wulffs' two younger children were cared for by Dolores's brother, Mathew Rocha, after she disappeared. They were at Rocha's house on the night Dolores went missing. The Wulffs' two older children were adults living in their own homes by 1979.
Carl alleged the Rocha family harassed him after Dolores's disappearance, trespassed on his property, and threatened him. In 1982, Rocha sued Carl on the behalf of Dolores's youngest child for Dolores's wrongful death. The suit was dropped in 1985, after Carl was charged with his wife's murder.
Carl never went to trial. A judge dismissed the murder charge later in 1985, saying authorities had violated Carl's right to a speedy trial and there was insufficient evidence to prove murder. He was set free.
He died in 2005, having always maintained his innocence in Dolores's case. He said he did not believe his wife was even dead, and suggested she had run away to start life anew under a different identity. Two witnesses testified to seeing Dolores alive after her supposed murder, and she had reportedly discussed with some friends the possibility of running away and getting false identification.
At the time of her disappearance, Dolores was employed as a secretary for Woodland High School. Her case remains unsolved, but foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved.
- Yolo County Sheriff's Office
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 2, 2018; distinguishing characteristics updated.