Details of Disappearance
Kenyon disappeared from the parking lot of Coral Gables High School, where she worked teaching special needs children, at 3:00 p.m. on March 5, 1984. She spoke to the security guard, then drove away in her car, a Chrystler convertible. She didn't arrive home at her apartment on Ives Dairy Road, her roommate was not worried at first and assumed she had gone to visit her parents in Pompano Beach, Florida, thirty miles up the coast. Kenyon was carrying a duffel bag containing workout clothes and a curling iron when she vanished; she left behind her purse.
A Shell gasoline station attendant in Coral Gables, Florida who often sold fuel to Kenyon recalled seeing her on March 8. He said she had been driving her car, but had been talking to a man who drove a Cadillac Eldorado. They seemed to be conversing about someone taking Kenyon's picture, and Kenyon told the station attendant that she was going to the airport. The man with the Eldorado paid for her gasoline and they drove off together. Kenyon has never been heard from again.
Kenyon was not reported missing until she failed to show up for work the next day. Her car was found abandoned at Miami International Airport on March 11, six days after her disappearance. Kenyon did not have plans to travel and had not packed to go anywhere, and her name was not listed on any recent flights going out of Miami. Her family says it is extremely uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning.
Kenyon is a former fashion model, who won the Orange Bowl Princess title in 1982 and was a finalist in a Miss Florida contest. Christopher Wilder almost immediately became a suspect in her disappearance. Photos of Wilder are posted with this case summary. The gas station attendant identified him from a photograph as the man last seen with Kenyon. Wilder, who is a native of Australia, has been linked to at least a dozen disappearances, rapes, murders and/or attacks of women in the early to mid-1980s, including the disappearances of Mary Opitz
, Rosario Gonzales
and Tammy Leppert
Wilder sometimes attempted to lure young female victims by offering non-existent "modeling sessions" or other tactics, and he knew Kenyon. They had dated a few times and he had even proposed marriage to her, but she turned him down because she thought he was too old for her. Wilder was put on probation in 1980 after pleading guilty to attempted sexual battery towards a teenage girl. While on a visit home to Australia that same year, he was charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting two teenage girls. His parents bailed him out of jail and he flew back to the United States, promising to return for his trial which was set for April 1984.
Wilder, when initially questioned by police about Kenyon's disappearance, said he had not seen her in over a month. However, two gas station attendants claim to have seen Wilder with Kenyon on the day of her disappearance. In addition, Wilder knew where Kenyon's car was before this information was released to the press.
Wilder went on a killing spree later in 1984 where he traveled across the United States, abducting, raping, torturing, and killing women along the way. He was killed in a struggle with police officers in New Hampshire in the late spring of 1984 and died without ever divulging what he might have known about Kenyon's disappearance. She is a graduate of the University of Miami and was the coach of the cheerleading squad at Coral Gables High School. Her parents are now deceased. Her case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved.