James Lee Haynes

Haynes, circa 1963

  • Missing Since 12/07/1963
  • Missing From Wyoming County, West Virginia
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 08/10/1931 (87)
  • Age 32 years old
  • Height and Weight Unknown
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male.

Details of Disappearance

Haynes was last seen hitchhiking to his parents' home in Saulsville, West Virginia on December 7, 1963.

He was a sergeant in the Army and lived in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and children. He left his family in Maryland while he went home to visit his parents for Christmas, taking presents with him. He never arrived and has never been heard from again.

Authorities searched for him and found his chain nailed to a tree, and his billfold and some bloody rags hidden in a stump, but no sign of Haynes. (There were reports that his Army dog tags were also found; this is incorrect.)

Authorities believe Haynes was murdered by three men on the night of his disappearance; they think he was intentionally struck by a vehicle in Raleigh County, West Virginia and his body buried on Bolt Mountain in Wyoming County.

In 1971 a suspect, William Lundy Trump, was arrested and charged with Haynes's murder. He was later released for lack of evidence. There are two other suspects, James Paul Cozort and James Floyd Cox.

According to police's theory of the crime, the three suspects got into a barroom brawl with Haynes, followed him in their car after he left, and ran him over on Bolt Mountain Road.

The three men allegedly bragged about the crime to others. They said they initially weren't sure whether they'd killed Haynes, so they backed over the body until they were sure he was dead. They put his body in the trunk of their car and buried it on Bolt Mountain.

Cozort was questioned about Haynes's disappearance in 1971, but never charged. He had by then moved to Oregon. Authorities attempted to find Cox after Trump's 1971 arrest but never were able to locate him.

Although authorities don't expect to be able to prosecute anyone in connection with Haynes's disappearance, they would still like to find his remains. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Raleigh County Sheriff's Department 304-443-5262

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 8, 2016; details of disappearance updated.