Karen Louise Wilson

Wilson, circa 1985; Sketch of unknown man; Wilson's ring

  • Missing Since 03/27/1985
  • Missing From Albany, New York
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 02/02/1963 (55)
  • Age 22 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'3, 114 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description Faded blue Levi's jeans, a light blue short-sleeved pullover Izod golf shirt, a three-quarter length cream-colored women's raincoat, white sneakers, a size 5 1/5 fourteen-karat yellow gold ring with a light blue stone (possibly a zircon), a Seiko watch with a black face, plastic earrings and a yellow and white two-strand necklace. A photograph of Wilson's ring is posted with this case summary.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Wilson may wear eyeglasses.

Details of Disappearance

Wilson was last seen in the 1600 block of Central Avenue in Colonie, New York, on March 27, 1985 at approximately 7:20 p.m. She gone to the Colonie Center and bought a red t-shirt and a blue t-shirt in preparation for an upcoming spring break trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She may or may not have gotten a tan at the Tanning Hut; she had booked an appointment, but no one at the salon remembers seeing her there.

Investigators initially believed Wilson got on a bus near the Butcher Block restaurant on Central Avenue and took that to Fuller Avenue, but it was later determined that she could not have gotten on the bus and probably walked to Fuller Avenue instead. Witnesses told authorities that she was spotted there shortly afterwards.

Wilson has never been heard from again. Investigators have been unable to locate the personal belongings that she carried with her on the night of her disappearance; she had a gray cloth pocketbook, a blue nylon wallet with a velcro closure, a green and white plastic bag from Ups N Down, and possibly also a blue knapsack containing a yellow dress.

Authorities believe Wilson probably walked south on Fuller Avenue towards the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, where she was a senior political science major. They think she was abducted somewhere near Six-mile Waterworks, the entrance ramp to Interstate 90 westbound and the Northway.

The night was very dark and the road not heavily traveled, and it would have been possible for a man to pull her into a vehicle in a matter of seconds without having any witnesses. A strange man was seen in the area at around the time Wilson vanished; a sketch of him is posted with this case summary. He has never been identified and is being sought for questioning as a witness, if not a suspect.

Police looked into the possibility that Wilson had possibly traveled to Florida after her disappearance like she planned to, but found no evidence that she ever left New York.

A possible suspect in Wilson's case died in an accidental house fire in 2013. Authorities stated they were never able to directly link the man to Wilson and they didn't think he could have been involved because he reported to work as usual at 4:00 a.m. on March 28, only hours after Wilson vanished.

Another SUNY-Albany student, Suzanne Lyall, disappeared in 1998, thirteen years after Wilson. Her disappearance remains unsolved. Authorities have not found anything to link the two cases, but they stated the circumstances of the women's disappearances were similar.

Wilson's family lived in Plattsburgh, New York in 1985; her father was in the Air Force there. She aspired to a career in the foreign service and had interned at the State Assembly. Her case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • New York State Police
  • Troop G, Loudonville
  • 518-783-3212

Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 15, 2017; clothing/jewelry description updated.