Laura Ann Johnson

Laura, circa 1990

  • Missing Since 05/05/1990
  • Missing From Palatine, Illinois
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 07/21/1965 (54)
  • Age 24 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6, 120 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A blue denim skirt or dress, a pink sweater, and pink high heels.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, brown eyes. Laura has a five- to six-inch surgical scar on her left lower forearm. She has four tattoos: a sunburst with a bird on her upper right arm, a red rose on the lower left side of her abdomen, a rose on her left outer ankle and a scroll with a ladybug on her left breast. Laura's maiden name is Desecki. Her ears are pierced and she has previously fractured her left forearm.

Details of Disappearance

Laura's husband, David Johnson, dropped her off at the Billy Club bar on north Vail Avenue in Arlington, Illinois at approximately 10:30 p.m. on May 4, 1990. (The establishment is now called Harry's of Arlington). The couple were regulars at the club.

David returned to their residence in the 20 block of south Highland Avenue in Arlington Heights to care for their two children. Laura left the Billy Club at closing time and eventually visited the Hob Nob lounge near Northwest Highway and Palatine Road in Palatine, Illinois during the evening. She was accompanied by a group of unidentified friends at the time.

Witnesses said that Laura spoke with an unidentified Caucasian male with brown hair and a mustache. Witnesses told authorities that the man spoke with a southern accent and claimed to be a truck driver from Memphis, Tennessee. He was approximately 5'8 to 5'10 tall and appeared to be in his mid-to-late twenties. He had dark hair and a mustache.

Laura was last seen at approximately 4:00 a.m. on May 5. She and the man were walking to the rear of the club's parking lot at the time of her disappearance. Laura never returned home and has not been heard from again. She was carrying some money at the time of her disappearance, but she left her purse at home.

David did not report his wife as a missing person for two days; he stated he thought she was with friends. He told authorities that Laura occasionally stayed out late, but said it was uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning, and he didn't think she would have abandoned their two daughters. The older child was a toddler in 1990 and the other was an infant.

The Johnsons had had marital problems in the past, and after her older daughter was born Laura briefly left David and moved back in with her parents, but they reconciled.

Investigators said that there was no evidence suggesting David was involved in her case, but he has never been eliminated as a possible suspect. Authorities said that he appeared nonchalant when reporting Laura's disappearance and never maintained contact with investigators.

David relinquished custody of their children to Laura's mother in Wisconsin three months after her disappearance. He eventually moved to Savannah, Georgia, but he did not maintain contact with Laura's family or his daughters and his current whereabouts are unknown.

David refused to take a polygraph exam, but he has never been charged in connection with his wife's case. Investigators had been summoned to the couple's home as the result of two domestic disturbances prior to May 1990. Authorities said that the incidents did not indicate signs of marital discord.

Laura is described as an extrovert who was close with her children. She and David previously lived in Arizona before relocating to Illinois in 1988. Authorities stated Laura was devoted mother who changed her lifestyle for the better after the birth of her children, and there is no evidence that she was involved with another man.

Laura's case remains unsolved and she is presumed deceased.

Investigating Agency

  • Arlington Heights Police Department
  • 847-577-5622
  • 847-368-5300

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 24, 2010; picture added.