Details of Disappearance
Doisy was last seen after she left her apartment in the 400 block of Price Avenue in Columbia, Missouri on August 5, 1976. She was accompanied by Johnny Wright at the time of her disappearance. Doisy worked part time as a server at Ernie's Steakhouse, and her coworkers remember that Wright was a regular at the restaurant and repeatedly asked her to go out with him, until she finally agreed.
A photo of Wright is posted below this case summary. He and Doisy were seen drinking at the Heidelberg, a local tavern, the day of Doisy's disappearance. Doisy left her apartment unlocked and her cat unattended inside, and has never been heard from again.
Wright dropped out of sight after Doisy's disappearance, but turned up a few days later in St. Louis, Missouri. He was 32 years old in 1976, and had an arrest record for a dozen crimes including rape, burglary, assault and drug possession, and investigators believe he was responsible for at least four rapes in the Columbia area. He was interviewed by police and given a lie detector test, which he failed.
In November 1985, authorities issued a warrant for Wright's arrest for second-degree murder. They did this on the strength of a statement from Wright's former roommate, Harry Moore, who said Wright had showed him Doisy's body, covered by a blanket and stuffed in the back of Wright's blue 1972 Toyota, and that Wright told him he'd "offed" her. Her body has never been found. Moore was initially charged as an accessory in Doisy's murder, but the charge was dropped after he gave his statement.
Wright's whereabouts were unknown at the time the warrant was issued and he remained a fugitive until September 2009, when he was arrested in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He was caught after he asked the police to perform a criminal background check on him so he could apply for a job.
In the intervening years between the time he left Missouri and the time of his arrest, Wright lived in Washington state, Texas and Georgia, married and raised a family. He used the name Errol Rodney Edwards and had a driver's license under that name. In Georgia in 2007, his license was canceled because the name did not match the Social Security number. He eventually got a new license under his real name.
Although his defense argued that the case against him was circumstantial and weak, Wright was convicted of Doisy's murder in January 2010 and sentenced to the maximum of 30 years in prison. He died of natural causes in January 2015, still incarcerated.
Doisy graduated from Kirkwood High School. She completed three years of a bachelor's degree in education at the University of Missouri before she decided to drop out and work. Her loved ones describe her as a sensitive, independent woman and a dedicated fiction writer with an active social life and a wide variety of friends. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved. Her body has never been found.
Above: Johnny Wright in 2009