Richard Emanuel Lawrence

Lawrence, circa 1986

  • Missing Since 02/28/1986
  • Missing From Tacoma, Washington
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race Black
  • Date of Birth 07/12/1922 (97)
  • Age 63 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0, 125 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black knee-length fur coat, a white shirt, a tie, a black Russian-type hat and size 5 dress shoes.
  • Medical Conditions Lawrence suffered from a heart attack a year before his disappearance and he wore a pacemaker as a result. He had also experienced several bouts of memory loss. He was depressed over the state of his health and may have been suicidal.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics African-American male. Black hair, brown eyes. Lawrence wears black-rimmed eyeglasses. The right lens is a prescription lens, and the left is plain glass.

Details of Disappearance

Lawrence was last seen in Tacoma, Washington on February 28, 1986. He and his wife left their home in Portland, Oregon to attend a three-day meeting of the Pacific Northwest District Council of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. He and his wife checked into the Apple Inn.

Lawrence may have been confused at the time. At 5:00 p.m. on the second day of the conference, he left the hotel to get gas for his car and never returned.

Two months later, on April 28, his truck was found abandoned and out of gas on a logging road in Vader, Washington, eighty miles south of Tacoma. Inside was a February 28 copy of the Oregonian newspaper, and a note reading, "Will pick up car tonight or tomorrow."

There was no sign of Lawrence at the scene and an extensive search turned up no indication of his whereabouts, although two witnesses reported seeing a man matching his description on the logging road on February 28. The man didn't indicate he was in need of assistance.

Authorities believe Lawrence may have been trying to get home to Portland and possibly became lost. He had gotten lost driving around Tacoma the day before he vanished, and had gotten lost in his hometown of Portland two weeks prior to that.

His wife theorized he picked up a ride from a passing motorist in Vader and was taken out of the area, but a private detective hired by the family believes Lawrence died somewhere within five miles of where he left his car. He was declared legally dead in 1987. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Tacoma Police Department 253-591-5993

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 13, 2011; casefile added.