Richard Willis Bendele

Bendele, circa 1996; Truck similar to Bendele's

  • Missing Since 11/17/1996
  • Missing From Blaine County, Idaho
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 08/18/1967 (52)
  • Age 29 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'11, 170 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, green eyes. Bendele may have a mustache. His nickname is Rick.

Details of Disappearance

Bendele was last seen hunting pheasants in the Laidlaw Park, Idaho area on November 17, 1996. He called his mother at 6:00 p.m. to say his blue pickup truck had stalled on a remote desert road. Although the vehicle had gas, it wouldn't start. Bendele couldn't provide specific directions to the truck and said he was going to try to mark the road and would call his mother back.

He has never been heard from again, and his truck was discovered abandoned near the Laidlaw Corral area north of Rupert, Idaho shortly after his disappearance. His coat and shotgun were inside it, and the truck's battery was broken and tipped upside down.

A photo of a similar vehicle is posted with this case summary. An extensive search of the area turned up no other evidence except one shoe and two right-hand gloves.

Bendele worked in a supervisory position at the J.R. Simplot Co. in Heyburn, Idaho when he disappeared. His hobbies include hunting and fishing. He was going through a divorce and living with a girlfriend in Burley, Idaho; his two children lived with their mother.

Although Benedele previously abused alcohol and drugs, his mother stated he'd turned his life around by the time of his disappearance. He didn't have any money or extra clothes when he went missing, although he did have a cellular phone. Authorities suspect he may have been taken against his will.

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 23, 2019; two pictures added, details of disappearance updated.