Details of Disappearance Wiles was last seen at his place of work, the Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida, at 6:30 p.m. on April 1, 2008. He has never been heard from again.
His parents in Ohio received a ransom note for him two days after his disappearance, signed "Group X." It was emailed to them and demanded $750,000. Wiles's father had purchased kidnapping insurance for his company for exactly that amount back in 2006.
Wiles's parents followed the note's instructions and left the money in a box outside his office, but no one came to collect it. Wiles wasn't located and the alleged abductors didn't contact his parents again.
Wiles lived in an apartment on east Charles Street at the time of his disappearance. A neighbor stated Wiles normally kept the apartment neat and orderly, but when authorities searched it after his apparent abduction, it was in disarray, with papers strewn on the stairs and the cushions pulled off the couch.
Ransom kidnappings, particularly ones involving adult victims, are very rare in the United States. Police looked into the possibility that Wiles staged his own abduction, but there is no evidence to support this theory.
At the time of his disappearance, Wiles was employed as the business development manager and salesman for his family's business, National Flight Services, an aircraft service company based in Toledo, Ohio.
The business, which does maintenance and repair work for large aircraft, has over 100 employees and branches in San Antonio, Texas and in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as well as in Lakeland.
Wiles traveled frequently for his job; he's been to nine cities in Florida, three U.S. states, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Thailand. Authorities followed some international leads in his disappearance.
In December 2009, police announced they'd arrested Stobert Lindell "Toby" Holt Jr. for first-degree murder, kidnapping, extortion and and writing threats to kill or do bodily harm in Wiles's case.
A photo of Holt is posted with this case summary. He formerly worked as an operation manager for the Lakeland office of National Flight Services, and he was the last person to see Wiles before his disappearance.
Authorities later determined the alibi he gave was false and he also lied when he said he didn't have any guns in his car. The evening of Wiles's disappearance, according to credit card records, Holt purchased plastic sheeting and two rolls of duct tape. Those items could be used to conceal a body.
Holt was acquitted of kidnapping and first-degree murder in January 2012, but convicted of manslaughter, extortion and writing threats to kill or to do bodily harm. In March, he was sentenced to thirty years in prison. He maintains his innocence in Wiles's disappearance.
Wiles was born in Ohio, but moved to Florida as a toddler and grew up in the city of Melbourne. He returned to Ohio to attend Bowling Green State University (BGSU), but didn't graduate. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order while attending BGSU.
He is a licensed pilot with multi-engine instrument ratings; he obtained his license while attending high school at the Florida Air Academy, a private school that offers flight training to its students. His parents describe him as an athletic man who enjoys diving and fishing.
Foul play is suspected in his disappearance due to the circumstances involved.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Tampa, Florida Office
Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 17, 2012; details of disappearance updated.