Wilfred F. King III

King, circa 1980

  • Missing Since 10/24/1980
  • Missing From Essex, Vermont
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 04/22/1943 (74)
  • Age 37 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'3 - 5'5, 130 - 140 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description An inexpensive wristwatch and a belt with a silver dollar buckle engraved with the years 1776-1976.
  • Medical Conditions Wilfred was struck by a car and severely injured two years prior to his disappearance, and needed metal crutches to walk. His crutches have since been located.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Wilfred's nickname is Butch. He has dimples on both cheeks.

Details of Disappearance

Wilfred was last seen by his father, leaving his residence on Jericho Road in Essex, Vermont at 7:00 p.m. on October 24, 1980. He has never been heard from again.

A few days later, the same day he was reported missing, hunters found Wilfred's bloodstained crutches in the woods off Middle Road in Colchester, Vermont. A few weeks after that, his four-wheel-drive 1979 Chevrolet Blazer pickup truck was found abandoned and burned in the Oak Hill gravel pit in Williston, Vermont.

Investigators believe Wilfred was the victim of a homicide. He was estranged from his wife, Diane Irish King, at the time of his disappearance. They were in the process of a divorce, and Wilfred and his oldest son, Joey, were allowed to live in the family home on Jericho Road and keep most of the family's property pending the outcome of the divorce.

Diane had moved out of the house, but after her husband's disappearance she moved back in. Diane initially agreed to take a polygraph about Wilfred's case, but then changed her mind and refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Diane subsequently moved to have Wilfred declared legally dead and filed for sole ownership of the couple's home. Wilfred's parents had given him the land, which was next door to their own home, when he was nineteen years old, and he had built the house there prior to his marriage.

In 1988, the couple's oldest child, Joey, who was by then twenty, filed a civil suit against his mother, claiming Diane had helped murder Wilfred in 1980 and therefore should not benefit financially from his death. Instead, Joey asked the court to use the family's property to set up a trust fund for himself and his two siblings.

Joey ultimately moved into his father's home and raised his family there, and reconciled with his mother. No one has been charged in Wilfred's case, but he is presumed to have been the victim of a homicide. His parents had a monument placed for him in the cemetery in the late 1980s.

Investigating Agency

  • Essex Police Department 802-878-8331

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 16, 2016; casefile added.