Gregory Downes Howells

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Above Images: Howells, circa 1997


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: June 17, 1997 from Carmel Valley, California
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: December 6, 1954
  • Age: 42 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'11, 190 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Howells may have a mustache, beard or a goatee.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A Dick's Place t-shirt.
  • Medical Conditions: Howells may have been depressed at the time of his 1997 disappearance. His wife has said he had an alcohol problem.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Howells was a playwright and director in 1997. He was last seen on the Rancho Canada Golf Course in Carmel Valley, California on June 17, 1997. He has never been heard from again. Howells's tan Honda was found parked in the course's lot during the morning following his disappearance. His wallet, credit cards, identification and golf bag were inside the vehicle, as was the manuscript of his latest play, Lazurus. Howells's golf cart and clubs were discovered on the 13th tee of the course. A search of the area yielded no clues as to his whereabouts.

    Howells was married to actress/playwright Sherry Glaser in 1997. A photo of Glaser is posted below this case summary. (Note: Several media outlets spell Glaser's last name "Glazer.") Glaser told the media that she believed her husband may have staged his disappearance. She stated that Howells may have been envious of her success in the entertainment industry and sought an escape for himself, possibly by suicide. Howells and Glaser often wrote plays together; Glaser acted in the productions while Howells occasionally directed. The reviews of the couple's work usually focused on Glaser's contributions while ignoring Howells's accomplishments. Glaser also said that her husband was often the caregiver for their two young daughters while she worked in the theater, and he was unhappy with this arrangement. Prior to his disappearance, Howells stated he showed Lazarus to an agent who liked it, but Glaser subsequently discovered he had not actually talked to the agent.

    Howells and Glaser were residing in Carmel Valley in 1997 while she performed her one-woman show, Oh My Goddess. They moved to the area from Mendocino County, California. Several of Howells's friends said that they believed other factors were at work in Howells's disappearance. It is not known if Howells left of his own accord or if he was the victim of foul play.

    Glaser said that Howells had been depressed prior to his disappearance. She had their second child in 1996 and quit working to concentrate on being a mother, leaving him as the sole breadwinner of the family; he was stressed as a result. His condition may also have been connected to the death of Glaser's father, which happened shortly before he vanished. Glaser told him to see a therapist, and he tricked her into believing he was seeing one when in fact he was not. Glaser said that Howells gained weight and seemed to "indulge" himself prior to disappearing, gambling, drinking beer and smoking marijuana.

    Glaser continues to believe suicide is also a possibility in her husband's disappearance. Howells was declared legally dead in 2002. There is little evidence available in his case, which remains unsolved.

    Above: Glaser, circa 1997


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Monterey County Sheriff's Department


    Source Information
    Monterey County Sheriff's Department
    The San Jose Mercury News
    The Contra Costa Times
    The Sonoma County Independent
    The Jewish Bulletin Of Northern California Online
    The Associated Press
    The Doe Network
    The New York Times


    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated February 26, 2012; details of disappearance updated.

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