David Robert Hursell

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Above Images: Hursell, circa 1987

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 12, 1987 from El Dorado County, California
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: April 8, 1962
  • Age: 24 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'9, 150 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. The tip of Hursell's right index finger has been crushed. His nickname is Dave.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Hursell was last seen in El Dorado County, California on January 12, 1987. He has never been heard from again. Robert Charles Comer (sometimes spelled "Corner") has been the prime suspect in Hursell's disappearance for many years. A photograph of Comer is posted below this case summary. Comer confessed to Hursell's murder in 1999 while on death row. He claimed that he forced Hursell from his truck at gunpoint and placed Hursell in handcuffs. Comer stated that he tied Hursell's shoelaces together and forced him to walk away from him on a dirt road in Georgetown, California. Comer said that he killed Hursell with a gun shortly thereafter.

    Comer was apprehended by authorities in Arizona shortly after Hursell's January 1987 disappearance. He was driving Hursell's truck at the time of his arrest and was connected to his disappearance at that time. In 1988, Comer was convicted of an unrelated Arizona murder and sentenced to death. He offered to divulge details regarding Hursell's case to his presumed victim's mother in the 1980s. Comer demanded that Hursell's mother donate $6,000 to his legal defense fund or supply him with various appliances. She refused. Hursell's mother also turned down another prison inmate's offer to murder Comer in the late 1980s.

    Hursell's mother appeared at the end of the broadcast of the made-for-television movie Terror In The Night in the late 1980s. The film depicted Comer's crimes in Arizona. Hursell's mother pleaded with the public for information regarding her son's disappearance.

    Comer confessed to Hursell's murder while imprisoned in 1999, twelve years after Hursell disappeared. He drew a map of the location where he claimed to have disposed of Hursell's remains in 1987. Authorities located the area, but an extensive search in 2001 produced no clues as to Hursell's whereabouts. Investigators said that they were unsure if Hursell's body remained at the site after so many years. Authorities believe that Comer was truthful in his summary of Hursell's death. He wrote to Hursell's mother and apologized for his actions. Comer eventually withdrew all his appeals and asked to be put to death as soon as possible, although his attorneys said he was incompetent to make this decision. He was executed in May 2007.

    Hursell resided in Sacramento, California in 1987. His case remains unsolved.

    Comer 2003
    Above: Comer, circa 2003

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    El Dorado County Sheriff's Department
    530-621-6600

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    Source Information
    California Attorney General's Office
    KOVR 13
    The Sacramento Bee
    Clark County Prosecutor's Office

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated November 13, 2015; picture added.

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