Wilfred F. King III

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Above: King, circa 1980

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: October 24, 1980 from Essex, Vermont
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: April 22, 1943
  • Age: 37 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'3 - 5'5, 130 - 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Wilfred's nickname is Butch. He has dimples on both cheeks.
  • 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.
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    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 later, 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, 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.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Essex Police Department
    802-878-8331

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    Source Information
    Vermont State Police
    NamUs
    The Burlington Free Press

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated September 16, 2016; casefile added.

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