Details of Disappearance
A.W. was last seen in Sulphur Springs, Texas. He and his family were going to spend the long weekend camping out at his parents' cabin on Lake Fork in Alba, Texas, and he spent the day of August 30, 1986 setting up a camper trailer, fishing and spending time with his family.
That night, A.W.'s wife, Carolyn, called his ex-wife, Magdalene Steed, and said that instead of joining their children and grandchildren at the lake, they would be spending the night at home in Sulphur Springs. She stated they would be at Lake Fork the next morning.
According to Carolyn, she and A.W. went to the local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post that evening, then went to their home in the 300 block of Woodcrest Drive after midnight. They got into an argument because the dog had soiled their bed. A.W. wanted to go out gambling, but Carolyn wanted to go to bed.
He walked away from the residence without her at around 1:00 a.m., leaving behind all three of his trucks, and never returned. After she woke up at 7:00 or 8:00 a.m., she called Magdalene and the police. His family didn't really get concerned until Tuesday, when he didn't show up for work.
A.W. ran a tractor supply store, Steed’s Tractor and Equipment, with his son Gary in Emory, Texas at the time of his disappearance. On Tuesday, Carolyn went to the business and asked Gary if he'd seen his father. At this point, Gary went to his father's house and noted that the carpet had recently been shampooed and was still wet, there were wet sheets also, and there was oil poured on the floor of the carport.
A.W. was a frequent gambler and, shortly before he went missing, he told Magdalene, whom he was still friendly with in spite of their divorce, that he was "more in debt than he had ever been."
He said Carolyn had racked up a large outstanding gambling debt and someone had forged his signature on a third-party check for $9,500, which had made his bank account overdrawn. He stated Carolyn was not paying their bills and he asked for Magdalene's advice on how to take her name off of the couple's checking accounts and credit cards. He also said he had caught Carolyn with another man, but that he was trying to make their marriage work.
Foul play is suspected in A.W.'s case. He was declared legally dead in 1994.