Details of Disappearance
Johnson-Willard was last seen at her family's residence in Jay, Oklahoma on June 17, 1996. She watched movies with her niece, when left to go to her own rented mobile home. She has never been heard from again. Five days later, her family realized she was missing. She had not been to work, picked up her paycheck, or taken care of her dog since June 17.
Johnson-Willard's maroon and gray 1986 Mercury Cougar was discovered abandoned near a brush-clogged ravine in Delaware County, Oklahoma on June 27, ten days after her disappearance.
Shreds of clothing were inside the car's trunk and gasoline tank. Blood and skin tissue samples discovered inside the trunk were matched to Johnson-Willard's DNA; the body fluids found corresponded to a deceased person. Transmission fluid had been poured over the vehicle, but the car was not ignited.
A white pickup truck was seen in Johnson-Willard's driveway on June 17 and was originally thought to have something to do with her case, but it turned out to belong to her neighbor's landlord. Bloodhounds were unable to track the scent of anyone leaving her mobile home.
In June 2011, fifteen years after Johnson-Willard's disappearance, authorities charged John Lee Weeks with first-degree murder in her case. Weeks, a coworker of Johnson-Willard's at the Simmons Industries poultry processing plant, is originally from Arkansas. He was in prison in Kansas serving a fifty-year sentence for unrelated sex crimes at the time he was charged.
A photo of Weeks is posted with this case summary. Investigators stated he'd been a suspect from early on in the investigation, and they had fingerprints and DNA evidence from Johnson-Willard's car to implicate him.
However, in 2014, the murder charge against Weeks was dropped for lack of evidence. He was returned to Kansas to resume serving his sentence. His earliest release date will be 2037.
Johnson-Willard was adopted as a child. She left behind two daughters. The investigative file into her disappearance disappeared in 2001, but was found under unknown circumstances in 2005 in a storage room in the Delaware County jail. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.