Benita Gay Chamberlin

Chamberlin, circa 1978

  • Missing Since 02/23/1978
  • Missing From Eugene, Oregon
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 10/27/1953 (70)
  • Age 24 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5, 120 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black turtleneck sweater, a red and blue ski jacket, white pants and earth shoes.
  • Medical Conditions Chamberlin had given birth ten days before she vanished and was nursing at the time of her disappearance.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Blue 1966 Mercury Comet (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Chamberlin was last seen between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. on February 23, 1978, leaving Sacred Heart General Hospital in the vicinity of 13th Avenue and Hilyard Street in Eugene, Oregon. She had given birth on February 13 and was released from the hospital, but her baby daughter remained hospitalized due to prematurity and low birth weight.

Chamberlin went to the hospital that day to nurse the baby. She was told she could take her home sometime after 1:30 p.m., and telephoned a female friend to tell her the good news. She has never been heard from again. Her mother reported her missing at 1:00 a.m. on February 24.

At 2:30 a.m. that day, Chamberlin's purse was found lying on the ground in a parking lot on the University of Oregon campus. Shortly after 5:00 a.m., her blue 1966 Mercury Comet was found in the parking lot of a Coca-Cola bottling factory on Franklin Boulevard, near the hospital. There was no sign of her at the scene.

Chamberlin was in the process of a divorce at the time of her disappearance. She was separated from her husband and lived in the 20 block of Howard Avenue; her older two daughters lived with their father. She had worked as a maid at the Holiday Inn on Coberg Road for approximately five months before she went on maternity leave.

Her coworkers said she was well-liked and a reliable employee, and she was also described as a dedicated parent. who would never have left her three children, the oldest of whom was seven years old in 1978. She is a graduate of Churchill High School.

Her case remains unsolved and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are unclear.

Investigating Agency

  • Lane County Sheriff's Office 541-682-4167

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 9, 2014; picture added, details of disappearance updated.