Details of Disappearance
Hope was last seen departing the now-defunct Redfish Seafood and Steak House in Hernando Beach, Florida on March 31, 1982. He was carrying a plastic container of mustard greens at the time. Hope's uncle, who dined with him that evening, says he acted normally during the meal and planned to visit his girlfriend's residence afterwards. He has never been heard from again.
On April 6, 1982, Hope's white pickup truck was found abandoned at his real estate office in Hernando Beach, where Hope was employed as a broker. The truck, which contained about $2,000 worth of Hope's belongings, was locked, which is uncharacteristic of his behavior. He was reported missing after the truck was located.
Eight months later, someone clearing an overgrown area about 100 yards from Hope's workplace found a pair of shoes and neatly folded clothing, including a beige shirt. Hope's family believes the clothes were his, but they weren't the ones he was wearing the night of his disappearance.
Hope was a prominent figure in the area, a real estate business leader who had held one appointed political position and also sought election. He resigned from his post as chairman of the Hernando Port Authority two months prior to his disappearance.
Hope also had a reputation as a womanizer and his wife, who divorced him shortly before his disappearance, believed he'd been killed by a jealous husband or boyfriend of someone he'd been dating. He had remained friendly with his ex-wife after the divorce and was close to their children, and she doesn't believe he would have ever willingly abandoned the family.
There are many rumors and theories about his case; some believe he was involved in the local drug trade, though there's no actual evidence of this, and they think he was either killed by drug dealers or placed in the federal Witness Protection Program. Others speculate he left of his own accord and possibly left the country.
Hope resided in Brooksville, Florida in 1982. There has been no activity on his Social Security number since his disappearance. He was declared legally dead in 1992. His loved ones believe he met with foul play.