Details of Disappearance Winkler was last seen in Burlington, Wisconsin on February 16, 1987. He went to a friend's house that night, but his friend wasn't there and his friend's grandfather told him to leave. Winkler seemed panicky at the time and a black truck was following him. He has never been heard from again.
Prior to his disappearance, Winkler and three other local men were charged with breaking into the Auctioneer's Inn, an upscale restaurant in the 4600 block of Sheard Road in Dover, Wisconsin, on December 1, 1986. Over $3,500 worth of items were stolen.
Winkler had done maintenance work on the Auctioneer's Inn before. There were rumors that local biker gangs, who patronized the restaurant, were using it to smuggle drugs, and that Winkler and his friends stole some of the drugs when they burglarized it. These accounts have not been confirmed.
After he went missing, Winkler's friends pleaded guilty to their roles in the burglary and got minimal sentences. Years after Winkler's disappearance, the burglary charges against him were dropped after the statute of limitations expired. It's unclear whether the crime had anything to do with his disappearance.
When Winkler disappeared, all his belongings vanished from the house where he had been staying. His roommates refused to talk about what had happened or where he might have gone. Two of the friends that assisted in the burglary owned a black truck, similar to the one seen following Winkler on the night of his disappearance, and the men's truck vanished a short time thereafter.
Both police and Winkler's family believe he was murdered on the night of his disappearance. He had numerous associates who were involved with serious criminal activity, and members of his family were threatened after his disappearance. However, police stated they have no evidence of a crime in his case. His disappearance remains unsolved.
- Racine County Sheriff's Office
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 7, 2018; details of disappearance updated.