Details of Disappearance
Dianna was last seen on June 4, 1996, two days before Christine's eighteenth birthday. She was with her husband, Robert James "Bob" Meyer, and their only child, Christine Meyer
, on their family's fifty-foot yacht, the Marjo
, in Salisbury Sound, thirty miles northwest of Ketchikan, Alaska.
According to Robert, he last saw his wife and daughter on deck at the stern of the Marjo
in the early morning hours. He had been running the boat towards Sitka, Alaska that night, towing an outboard skiff.
had been experiencing mechanical problems during the trip. He awakened Christine and Dianna at 12:30 a.m., after he smelled smoke. He then went inside the boat to get their two dogs, and when he emerged, the two women were gone. He got himself and the dogs into the outboard skiff and looked for Christine and Dianna without success. Robert then went to Sitka in the skiff.
The Coast Guard found the Marjo
, but it was engulfed in flames by this time and sank shortly after it was located. They did find fuel containers; one contained diesel fuel. Police also found a .38 shell and a smear of blood, later identified as Dianna's, on the family's skiff. There was no sign of the missing women or their remains.
Alaska State Troopers subsequently located the wreckage with a remote-controlled submersible camera. It was in over 500 feet of water, too deep to be accessible by scuba divers. Authorities attempted to raise the wreck with hooked cables, but it came apart as it was being pulled to the surface.
In spite of this, "several significant parts" of the boat were recovered, including the boat's engines and a daybed which had been above the engine room. The engines and the bed were almost unburned. It appeared as if the boat had burned from the top down, rather than the bottom up, which contradicted Robert's story.
Robert gave some initial statements to police on June 4 and a short statement on June 5, but after that he refused to assist with the investigation further. At the time of Christine and Dianna's disappearances, he was having an affair with Ann L. Lowe, his business manager, and she had just gotten a divorce from her husband. Dianna was reportedly aware of her husband's infidelity and planned to file for divorce as well.
Investigators determined there were inconsistencies in Robert's story. He said he was unable to radio for help until after he arrived at shore, but it turned out he had passed another boat on the way to the Sitka harbor, and he didn't ask for assistance then. There were also two hours in his timeline that were unaccounted for.
Fourteen months after the Marjo
sank, Robert was in a car accident and was paralyzed from the neck down. In 1998, he was charged with the first-degree murder of Dianna and Christine, and the arson of their boat. Investigators believe he killed them to avoid losing his assets in a divorce, and for insurance money; he had a total of one million dollars in insurance on their lives, and $250,000 in insurance on the yacht.
Robert had called Lowe at 4:00 a.m. on the night the boat sank and told her there was a fire on the boat and his wife and daughter were missing. Lowe, her daughter and some other employees of Southwest Marine met him when he arrived in the Sitka harbor with his skiff. Lowe had washed Robert's clothes, which were reeking of diesel fuel, even though the police specifically instructed her not to. As a result of this, she was charged with tampering with physical evidence.
Lowe and Robert married shortly after they were indicted. Before he could be brought to trial, Robert died in an apparent suicide. His body was found at the end of a dock in Sitka, in seventy feet of water. Lowe was convicted of felony evidence tampering and served four months in jail.
Dianna grew up in California and moved to Sitka, Alaska in 1971, four years after she married Robert. Together they ran a boat and outboard motor sales and service, Southeast Marine, and in her free time Dianna enjoyed traveling and outdoor pursuits.
Foul play is suspected in her and Christine's cases due to the circumstances involved, but their bodies have never been found.