John Edwin Keyton

Keyton, circa 1973

  • Missing Since 08/03/1973
  • Missing From Bridgewater, Virginia
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 81 years old
  • Height and Weight Unknown
  • Medical Conditions Keyton is a dependent adult.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Keyton goes by the nickname Ed. His left leg is missing. Keyton is illiterate.

Details of Disappearance

Keyton was last seen driving his light green 1967 Ford Fairlane in Bridgewater, Virginia at approximately 12:00 p.m. on August 3, 1973. He was accompanied by his housekeeper, Flora Helmick, and Flora's sister, Martha, at the time. They were driving to a family reunion at the home of Keyton's brother in Dabolt, Kentucky; the event was scheduled for the following day.

Keyton and the Helmick sisters never arrived and have never been heard from again. Keyton may have been carrying a Social Security check at the time of his disappearance; it was not worth more than $50.

Keyton was not a good driver in 1973; he had been in at least one accident and received many traffic citations. His driver's license had been taken from him, but he continued to drive regardless. Some theorized he and the Helmick sisters were killed in an vehicular accident somewhere in the mountains of Virginia or Kentucky. If so, their remains and car were never found.

Keyton served in the armed forces in World War I and won medals for heroism, but lost his left leg in battle. He was mentally affected by the war and had a reputation as an eccentric. Keyton was ruled incompetent by Rockingham Circuit Court in 1932 and a committee, or guardian, was appointed to look after his affairs.

Keyton's committee in 1973 stated he would frequently leave the area without telling anyone. Sometimes during these absences he would visit relatives in Ohio.

A search turned up no sign of the Helmicks or Keyton. Their cases remain unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Bridgewater Police Department 540-828-2611

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 3, 2007; middle name corrected, age added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.