Details of Disappearance Gabriel was last seen in Statesville, North Carolina on July 18, 1983. She worked as a real estate agent and was en route to meet a prospective client to appraise a property at Lake Norman, north of Charlotte, North Carolina. She has never been heard from again.
Two days later, her pale green 1981 Buick Skylark was found abandoned in a restaurant parking lot. The passenger side window was shattered and there was no sign of Gabriel at the scene. Seven months later, in February 1984, Gabriel's ripped blue pants, red shoes, pocketbook and car keys were found in the woods not far from where her car had been.
In March 1985, Johnny Joseph Head was convicted of second-degree murder in Gabriel's case. This was only the second time in North Carolina history that a defendant was convicted of murder without the victim's body being located.
Authorities believe Head lured Gabriel to his home at Lake Norman, bound her hands and feet with duct tape and strangled her. Circumstantial evidence and some physical evidence, namely fiber evidence, was used to obtain the conviction.
Head maintains his innocence in Gabriel's case. He was released from prison in 2001, after serving 16 years of a 50-year sentence.
Authorities still hope to recover Gabriel's remains. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
- Iredell County Sheriff's Office
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 30, 2010; casefile added.