Details of Disappearance
Gaines was last seen at Wild Bill's, a nightclub off Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth, Georgia, at 1:30 a.m. on November 2, 2007. He was a regular patron of the club. He did not have his car or his wallet with him and he was trying to find a ride to his mother's home in Snellville, Georgia.
Witnesses reported he appeared to be either intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and he may have gotten into an altercation with another patron at the club. He made several cellular phone calls to friends asking for a ride home, but none of them were able to assist him.
Although his parents had told him he could always call them for a ride no matter how late it was, he never called them. The last time his phone was used was shortly before 2:00 a.m. Gaines never arrived home and has never been heard from again.
In June 2007, several months prior to his disappearance, Gaines was arrested after police found him drunk and passed out in his car. An open bottle of vodka was located in the vehicle, as well as false identification.
Gaines was charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, second-degree forgery and having an open container of alcohol. He had a court hearing on the matter scheduled for November 21, weeks after his disappearance, but he never showed up.
Gaines's family was aware of the charges against him and they do not believe the court case is related to his disappearance. He had a reputation as a partier.
In September 2011, Martin Leonard Wilkie was charged with concealing a death in Gaines's case. Dustin Dylan Glass, a career criminal and self-described gang member who's in federal prison on unrelated charges, told authorities that he and Wilkie had assaulted Gaines and Gaines was ultimately shot to death.
Wilkie and Glass then supposedly put his body in a toolbox and took it to Walton County, Georgia. Glass's mother, Thelma Ruth Ballew, claimed she'd helped her son and Wilkie dispose of the body. She lead investigators to a Walton County property and said Gaines's body had been dumped in a well there, but a week-long search turned up nothing and Ballew was charged with making a false statement.
Photos of Wilkie, Glass and Ballew are posted with this case summary. Wilkie is awaiting trial; Glass and Ballew have not been charged in Gaines's disappearance.
At the time of his disappearance, Gaines was a freshman at the Oconee campus of Gainesville College in Athens, Georgia. He is a graduate of Brookwood High School. He normally keeps in close contact with his family and it is uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning.
His younger brother died of asphyxiation at home in January 2011; authorities aren't sure whether his death was an accident or suicide. Gaines's disappearance remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.