Details of Disappearance Dove was last seen working at the Imperial gas station on south Main Street, Route 11, in Harrisonburg, Virginia on June 18, 1982. The station was located on an isolated section of road a mile south of the James Madison University. Dove's sisters also worked there; she had traded shifts with one of them that night.
During her shift, Dove called the Harrisonburg Police Department to report a male customer was harassing her. She explained she was working alone and asked the police to "keep an eye" on her. A short time later, she called the police again and said the man had come into the station and was "dressed improperly." It's not clear what she meant by this, but it's possible the man was exposing himself to her.
At 2:30 a.m. Dove called authorities a third time, sounding frightened. She said the man was back and he used a pay phone outside the gas station to call her and make obscene comments. She said he was driving a silver or gray vehicle, possibly a Ford, and asked the police to send someone to help her. There was a shuffling noise, then the line went dead.
Authorities stated they arrived at the gas station only two minutes after the conversation terminated, but no one was there. Dove's purse and a magazine she'd been reading were left undisturbed on the counter, and a cigarette had burned out in an ashtray. There were no indications that the store had been robbed, no signs of a struggle and no clues as to Dove's whereabouts. She has never been heard from again.
Investigators estimated it would have taken as little as 15 seconds to abduct Dove, force her into a vehicle and drive away. Her family thinks whoever took her must have been armed; they described her as the sort of person who would have fought back if she could have.
Someone working at a nearby convenience store said a man driving a gray car stopped at the store about about half an hour before Dove disappeared. The witness described the man as 20 to 25 years old, with shoulder-length blond hair. It hasn't been proven he was involved in Dove's disappearance.
Dove's sisters stated obscene calls and gestures were very common when women were working at the gas station alone at night. However, the calls stopped almost entirely after Dove disappeared; in the six weeks following her apparent abduction, the station got only one such call.
Dove's parents believe a man she went to high school with was responsible for her disappearance. This individual, who has not been named publicly, had a record for indecent exposure and making obscene telephone calls. He has never been charged in connection with her case. Investigators do not believe Dove was specifically targeted by anyone; they think her presumed abduction was a crime of opportunity, committed after the kidnapper noticed there was a woman working at the isolated gas station alone.
Dove had been married for five years by the time of her disappearance and lived in Bridgewater, Virginia with her husband and four-year-old daughter. Her loved ones stated she was happy with her marriage and being a mother, and had no reason to leave of her own accord. After Dove disappeared, her parents raised her daughter. She was declared legally dead in 1989, and the gas station has since been torn down. Her case remains unsolved.
- Harrisonburg Police Department
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 15, 2021; picture added, details of disappearance updated.