Details of Disappearance Linda was last seen at her residence in the 2100 block of Dawley Street in Orlando, Florida at 4:00 p.m. on February 18, 1976. She left home to visit her boyfriend, who lived on Erin Court about three blocks away. She left her purse and shoes behind at home. She never arrived at her boyfriend's house.
Ten days after Linda's disappearance, someone called Linda's father and said were holding her and would release her if he paid a $20,000 ransom. This turned out to be a hoax, and a local married couple was arrested and charged with extortion.
A few months after she went missing, Linda was reportedly sighted dancing in a topless bar in Jacksonville, Florida, using the name "Dawn". The bar was frequented by members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang, and police said there was evidence that Linda left willingly with the gang members. The witness who identified Linda also noticed the scar on her leg, but Linda's father doesn't believe she was really the young woman at the bar and stated she would have called home on her mother's birthday if she could have.
In 1982, six years after Linda's disappearance, her sister-in-law, Carol Joy Kerr, was shot and stabbed to death. Her body was found buried in a shallow grave in Osceola County, Florida. A year later, Keith Barton Kerr was arrested and charged in her death. He was Carol's brother-in-law; she was married to Linda and Keith's older brother. Authorities stated Keith had also committed telephone harassment against about forty women, most whom were Walt Disney World employees like Carol was. The victims got threatening calls from a man graphically describing how he planned to murder them. The details the caller described were very similar to what happened in Carol's death.
Photos of Keith are posted with this case summary. After his murder arrest, authorities began investigating the possibility that he was also involved in Linda's disappearance. They were unable to find any evidence to link him to his sister's case, however. In 1984, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Carol's death and was sentenced to life in prison. He remains incarcerated.
Although it's possible Linda ran away from home, it's extremely unusual for a runaway to be gone for decades without any contact with her family. Foul play is possible in her case, which remains unsolved.
- Orange County Sheriff's Office
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 25, 2020; casefile added.