Details of Disappearance
Dia was last seen at the Bonita Vista Ranch, a 117-acre property she owned east of Idyllwild in Riverside County, California, on June 6, 2020. She has never been heard from again.
Dia is the widow of Clem Abrams, a wealthy La Jolla, California developer, who died in 2018. At the time of her disappearance, she was involved in a court battle with her and Clem's two adult children, Crisara Brett Abrams and Clinton Karcher Abrams, over Clem's estate. Clem had nominated the children to act as executors and trustees of his estate.
At the time of her disappearance, Dia was attempting to have her 1984 prenuptial agreement with Clem invalidated. The agreement, which was to govern their assets both in life and following either of their deaths, provided that Clem's income would remain his separate property, and Dia's income would remain her separate property. Dia did not work during their 34-year marriage and did not accrue any significant income or property of her own, while Clem's assets grew by the millions.
When Clem died, Dia inherited some of his properties, as well as a marital trust. At the time of her disappearance, in addition to trying to get the prenuptial agreement invalidated, Dia was seeking $6.7 million from her late husband's estate to fund the marital trust. Crisara and Clinton had both filed an opposition to their mother's petition.
Dia had kept some of her assets in trust. When the trust was initially established in 2016, the beneficiaries in the event of her death or incapacitation were to be Crisara and Clinton. An unsigned, partially handwritten clause was added to the trust in 2018, excluding the children as beneficiaries; it said: "Trustor leaves nothing but her love and affection to her son, Clinton Abrams, and daughter Crisara Abrams."
Just fifteen days prior to 2020 her disappearance, Dia restated the trust, transferring ownership of the Bonita Vista Ranch and two other properties into it and naming Keith Harper as a trustee and the beneficiary of her estate. A second trustee was also named; this was was Diana Fedder, a neighbor who lived ten miles from the Bonita Vista Ranch and helped Dia manage her properties. Photos of both of them are posted with this case summary.
Harper and Fedder took over the trust and began co-managing the Bonita Vista Ranch after Abrams went missing, and Harper filed a power of attorney document claiming control of the ranch. According to Fedder, Dia had not wanted her children to ever become trustees of her property. Harper stated he and Fedder plan to make the Bonita Vista Ranch into an animal reserve, and that this was also Dia's wish.
Harper lived with Abrams at the time of her disappearance and claims to be her fiance, and he was also the last person known to have seen her. He said he had lunch with Abrams on the afternoon of her disappearance and last saw her at 2:30 p.m., when he went to mow the grass and do other ranch work. When he returned at 7:30 p.m., he said, Abrams was gone, leaving her purse, cellular phone, keys and Ford pickup truck behind.
The next day, Harper notified Isidro Garcia, a longtime ranch employee, that Abrams was missing and said friends and neighbors were searching for her. That same day, her disappearance was reported to the police and a search and rescue operation was launched. By this time Harper had left and driven his recreational vehicle (RV) out of state, to New Mexico and Colorado, for what he said was business. He returned to the ranch later in the week.
Police searching for Dia by air with helicopters noticed marijuana greenhouses at the Sky High Ranch, a rental property she owned about a mile and a half west of the Bonita Vista Ranch. As a result, they got a search warrant, searched the Sky High Ranch and seized more than 2,300 marijuana plants and 357 pounds of processed marijuana. Marijuana grow operations are common in Riverside County. Garcia stated he didn't think Dia's disappearance had anything to do with the grow operation at the Sky High Ranch; he stated she never went there.
The police served a search warrant on the Bonita Vista Rancha few days after Dia's disappearance, describing it as a "possible homicide." They evidence including a tan bedsheet, a Band-Aid and toilet paper, all stained with possible blood; two spent bullet casings with F and REM markings, two handwritten letters, and a Netgear router. In the subsequent days law enforcement traveled to New Mexico, impounded Harper's RV and removed a section of the front driver's seat as evidence. They searched Harper's storage business in Aztec, New Mexico, but the list of evidence taken has not been publicly released.
It's worth noting that Harper has a 2000 conviction for domestic violence; he was initially charged with sexual assault and kidnapping, both felonies, in that case, but pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after his his victim refused to testify against him. In 2011, he was found guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault for groping two women on a snowmobile tour and ordered to register a sex offender, and in 2014 he was sentenced to four months in jail for probation violation. All of his convictions are out of Colorado.
Following Dia's disappearance, her children filed a petition seeking to have Harper and Fedder removed as trustees of their mother's estate. Their petition asked the court to appoint, instead, a neutral third party to manage Dia's trust and estate.
Clinton and Crisara's petition stated Harper has refused to allow Dia's family to inspect the trust and get an accounting of it; that the mortgage on the Bonita Vista Ranch has not been paid since August 2020; that the mortgage on another of Dia's properties has not been paid since June 2020; that Harper and Fedder are romantically involved and have been since before Dia's disappearance; and that the police were investigating Harper "as a potential perpetrator of the crime or crimes that led to Dia's disappearance." Crisara and Clinton also claimed in the petition that Dia had left a note behind when she disappeared, claiming she was afraid for her life.
In a media interview Clinton gave on the one-year anniversary of his mother's disappearance, he said Dia was not engaged to Harper or anyone at the time she went missing. This was the first interview either of Dia's children had granted to the press, and by granting it Clinton was acting against the advice of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. He said he believed his mother had been murdered.
Harper continued to live on Dia's ranch; if he is not removed as trustee and beneficiary, and if Dia is not found within five years, he could have her declared legally dead and inherit her property.
Two days before Christmas in 2021, there was a "suspicious death" on the ranch, that of Jodi Newkirk, who had been working there as a horse handler since early August of that year. It was reported that she had died in an ATV rollover accident, but when police responded to the scene they noticed the dead woman had "unexplained injuries."
Newkirk's death remains under investigation and no one has been charged, and it's not clear if it has any connection to Dia's disappearance. An entry in her diary from weeks before her death indicated she was in a romantic relationship with Harper and planned on ending it.
Dia's case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.