Details of Disappearance Wilson was last seen at her home in the 1600 block of 13th Avenue southeast in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 12, 1981. Her boyfriend of three years, Colbert L. "Billy" Beets, stated she behaved normally that day, but did not attend church as she usually did.
Beets attended the midday services, then went to Wilson's residence in the afternoon. He and Wilson left within a few minutes of on another at 4:00 p.m. Beets went to his mother's house and Wilson was supposed to get gas for her car and then go visit a friend she worked with at the Harnischfeger Corporation plant.
Wilson never went to see her friend, but Beets says he drove past her car, which was going in the opposite direction, about an hour after he left her house. She has never been heard from again. The next day, when he found out she hadn't showed up for work, Beets reported her missing.
Two days after Wilson's disappearance, Beets's brother found her white 1978 Ford Fairmont with the license plate number DOY 622 was found in the parking lot of a K-Mart store in the 2700 block of 16th Avenue southwest. There was no sign of Wilson at the scene.
Wilson was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and moved to Chicago, Illinois after graduating high school. She married and moved to Cedar Rapids in the late 1970s. She got divorced in 1978 and began dating Beets, her former husband's uncle. She had bought a car, furniture and a home the previous summer, and is described as a level-headed and reliable individual who was making good money at her job. It is uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning.
Beets moved into her home five months after she vanished, but didn't pay the mortgage; he continued to live there until the house was foreclosed on in January 1982. Many members of his family have gotten into trouble with the law over the years, but none of them have been named as suspects in Wilson's disappearance. Her ex-husband is not believed to be involved in her case.
Wilson is one of five siblings. Two of her brothers died before her disappearance; the other two, who were living in Atlanta, Georgia in 1981, traveled to Iowa to help in the search for her. Foul play is suspected in Wilson's case, but little evidence is available in her disappearance.
- Cedar Rapids Police Department
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 1, 2015; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.