Paul Joseph Knockel

Knockel, circa 1990; Knockel's car

  • Missing Since 11/01/1990
  • Missing From Dubuque, Iowa
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 10/26/1937 (86)
  • Age 53 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'10, 265 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Knockel is mildly mentally disabled and requires assistance with his finances and other aspects of his life.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Maroon two-door 1981 Mercury Sable or Mercury Zephyr with the Iowa license plate number NBL923 (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Knockel wears metal-rimmed eyeglasses and is very dependent on them. He has surgical scars on his right leg and has previously sustained severe breaks to his lower right leg and ankle. Knockel wears a complete set of dentures.

Details of Disappearance

Knockel was last seen in Dubuque, Iowa sometime in mid-November 1990; the exact date is unknown. He last had contact with his family on November 12. He was driving his maroon two-door 1981 Mercury Sable or Mercury Zephyr with the Iowa license plate number NBL923 at the time of his disappearance; a photo of it is posted with this case summary.

On November 13, his family thought they saw Knockel's car parked along Route 151, one mile east of the Dubuque-Wisconsin bridge, just over the Wisconsin border. Within a few hours of the sighting, the vehicle had disappeared.

Knockel didn't show up to celebrate Thanksgiving with his relatives, which is uncharacteristic of him. He has never been heard from again. His family became concerned when he didn't show up for the holiday meal and they went to his house.

His loved ones found his wallet, watch and shoes at his home in the 2100 block of Washington Street, but there was no sign of him or his car. He was reported missing on November 26 after he didn't show up for his job at the Swiss Colony mail-order gift house in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Knockel was unmarried and childless, worked menial jobs, didn't abuse drugs or alcohol and and rarely went out in 1990. His loved ones believe he was abducted and murdered, as they think he would never have left of his own accord.

In October 2023, 33 years after Knockel's disappearance, his vehicle was found by dredgers in the Mississippi River, near the Hawthorne Boat Ramp in Dubuque. There were no human remains inside the car and no other sign of Knockel.

Police stated Knockel wasn't involved in any high-risk activities and he didn't have any enemies at the time of his disappearance. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Dubuque Police Department 319-589-4410

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 31, 2023; details of disappearance updated.