Tom Ray Starkel

Starkel, circa 1979

  • Missing Since 12/05/1979
  • Missing From Palmdale, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 07/15/1960 (63)
  • Age 19 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6, 150 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A tan sweater, brown corduroy pants, a gold watch, and sneakers (possibly size 7 1/2).
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Dark green Pontiac Firebird with blue-colored Nevada license plates (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Blond hair, green eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Starkel was last seen leaving his girlfriend's home in Palmdale, California at approximately 10:00 p.m. on December 5, 1979. Authorities believe he did arrive at his own apartment afterwards, but he has never been heard from again.

The police were notified of his disappearance three days after he was last seen, but it was another three days before they went to his apartment to investigate. In the meantime, Starkel's mother had cleaned the apartment and erased any evidence that might have been there.

Starkel was driving a dark green Pontiac Firebird with blue-colored Nevada license plates at the time of his disappearance. His vehicle was recovered two weeks later, when it was pulled over driving into California from Nevada.

Craig Moore was driving the vehicle; there was no sign of Starkel. Starkel's jacket was in the trunk of the car and the car's pink slip had been signed over from Starkel to Moore. A handgun was also found under the driver's seat; it had been fired recently.

Moore was arrested and held for two weeks and told several different stories. He was eventually released for lack of evidence connecting him to Starkel's disappearance, but he remains the prime suspect.

Starkel graduated from Palmdale High School, and he attended the First Assembly of God Church, where his grandfather was a pastor. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department 562-465-7816

Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 8, 2011; two pictures added.