Details of Disappearance Virginia's husband, Frank E. Douglas Sr., a retired New England Merchants Bank vice president, said that he and his wife spent Labor Day weekend 1988 on an impromptu trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. The couple resided in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Frank claimed that they departed from their home at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the evening of September 2, 1988 and drove to Reny's Shopping Plaza in Belfast, Maine to allow Virginia to use the restroom. They were driving a dark blue 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the Massachusetts license plate number R1840.
Frank stated that Virginia entered the department store and never returned. He claimed that he searched the mall and parking lot for his wife, stopping to ask other shoppers if they had seen her. No witness in the mall could positively identify Virginia as having been inside the shopping center that evening.
Frank then purchased women's lingerie in his wife's size at Reny's, resuming his search shortly thereafter. He returned to the store approximately an hour later and purchased additional lingerie items, telling the clerk it was an "omen" for Virginia's return. Virginia has never been seen again.
Authorities discovered Frank's purchases in Virginia's suitcase after beginning their investigation into her disappearance. Extensive searches by investigators and the Douglas family throughout the Maine and Massachusetts coastlines for Virginia produced no evidence as to her whereabouts.
Authorities began to question several parts of Frank's version of events after being unable to locate his wife. They asked why he stopped at a shopping center to allow Virginia to use the restroom when a McDonald's restaurant was down the street from the store and would have been more convenient. Frank claimed that Virginia preferred to visit department store restrooms.
Authorities searched the Douglas residence in Massachusetts and discovered a piece of carpet with stains of Virginia's blood type present, as well as a clump of her hair under a doorstep.
Many of Virginia's family members told investigators that she was meticulous about closing their residence when they traveled, yet the refrigerator was fully stocked and the shades were open over Labor Day weekend. It would have been very uncharacteristic of Virginia to leave her home in such a state if she planned to travel.
In addition, one of Frank and Virginia's children was arriving from out of state at approximately 9:30 p.m. on September 2, the day Virginia allegedly vanished from the Maine restroom. Frank stated that the couple departed from Massachusetts at 8:30 p.m., leaving no chance for either of them to welcome their child. Relatives said that Virginia never would have left the state without warning her visiting child.
No one has been charged in connection with Virginia's case, but two of the three Douglas children refused to speak to Frank after she disappeared. They believed he was involved in her disappearance, though he denied it.
Many investigators believe that Virginia never vanished from Maine, but that she was murdered at her home in Massachusetts and then buried.
Virginia's children held a memorial service for her in Florida in November 1988. Frank died sometime after her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved. Both Maine and Massachusetts police are investigating.
- Belfast, Maine Police Department
- Lexington, Massachusetts Police Department
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated February 2, 2017; picture and clothing/jewelry description added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.