Zabullah Alam

Alam, circa 1998

  • Missing Since 06/25/1998
  • Missing From Groveton, Virginia
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race Asian
  • Date of Birth 08/30/1975 (48)
  • Age 22 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 140 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A white dress shirt, black pants and a blue flowered tie.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Red 1985 BMW with the Virginia license plate number ZAK-9953 (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Dark brown hair, brown eyes. Alam was born in Afghanistan. His nickname is Zabe (sometimes spelled "Zabi"). Some agencies may spell Alam's first name "Zabiuflah" or "Zabiullah."

Details of Disappearance

Alam was last seen on June 25, 1998. At 5:00 p.m. he left a friend's home and was driving to Union Station in Washington, D.C. for a landscaping job interview with a prospective employer. At 6:00 p.m., while he was on the way there, the police stopped him in the 1200 block of F Street Northwest in Washington D.C. and cited him for failure to wear a seat belt. He has never been heard from again.

Alam had learned about the landscaping job from a flier that had been shoved under his front door. The job paid $11 an hour and offered benefits. He called the listed number and talked to someone named "Mr. Felliece." Alam made arrangements to meet Felliece's secretary at Union Station for the interview.

Alam was driving a red 1985 BMW with the Virginia license plate number ZAK-9953, which was recovered on July 28 in Lanham, Maryland near Temple Hills. The vehicle was parked near the Cedar Ridge apartment complex. There was no sign of Alam at the scene. He never picked up his last paycheck from his job and at the time of his disappearance he was carrying no credit cards, no passport and very little cash. He was in the process of becoming a United States citizen in 1998.

Alam interrupted a burglary at his apartment in the 6700 block of Tower Drive in Groveton, Virginia in April 1998, two months before he disappeared. He shared the residence with his cousin and two aunts. When he returned from work at 2:00 a.m., he saw an intruder inside holding his aunt's purse. The man fled and Alam called the police.

After a high-speed chase, the burglar, identified as Christopher Andaryl Wills, was arrested a few blocks away and charged with burglary. He had a prior criminal record and had been charged with armed robbery and carjacking in Baltimore, Maryland in 1996, but was released in November 1997 after the court determined his right to a speedy trial had been violated. After his April 1998 burglary arrest, he was released on bail.

On June 15, Alam testified at Wills's preliminary hearing and identified him as the burglar. That same evening, Wills called with his brother, who was in prison. In their recorded conversation, he said he had a plan to prevent Alam from testifying, and mentioned fliers. He made a few more calls to his brother over the next few days and said he was going to "get" Alam and "hurt him" and was preparing his plan. Alam disappeared ten days after the preliminary hearing.

In November 1999, Wills was charged with kidnapping in Alam's case. In December, he was charged with interstate stalking resulting in death. He was in federal prison serving a twelve-year sentence for an unrelated robbery at the time.

Authorities believe he lured Alam by printing a flier advertising a fake landscaping job, then killed him to prevent him from testifying at the burglary trial. They determined the phone number listed on the flier connected to a cellular phone Wills had purchased. He represented himself and was convicted in October 2001, after a three-week trial, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Alam was a server at the Fish Market restaurant in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Virginia in 1998. He was also a student at Northern Virginia Community College.

Investigating Agency

  • Fairfax County Police Department 703-385-7924

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 1, 2012; distinguishing characteristics, clothing/jewelry description and details of disappearance updated.