Real Names: Robert Leroy Dozier and John Paul Russell
Aliases: Bob Dozier and John Farrell
Wanted For: Suspicion of Fraud, Drug Trafficking and Murder
Missing Since: November 1981
Details: On November 12, 1981, thirty-four-year-old Bob Dozier and forty-four-year-old John Russell set sail on Russell's boat, "The Freedom Two," for Tahiti with Kristin Tomlin and John's wife, Suzanne. Several hours later, the two men washed up alone on the shore near California claiming that their boat was struck by a freighter in tough waters and the two women were lost at sea. However, inconsistencies of their stories and analysis of the little wreckage afloat started to cast doubt upon their credibility.
The men claimed that they had fired flares and sent radio messages from their boat after the accident. However, these messages and flares were not noticed by a Coast Guard monitoring boat that was only three miles away. Also, the direction that the boat was apparently headed did not match an expected travel path to Tahiti. There was also no large vessel traffic in the area where they claimed that their boat was struck.
One man, a gun shop owner who was friends with the two men had been interrogated who sold the group a firearm in order to protect themselves from pirates. He was invited to tag along with the four on the boating trip but declined due to high work demands. He agreed to be interrogated on the basis he has now mistrusted Dozier and Russell's statements and intent to travel.
Other inconsistent facts were the lack of wreckage from the supposedly lost craft. The small bits of wreckage that did wash ashore were determined not to have been destroyed due to acts of nature, but man made damage. Also, the debris found was insufficient to conclude that it was of proper size and/or importance to sink the vessel; strongly suggesting non-vital parts of the Freedom Two were destroyed and intentionally cast overboard to throw the authorities off the track.
Medical examinations of both Dozier and Russell were suspicious. Neither man suffered from hypothermia, which is a common symptom of prolonged exposure to cold seawater. The U.S. Coast Guard has also cast doubt on the verity of the two men's reports on the basis of their behavior. As soon as Dozier and Russell were released from the hospital, both men immediately left town. Normally survivors of shipwrecks who are missing friends, family or colleagues stay in one place and work closely with authorities until sound evidence has been given that the missing people have died or have been recovered.
Another mismatch in the case is that Dozier, complaining of disorientation and memory loss at the time of rescue, later reported a third woman lost at sea by the name of Sherry Ann Dozier. Sherry Ann Dozier is in fact an alias of Suzanne Russell, whom had illegally married Dozier to go into ownership of their Nevada saloon. John Russell had wanted to open up the saloon, however his criminal record would not allow him to do this. Russell convinced Suzanne, his lawfully wedded wife, to commit bigamy with Dozier in order to gain the needed liquor license, and the bar went along successfully. This is another factor that has led authorities to believe foul play was involved. Speculation is that that the men were involved in a scheme involving insurance fraud and/or transportation of drugs and perhaps even murder.
Extra Notes: This segment ran for the first time on November 9, 1988 and later updated on the November 23, 1988 episode.
Results: Captured. Although Suzanne Russell was sighted in 1982, she has never been located, nor has Kristin Tomlin. John Russell was seen in New Westminster, British Columbia after the alleged abduction and murder. His father reportedly worked there at a branch of Bank of Montreal. Bob Dozier was captured in April of 1991 as a result of an Unsolved Mysteries viewer tip. John Russell was captured in June of 1993. Both served time for theft and fraud charges. However, they were never charged in connection with the women's disappearances.
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