Real Name: Gail Elizabeth DeLano
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Westport Island, Maine
Date: June 21, 1986
Date of Birth: December 4, 1952
Marital Status: Divorced
Characteristics: Suffered from clinical depression
Details: Thirty-three-year-old Gail Delano was a single mother of two teenage boys who lived in Wiscasset, Maine, and sought companionship through newspaper personal ads. On June 21, 1986, she went to meet a date at a local Howard Johnson's restaurant, and suddenly vanished. Her friends and family wonder if she met with foul play or engineered her own disappearance.
The day before she vanished, her sons overheard her having a two hour phone conversation with a man named "John" who they assumed she met through the personal ads. The next morning, she told her sons that she would meet the man at the Howard Johnson's restaurant later that day in Brunswick, and hopefully spend the afternoon with him.
When Gail's son Ryan returned home that evening, he discovered that his mother was not home. The next day, when she was still not home, her family called the police. Gail's car was found abandoned at the restaurant, and at first, authorities did not suspect foul play; Gail would sometimes spend the night with friends or dates, so it was assumed that she would eventually come home.
However, her family was convinced that she had met with foul play. When Gail's car was searched, nothing was found of interest. Two hours later, a busboy at the restaurant found a set of keys where Gail's car was parked. Two weeks after that, a nine-year-old boy found Gail's purse in the bushes of the restaurant. Although the purse appeared to be untouched, there was no money in it, which was odd because Gail had always kept $50 in her wallet. After this discovery, police began to suspect foul play.
Based on her date book, detectives questioned men whom Gail had dated in the past year. All of the men had alibis for the time of her disappearance, including a man named "John". This man is not believed to be the man Gail was going on a date with. Despite keeping records of all of the men whom had called her, Gail for unknown reasons had not recorded her date John's full name or personal information.
A new theory emerged when police interviewed a radio DJ named Christin Roy who said that Gail had called the station multiple times prior to her disappearance, and he felt that she was suffering from depression. Authorities suspected that Gail may have disappeared and committed suicide elsewhere. Her family considered the possibility, but did not believe that she would do that to her family.
Gail's family began circulating missing person flyers with truckers. One year after Gail vanished, a trucker named John Scott recognized her photograph as a woman whom he had given a ride to several months earlier. The trucker did notice some pill bottles but did not know what was contained in them. He was certain that the woman he had given the ride to was Gail, especially because of her Northern accent. This led authorities believe that Gail may have engineered her own disappearance for unknown reasons.
However, her family and friends are uncertain if she would have been able to disappear successfully and remain hidden for so many years. Her mother believes that she may be suffering from amnesia, wandering around aimlessly without knowing her identity. The authorities, her family, and her friends just want to know what happened to her and want to make sure that she is okay.
Suspects: The man named "John" whom Gail was supposed to go on a date with is considered a possible suspect, but he remains unidentified.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the October 5, 1988 episode and updated on the November 16, 1988 episode.
Results: Solved. Sadly, Gail was found to have committed suicide in a Mobile, Alabama hotel while registered under the false name of Jackie Stafford within a few days after disappearing. After the broadcast, a forensic administrator who had been watching noticed the similarities to a woman found in the hotel two years earlier and called the tele-center. Forensic tests confirmed her identity. On November 11, 1988, her family held a memorial service for her in Brunswick, Maine. She was buried in Mobile, Alabama.
- TV Show Focuses on Maine Case
- Notorious Maine disappearance solved through TV show
- Police believe missing woman planned suicide in Alabama
- The Lewiston Journal (Nov. 3, 1988) - Investigators believe missing woman committed suicide
- Gail Delano at Find a Grave