Real Name: Justin K. Burgwinkel
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Monterey, California
Date: June 12, 1993
Occupation: US Army Specialist
Date of Birth: May 14, 1972
Weight: 175 lbs.
Marital Status: Dating
Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes
Details: Justin Burgwinkel of Massachusetts joined the U.S. Army in the summer of 1990. He wanted to join an elite part of the Army called the Rangers. He began language training for the Rangers; however, he was taken out after he was arrested for shoplifting. He was then sent to Fort Ord near Monterrey, California, where he became a cook for the soldiers there.
In August of 1992, he began dating computer science student Iolanda Antunes who lived in Santa Clara, eighty-five miles from Fort Ord. He tried to visit her as often as he could. However, Iolanda soon noticed that he began acting strangely. While he would be visiting, Justin would suddenly say that he would have to leave and return to Fort Ord. He told Iolanda that it would be better for her to not know what he was being involved with; Iolanda became very suspicious of him. In February of 1993, Justin was transferred from Fort Ord to Fort Lewis in Washington state.
In May of 1993, he returned to Santa Clara to visit Iolanda and began acting even stranger than before. He was apparently very secretive about a briefcase that he had brought with him. One time, she saw him taking papers out of his briefcase and shredding them. Another day, she found him in the living room crying. When she talked to him, he said nothing was wrong.
One night, Iolanda received a call while Justin was out with friends. The caller gave Iolanda a message to give to Justin: "The mission's off," When Justin returned, Iolanda gave him the message, and he began to freak out. Justin refused to explain, and a few days later he left to return to Fort Lewis. Soon after, he called his parents, but they noticed nothing out of the ordinary with Justin's demeanor. However, at the same time, Justin purchased two handguns and a large amount of ammunition for no apparent reason.
On Friday, June 4, 1993, at 4:30AM, Justin did not report to his kitchen duties. Three days later, he was officially reported AWOL. However, instead of disappearing, he went to Iolanda's apartment on the night of June 4. He called his parents and told them that he was not AWOL, and that he was "working". Later that night, Justin called Fort Lewis and said that he had some things to take care of, but that he would report back as soon as possible.
However, he did not report back, and instead stayed at Iolanda's for a few more days. He refused to explain almost anything about what was going on except he told her to watch the movie White Sands and that everything would make sense. The movie is about arms smuggling and the FBI and the CIA. Iolanda thought he might be working for the CIA but he did elaborate on anything.
Finally, at around 10AM on June 12, Justin left Iolanda's apartment for the last time, heading for Fort Ord. He was never seen again. His parents tried to get the police and the Army to search for him, but little was done. Three months later, his car was found abandoned at a beachfront motel near Monterey. Justin's name was not on the motel guest list at all during those three months. Justin's handguns were not in the trunk, but his briefcase, car keys, wallet, credit cards and military ID were. Also in the trunk of the car were Justin's military dog tags, which reminded Iolanda of a bizarre incident where Justin asked her if she knew what dog tags were for. When she said she did not know, he explained they are used to identify soldiers, and that if she saw them lying around, it meant he was dead.
His family and friends started hearing rumors that he was possibly murdered due to connections to Army Intelligence. However, others believe that Justin ran away from the military and made up this bizarre story to cover his disappearance. His case remains unsolved.
Suspects: None known; some suspect that the military may have been involved in his disappearance. Others suspect that he vanished voluntarily.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 12, 1995 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Justin's mother, Diane Burgwinkel, who was in the segment, died in 2006. In her obituary, it is listed that Justin pre-deceased her.
- Justin Burgwinkel on Unsolved.com
- Justin Burgwinkel on The Charley Project
- Justin Burgwinkel at Find a Grave
- Justin Burgwinkel on Missing Veterans
- Sitcoms Online Discussion on Justin's Case