It has been eight years since my friend Wendell Munson disappeared. He has not been seen by his friends and family since February 13, 1984. Most of you remember him as the longtime Ellicott City Middle School teacher who vanished under mysterious circumstances. His disappearance was the subject of an article by Michael James in this paper on May 27, 1990.
If you recall, Munson was to be a witness the week of his disappearance at the trial of chop shop operator Dennis L. Watson. Watson had sold a 1973 Datsun 240Z to Munson, who was unaware that the car was stolen. One theory is that Munson's disappearance may have been connected to his role in the trial.
Watson, a convicted car thief and chop shop operator, was paroledfrom prison in September 1989, after serving five years of a plea-bargained 10-year sentence.
Another theory is that Munson had experienced a number of personal difficulties at the time and perhaps had decided he needed a change by dropping out of sight, maybe assuming a new identity somewhere else in the country. He had seemingly joked about doing so before. A number of what appeared to be loose ends to his personal life were tied up by Munson shortly before he vanished.
The police who were involved in the case believe the first theory may be correct, while there are those of us who try to hold out hope, probably in vain, for the second. As I see it, the police have such a heavy workload with other cases that they may never get to do anotherthing with this case. That is, unless new evidence is furnished to them. There has been movement in the case for years.
Munson was legally ruled dead, "the victim of a presumed homicide," by a Kent County judge in a civil court proceeding on May 28, 1985.
In order to get something moving on this case, on several occasions I have sent information and newspaper clippings to NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries" television show. Each time I have been rejected.
I am going to resubmitthis story to "Unsolved Mysteries" shortly. It has been shown how successful this program has been during the past few years in solving missing persons cases. The Munson case is as fascinating and as troubling as any of the program's recent airings.
Perhaps if enough of us who knew Wendell Munson as a friend, co-worker or teacher requestedthe show to consider airing this case, our sheer numbers may help them make up their minds. I feel sure that someone know what happened to Munson, and after seeing a national broadcast, may come forward. Atthe very least, the case may get a new life.
If Munson disappeared on his own, we just want to know that he is alive and well. If he was murdered, then someone must be brought to justice for this crime. It it was foul play, a valuable person was removed from our community. After eight years, there needs to be some closure. There are those of us who need to have an answer to the question: Whatever happened to Wendell Munson?