6/10/06 UPDATE — THE STATE, Columbia’s newspaper, has a story today. New DNA found in Dail’s case…
It happens everyday. You hear it on the news, read it in the
papers, see alerts on the highway signs. And with the advent of the 24-hour news
cycle, Amber Alerts and a more responsive police force, these commonplace
disappearances sometimes end with good news. I wish that could happen for Dail.
The facts of this case are cut and dried. On the evening of September 23, 1992, Dail attended a U2
concert. When the concert ended, she headed down to the Five Points area of
Columbia with a few friends. They finished the evening at a bar called Jungle
Jim’s. She got separated from her friends, and spoke to the bouncer at
approximately 1:15 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. He remembers her leaving the bar as if she
was going to walk home. She went north on Harden Street. And then she simply
She was wearing an olive green long sleeved shirt, a blue LL Bean jacket tied around her waist, faded
blue jeans and brown boots. She’s barely five feet tall and less than 100
pounds, has light brown hair and brown eyes. Her ears are pierced, and she has a crippled finger on each hand.
On every missing poster, under circumstances of
disappearance, the words UNKNOWN and ENDANGERED MISSING appear. The posters,
which were plastered everywhere we could get them, all over the country, read:
Despite a $50,000 reward, no credible links have been made to Dail’s disappearance.
What happened to Dail? She wasn’t the type of girl to just
run off. She lived at home, was taking art classes with an eye on graduate
school (she majored in Art History at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.) Her
parents and close friends immediately knew something was dreadfully wrong; she
just wouldn’t have not come home, not called, if she could.
Dail and I went to college together. I don’t claim to be one
of her closest friends. Though RMWC is a small school, she and I didn’t cross
paths until senior year. The Dail I remember was a bright, fun woman whose smile
could light up a room. She had an infectious laugh. She was smart as a whip.
I remember getting that phone call – Did you hear? Dail’s
gone missing. I remember how my heart sank. How I felt like there was nothing I
could do. How my fervent prayers went unanswered, and slowly, over the years,
Dail’s face faded from the news cycle.
I have a little bit of Dail’s case in each of my books,
something of a tribute to her. She has become a number, which saddens me. She’s
in the Nation’s Missing Children Organization and Center for Missing Adults
(MPCCN Case File 455F90) She is part of the Doe Network (Case
File 635DFSC), and The Kristen Foundation (Investigative Case Number
92-31749). She is listed in news stories, columns, even appears in Wikipedia
under the heading of Missing White Girl Syndrome.
None of that is important. Finding Dail is all that matters.
If you know anything, or think you know someone who might, please call the
Columbia Police Department at 803-545-3525, or the South Carolina Law
Enforcement Division (SLED) at 803-737-9000.
The case is open, and they’ll listen to anything you have to