Dail Boxley Dinwiddie (April 12, 1969 – missing Sept 24, 1992) was 23 years old when she went missing. This is the oldest missing-persons case for Columbia police, South Carolina.
Dail Boxley Dinwiddie (23) is a graduate of the Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. In 1991, she graduated from Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, with a degree in art history. This school is now coeducational and is simply called Randolph College. She had plans to attend graduate school at the University of South Carolina.
On September 24, 1992 Dail had not returned home. She was out with friends. They had tickets to see U2 on their “Zootopia” tour at the Williams-Brice Stadium. The group used several cars for transportation that night. The authorities think that as her friends slowly made their way home, they all though there were enough drivers left to give the others a ride home.
After the concert, Dail and her friends went to the Five Points area. She was last seen around 130am by a bouncer at a bar called Jungle Jim’s. This bar is now called The Horseshoe and is located at 724 Harden St. according to Mark Vinson, a Columbia police cold case investigator.
Dail left there to go look for her friends. She had no ride home. “She was last seen walking toward the Harden and Greene Street intersection,” says the Dinwiddie family in a statement released by police.
If we had social media in place at the time Dail vanished we might have been able to search more clips, pictures, scan more tweets or messages about the crowds, etc. Alas, there isn’t much to go on. Unlike today, there were no security cameras in Five Points and police did not patrol the area as often as they do now.
Dail lived at home with her brother Drew and parents Jean & Dan Dinwiddie. There is reason to believe she fully intended to come back home after the concert. Dail has severe asthma and allergies. To keep those under control, she needs injections two times per week and an inhaler. After checking her room, she didn’t appear to have taken any medication with her that night. Someone who has such severe allergies and asthma would never do that. Also, others say she is “careful and pragmatic.” It sounds unlikely that she ran away without her medications. Police are convinced that Dail was kidnapped.
Dail is 5 feet tall, weighs around 100 lbs., has brown hair, brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a forest green pullover shirt, faded blue jeans, a blue nylon L.L. Bean jacket, and tennis shoes. One finger on each of her hands is noticeably curved. I have not found which finger or how they got so curved. Dail’s dental records and DNA are on file.
Dail’s case reminds me of the 2009 Harrington Murder.
Morgan Dana Harrington (July 24, 1989 – Oct 17, 2009)
Morgan was a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. She was just twenty years old when she disappeared. Like Dail, she had gone to see a band live in concert with a group of friends. Like Dail, she got separated. Like Dail, she needed to find another way to get home.
Morgan disappeared from the John Paul Jones Arena during a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville. Her remains were found three months later on rural farmland. DNA later indicated Jesse L. Matthew, Jr. as a match. He was also the prime suspect in the murder of Hannah Graham. Hanna was a UVA student who was abducted on Sept 13, 2014.
During Metallica’s opening act, Harrington told her friends that she needed to use the restrooms. When she did not come back, they called her cell phone around 848pm. Harrington answered and said that she was locked out of the arena because of their “no re-entry” policy. She said she would find another way home. They should not worry and enjoy the show. Witnesses reported seeing Harrington hitchhike around 930pm on a bridge near the Arena.
On Sept 15, 2015, Matthew, Jr. was formally charged with first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in the murder of Harrington. On March 2, 2016, he plead guilty to the abductions and murders of both Graham and Harrington. He was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Under the plea agreement terms, Matthew gives up his right to appeal and would not be eligible for compassionate/geriatric release.
Richland County sheriff Leon Lott and the dozens of investigators who have worked on the case through the years remain frustrated by a lack of evidence and eyewitnesses. Lott wasn’t sheriff when Dail disappeared, but has promised her parents that the search for their daughter will continue.
If you have information about Dail Dinwiddie, contact Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott at (803) 576-3021 or Columbia police investigator Mark Vinson at (803) 315-3750. There is a $20,000 reward in the case.