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Old 05-03-2009, 12:05 AM   #1
lilmissd
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Default Don Kemp Unexplained Death

I'm sure most of you remember the weird case of Don Kemp from 1982 who's SUV was found abandoned out in the Wyoming prairie, it's doors open, engine running and his clothes scattered all over the highway. But Don Kemp was no where to be found! Four years after Don's disappearance his body was found just a few miles from where his blazer was abandoned. The sheriff believes that Don froze to death in a blizzard 3 days after he was lost. Don was an advertising executive in New York City until he became disabled in a car accident. After his recovery he decided to move away, so he sold everything he owned and drove west. His destination was Jackson Hole WY, where he was planning to write a book about Abraham Lincoln's assassination. The day before he disappeared Don was last seen at a museum in Cheyenne. The next day is when the highway patrol came upon Don's abandoned car. The first question is why would Don leave his vehicle out in the middle of nowhere? It was 40 miles from any town, running, his stuff strewn about everywhere, and the doors open. The trooper commented that it was a relatively new vehicle, not one that someone was just leave like that. Everyone seemed to think that Don wandered off, but why would anyone want to wander around out in the prairie in the middle of winter. Some of Don's belongings were located later that day in a duffle bag. Don's mother seems to think he was abducted. Apparently there were sightings of Don after he went missing and also some mysterious phone calls. He was sighted 150 miles away in Casper, WY 5 months after he disappeared someone remembered Don in a tavern. Also one of Don's friends apparently received messages on her answering machine from him asking her to call him back and a phone number. She called, but was told that Don was not there. The telephone records show that the calls came from a trailer in Casper, but the man who was renting the trailer said he never made or had no knowledge of the phone calls! I think either Don was there and he lied about it or maybe the woman had the phone number wrong. If Don was abducted how was he able to make phone calls from the trailer? Too many things about this case don't add up!
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:57 AM   #2
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I don't believe he went anywhere...I think he was either disoriented or stopped off to take a leak and then got disoriented, wandered away from his vehicle and died in the blizzard. How his socks got elsewhere...I can't explain that unless perhaps someone went through his things in his vehicle after he was gone. I don't believe the phone calls or the sightings.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostapler
I don't believe he went anywhere...I think he was either disoriented or stopped off to take a leak and then got disoriented, wandered away from his vehicle and died in the blizzard. How his socks got elsewhere...I can't explain that unless perhaps someone went through his things in his vehicle after he was gone. I don't believe the phone calls or the sightings.
Yeah, I agree. I've always wondered if, maybe, there was something wrong with his car, and he was getting slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide. Didn't that happen in another case on UM?
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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Yeah, I agree. I've always wondered if, maybe, there was something wrong with his car, and he was getting slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide. Didn't that happen in another case on UM?

I'm pretty sure you're thinking of the death of Kenneth Engie, the Edmore, ND auto mechanic. One of the possible (and most likely, IMO) theories there was that Engie had driven his truck into his (unventilated) garage after a "brawl" with a friend over a barmaid, gotten out of his vehicle without turning off the ignition, and passed out on the floor, intoxicated, before he could reach the door.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegtheEgg86
I'm pretty sure you're thinking of the death of Kenneth Engie, the Edmore, ND auto mechanic. One of the possible (and most likely, IMO) theories there was that Engie had driven his truck into his (unventilated) garage after a "brawl" with a friend over a barmaid, gotten out of his vehicle without turning off the ignition, and passed out on the floor, intoxicated, before he could reach the door.


No, yuppie's right. I can't remember the man's name, but there was a man who's car was slowly leaking carbon monoxide. His car was found working but abandoned on a highway, and he had written a lot of notes in the margins of his Bible that he left in the car. They theorized that the carbon monoxide poisoning may have disoriented him and he wandered off.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:46 PM   #6
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No, yuppie's right. I can't remember the man's name, but there was a man who's car was slowly leaking carbon monoxide. His car was found working but abandoned on a highway, and he had written a lot of notes in the margins of his Bible that he left in the car. They theorized that the carbon monoxide poisoning may have disoriented him and he wandered off.
Yes, that's the one I'm thinking of. The guy was apparently showing up at homeless shelters, not really knowing who he was. His mother and sister, I think, came to get his car, and they noticed something wrong, and when the took the car to a mechanic, it was discovered that there was some defect that was causing carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment of the car.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:59 PM   #7
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Yes, that's the one I'm thinking of. The guy was apparently showing up at homeless shelters, not really knowing who he was. His mother and sister, I think, came to get his car, and they noticed something wrong, and when the took the car to a mechanic, it was discovered that there was some defect that was causing carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment of the car.

Oh, yes. I had almost completely forgotten about that one; I saw "carbon monoxide" and ran with the first thing that came to mind. Sorry, guys!
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:14 PM   #8
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Sounds like the Dan Wilson case. IIRC, his remains were found several years later not too far from his vehicle. It was theorized that he became disoriented and wandered off. The sightings of Dan at the homeless shelters must have been erroneous.

EDIT: The victim's name was Dan Wilson. I originally typed Dan Short.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:37 PM   #9
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I have posted my thoughts before on the Don Kemp case. I think he wandered off and died, possibly in that blizzard that hit the area in the days after his vehicle was recovered.

Crystaldawn and I were discussing the case in depth recently and she suggested something interesting I hadn't before considered. In the segment, Burr mentioned that Don had been in a debilitating motor vehicle accident in the years before his disappearance and death. His family even talked about how Don seemed to become disillusioned with his affluent lifestyle after this incident.

Perhaps Don was suffering from some type of mental illness after that earlier car accident. Something that he saw or an experience he had while on the road in Wyoming may have triggered flashbacks of the earlier accident causing him to have a mental break or to become disoriented. A similar theory was proposed in the Kristi Krebs case.

The phone calls are the strangest aspect of this story by far. They were made allegedly by Don four months after his car was found and in a town hundreds of miles away. Phone records verified that the calls did come from a trailer home, but the trailer's owner denied making the calls and said he didn't notice the charges on the bills.

It would be easy to dismiss the calls as a prank of some sort except for two issues. First, they were received by a friend of Don's. How a prankster would have gotten this person's number is questionable. Second, answer machine messages were left, and the friend claimed she recognized the voice as Don's. In one instance, she returned the call, and the person who answered the phone said that Don wasn't home at the time.

While the calls are intriguing, if we are to believe that they were made by Don Kemp then we have to accept that he somehow staged his disappearance, or was abducted from the area where his Jeep was found. He was taken to the city of Casper, Wyoming and lived for at least four months after his car was recovered. He possibly lived with the man in the trailer. He made some phone calls during this time. Then, he either died, or was murdered, and his body was transported back to the area where he disappeared from originally. A very incredible scenario if it's true.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:06 AM   #10
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Hmm, I must say I agree Justin. The chances are Don Kemp for reasons unknown disappeared on his own accord. I also agree it is highly probable that Don Kemp suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and some sort of other emotional/mental illness. It seems Don's mother was determined to believe he was murdered for some reason. I mean you would have to believe that not only was Don either kidnapped or disappeared on his own accord but that he somehow made it to Casper, Wyoming, lived there for months on end yet somehow showed up dead only three miles from where his vehicle was abandoned. Plus all the other clues, you would have to believe the sticks and socks were all staged, that somehow the shoe prints in the snow were planted there by some unknown person. No, in my opinion this was a natural albeit bizarre death. Hey Justin, did you get my pm?
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
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Kadrmas - No, please resend. thx.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:22 PM   #12
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The thing that doesn't make sense to me though is that how could the searchers overlooked Don's body when it was only about 3 miles away from his SUV? They searched that area very thoroughly a few days after Don went missing and found nothing. I just don't think Don's body was out there at that time. Plus, he was seen at a museum the day before his disappearence and wasn't noticed to be acting funny or anything. Too many things about this case just don't add up in my opinion!
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmissd
The thing that doesn't make sense to me though is that how could the searchers overlooked Don's body when it was only about 3 miles away from his SUV? They searched that area very thoroughly a few days after Don went missing and found nothing. I just don't think Don's body was out there at that time. Plus, he was seen at a museum the day before his disappearence and wasn't noticed to be acting funny or anything. Too many things about this case just don't add up in my opinion!

The fact that his body wasn't immediately recovered means nothing. The area was hit by a blizzard three days after his vehicle was recovered and the search was halted - it may have even been called off entirely after the storm, I can't remember. There was also some evidence that suggested he may have been trying to evade the searchers. He could have been hiding out on day 2 of the search, and tried to make his way back to his vehicle on day 3 and collapsed in the snow. There is no way to know, but just because they missed his body in a huge territory doesn't mean it wasn't there. His evasive actions seem to fit with the mental break theory too. He could have been paranoid.

If he suffered a stroke or a mental break while on the road in Wyoming he may not have necessarily been showing signs before that anyone would have noticed.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:28 PM   #14
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Yeah I think there is too much stake being put into the circumstantial evidence surrounding this case...the guy obviously was not all there, wandered off and died from exposure.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:10 AM   #15
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you must have been reading my mind. i saw that one the other day and thought it was so strange. i also thought it strange about the calls in that trailer. that's no accident. i always thought the trailer should've been checked out if possible (maybe even in a slick way). or the call could've been traced to make sure that was the right number, something more should've been done.
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