Gilmer, TX

30 years ago, a teen vanished after a late shift at the local video store. What happened to Kelly Dae Wilson?

Fatim Hemraj

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Kelly Dae WilsonDPS Texas

Kelly Dae Wilson lived in Gilmer, Texas, a city with a small-town feel and a population of less than 5,000, with her parents. The 17-year-old was a senior at Gilmer High School and worked at Northeast Texas Video.

On January 5, 1992, Kelly worked her shift alongside the store’s owner, Joe David Henry. At 8:30 pm, they both closed up and left; According to The Trail Went Cold podcast, Joe went home while Kelly drove to the bank around the corner to drop off the nightly deposit.

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Northeast Video at 100 Buffalo St is now closed and an abandoned storefront sits in its placeGoogle Maps

According to local newspapers printed at the time, bank surveillance footage showed Kelly’s 1985 Dodge Charger in the drive-through but she never made it home. At 5 am the next morning, Kelly’s stepfather drove to Northeast Video in search of her. Instead, he found her car unlocked with the left rear tire slashed. Kelly’s purse and all of her belongings were inside but the keys were missing. She was never seen again.

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Kelly’s car was found parked at the video store — the keys were inside and the left rear tire was slashedKETK

Suspects

Joe David Henry

Joe was the last known person to see Kelly. He told authorities he last saw her standing next to her vehicle as they said goodbye. As the store owner, it was usually Joe’s responsibility to drop off the nightly deposit but he claimed he asked Kelly to do so since he was rushing home to take care of his sick mother. According to KETK News, Joe had an alibi and passed a polygraph test. He has never been named a suspect in Kelly’s disappearance.

Michael Biby

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Michael BibyYouTube

The 17-year-old was a schoolmate and acquaintance of Kelly’s. An investigation concluded it was Michael who had slashed Kelly’s tire. Several other tires were also slashed in the area that week, including a co-worker of Kelly’s two days prior. He maintains his innocence in Kelly’s disappearance, insisting it was simply a coincidence.

Christopher Denton

Chris was Kelly’s on-again-off-again boyfriend. The couple engaged in an argument the night before her disappearance and Chris was known to have a bad temper. He failed a polygraph test and did not have a solid alibi.

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Christopher DentonYouTube

A month after Kelly vanished, Chris drove to Louisiana and sold his 1984 Chevrolet Celebrity that he had only owned for six months to a dealer who shipped it to Mexico. According to Find Kelly Dae Wilson blog, authorities tracked the vehicle down. Strands of hair were found inside and the truck mat was missing. Chris was named the prime suspect in the case but no charges were ever filed. He died of cancer in 2004 and maintained his innocence in Kelly’s disappearance until his last breath.

Brian Ward

Brian is Christopher Denton’s cousin. He told detectives he worked on the day of Kelly’s disappearance and spent the night with Chris, driving around in his pickup truck. However, time cards proved Brian did not work that day and his supervisor claimed he asked her to lie about an alibi because he and Chris had “messed with Kelly” at the video store 15 minutes before closing. Despite her statement, Joe Henry insisted the store was empty. Unfortunately, there was no surveillance footage available to corroborate any of these claims.

Like Chris, Brian also failed a polygraph test administered by the FBI. He was later charged with perjury for lying about his whereabouts on the night of Kelly’s disappearance. He continues to maintain his innocence.

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The bank was only 0.2 miles away from the video storeGoogle Maps

Although Kelly’s left rear tire was slashed, it’s possible she didn’t notice and drove to the bank anyway, which was only a few blocks away. She likely noticed the flat tire during the drive and returned to the video store to call for help using a payphone or to hitch a ride home.

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An age-progression photo of Kelly at 42National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

30 years have passed by and yet, no one has been charged in relation to Kelly’s disappearance. According to The Charley Project, she was last seen wearing a dark purple rugby shirt, blue jean shorts, brown loafers and several gold rings as well as a gold watch. She was 5'7" and 120 lbs with blue eyes and brown hair that was bleached blonde. If alive, Kelly would be 47 today.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Kelly Dae Wilson, contact the Gilmer Police Department at 903-843-5545.

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