You're listening to Witness, Fade to Black. Before you dive in, if you want to listen to the whole story, uninterrupted, you can. Unlock the entire season ad-free right now with a subscription to The Binge. That's all episodes, all at once. Unlock your listening now by clicking subscribe at the top of The Witness show page on Apple Podcasts, or visit getthebinge. Com to get access wherever you get your podcasts. Campside Media. The bench. [department.
I didn't understand that people go missing this way. Not until you either, if you're in law enforcement or something like that, or if you actually have it happen to someone you know, it's a very odd thing. You don't know how to handle it. I always say to people, You have no idea what it's like to lose a human being on your watch. It was a.
Few minutes after 1:00 a. M. On June 28th, 1997, and Wendy Oates-Divore was alone in bed, waiting for her husband, Gary, to call her back. At the time, they lived in a small beach house on a windswep lane in Montecito, California, about an hour north of L. A. Wendy's husband, Gary Divore, was a screenwriter known for some of the biggest action films of the era, starring people like Tommy Lee Jones, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was driving home from a work trip that night. Saturday, June 28th was a date that would become infamous to a lot of people around the world because of a heavyweight boxing match in Vegas.
And some nasty stuff in.
Seemed to be a bite almost. Holyfield is very unhappy.
Yeah, the one where Mike Tyson bit the ear off his opponent, the van der Holifield. That was definitely a bite. But that hadn't happened yet. The fight had been Wendy's mind all day because Gary had rented it on pay-per-view, which was a thing then because it was new. They were having friends over to watch it that evening, and Wendy expected Gary to arrive back in plenty of time.
Gary went to Santa Fe to stay with Marcia Mason, who was a very dear old friend.
Marcia Mason, the four time Academy Award nominated actor and amateur race car driver, was an old friend of Gary's. She and her partner had a guest room where he often stayed to write.
He had been a truck driver when he was young, and when he was trying to work out scripts and ideas, he loved taking very long drives so that he could think about what he was writing.
Gary had gone to New Mexico to finish the adaptation of a script he was excited about, but which had been dogging him. It was called The Big Steel. Gary had made most of his money in recent years as a rewrite guy, punching up other people's action films about a stolen US Army payroll. What are you looking for? Just a few hundred thousand dollars. There's nothing here. Early on that Friday morning of his return, before he got behind the wheel of his white, Eddie Bauer edition, Ford Explorer, to begin the 897-mile drive home, Garry had phoned Wendy to say he had a breakthrough. He was finally ready to get back and deliver his script. He left after lunch, calling Wendy frequently along the way.
I mean, I talked to Gary a dozen times a day. He called me all the time from the road. It was certainly not normal not to hear from him.
Gary's last call to Wendy had been at 12:38 AM. He told her he was pulling in for a cup of coffee at a Denny's in the Mojavey Desert, and that he'd call her again when he was back on the road and just a few minutes, but 45 minutes passed and Wendy was getting impatient.
Well, it was the middle of the night. I slept in the buff. We had a gate that I used to go out and open for him when I was staying up and waiting for him to come in. I was trying to decide whether to throw on some clothes and go out and open the gate or wait for his next call. I gave him enough time to have a cup of coffee, and then I got mad. I wanted to go to sleep, so I said, Oh, screw it. I'm going to call him right now. I called him. I needed an answer. I called three times, and then I got really concerned.
As she waited for Gary's call on that cool June night, Wendy could hear the waves rolling into the sand just a few feet from her window. The silence of her phone had become deafening. And then at 1:15 in the morning- The phone.
Rang, and it was him. And he said, was that you calling? And I said, Well, who else would it be at one o'clock in the morning? And he didn't even respond to that. And I said, Gary, are you okay? And he said, I'm pumping pure adrenaline here. And I said, Gary. And he said, Got to go. Writers picked their words very carefully. I'm pumping pure adrenaline here is not a normal thing that he would say, ever.
And there was something else.
You could tell back then very easily if a person was on a cell phone as opposed to a landline, and he was on a landline. And he was on a landline, and I knew that. And for.
Wendy, one final point. We made a deal.
With each other that when we hung up the phone, we would always say, I love you. We'd made so many mistakes in all of our relationships. This is what we did. It was the only time in our whole relationship that he said, got to go. He didn't say, I love you. And he hung. I mean, it was gone.
The last ping from Gary's cell phone was picked up by a relay tower in the Mojave Desert at 1:20 AM, near that Denny's, where Gary had stopped for coffee. This Denny's has to be one of the most remote Denny's on the entire planet. Placed there, probably because it's at a critical juncture, just 20 miles from Edwards Air Force Base and the desert industrial town of Palmdale, home of the Lockheed Skunkworks and the Stealth Bomber. It's also just off Highway 14, the road Gary was on when he vanished. A modern superhighway built in the '70s with twisting elevated concrete spans carved through the rock canyons. It's remote but heavily traveled, and that's what drove people crazy about Gary's disappearance from the very beginning. The area around it is sparsely populated. There are barely any trees and just zero urban cover. How could Gary and his 4,000 pound Ford Explorer have just vanished into this barren landscape without a trace? Now, as Wendy sat there wondering why Gary had acted so strangely on the phone, something he told her popped into her mind. Over the coming months, these words would haunt her.
Gary told me that this script was going to blow the lid off the CIA, and I just chalked it up to his enthusiasm and his ego.
From Campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, I'm Josh Dean, and this is Fade to Black. Episode one, pumping pure adrenaline. The disappearance of Gary Divore in 1997 was a huge story when it happened. But today, more than 20 years later, it's maybe even bigger, at least in certain circles, having taken on an entire second life as an internet conspiracy theory. For sure, we're living in an age when internet conspiracy theories have become a plague. What Wendy Divore thought was a throwaway line from Gary about his script blowing the lid off the CIA would end up becoming central to every conspiracy theory and question that still surrounds his disappearance today. What was Gary's actual relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency? Who had he been meeting with before he vanished? And was the CIA somehow involved in his possible abduction or even murder? I'm a journalist and I have an open mind, but I think most conspiracy theories are ridiculous, if not dangerous, because the bad ones drive out the truth. And yet what makes them so tricky to debunk is that they're often rooted in some kernel of truth. And this one about the missing screenwriter who disappeared into the desert, it's really a mind bender because there are real anomalies in the accounts of what happened to Gary, and they haven't been fully answered to this day.
I vaguely remember reading about his story before it was a conspiracy theory, when it was simply an impossible question. How did this screenwriter, his truck, and his laptop containing the first script he was ever going to direct, seemingly all vanished into thin air on a desert highway just 85 miles from L. A. But there's another reason this story hooked me when it popped back onto my radar about a year ago. I've written about the CIA a lot. I once spoke at CIA headquarters in Langley. I've become friends with some CIA officers, and two people very close to my family have worked for the agency. I understand very well how so much of the CIA's power lies at this intersection of truth and fiction. The agency, maybe more than anything, wants its adversaries, typically foreign adversaries, to wonder just what are these people capable of? I wrote a book about a scheme the CIA hatched in the 60s when they invented an entire industry, deep sea mining, and got Howard Hughes to provide the cover story just to try to steal a Soviet submarine that had sunk at the bottom of the Pacific. And I've always loved shows like Homeland, created in part by former Israeli spies that explore fictitious CIA conspiracies that easily could be real.
In Homeland, the main character, Carrie Matheson, played by Claire Danes, is a CIA officer wrestling with severe mental illness. Is it tie in? Are we going?
To work? We got to hop too. We got a haul ass to Langley. Carrie herself was often uncertain whether what she was witnessing in the CIA was real or imagined, whether she was putting the facts together properly or losing her mind.
They have to.
Understand, Saul. And Zier's movements in green after fallow yellow always creeping towards purple are methodical, meaningful, momentous, and non-sense. Okay, I'm going to get you a bit more out of there to settle you down. I don't need to settle down. This show's co-creator, Evan Wright, wrote on Homeland. He's also covered the CIA at length. He knows all about the gray areas of the intel world. And when he and producer Megan Donis first sat down with Wendy Duvore, it struck them that she had been living a similar version of Cary Matheson's life. The moment Gary vanished and Wendy ventured forth, searching for answers, she entered a bizarre new reality. One where the key facts about Gary and her life with him started to unravel. It was as if Wendy wandered into the shadowy underground of whatever conspiracy or conspiracy theory, swallowed Gary up that night, and she's been trapped there ever since. Part of our motivation in taking on this investigation was to find real facts, hopefully something new or overlooked that can help set Wendy free from the limbo she's been living in for nearly 30 years. But first, let's go back to the 1990s, the dawn of a particular moment in the history of American media.
Hello, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching Inside Edition. First up today, the trial that everybody is watching. Part of the reason Gary's story initially blew up is because his disappearance came at this moment. You know, things have really fallen fast for pop stars Millie Vanilly. They're at the top selling millions of records and winning a Grammy, then the lip sync scandal and now a suicide attempt. We'll have the very latest in just a- Bill O'Reilly looked like he never showered in the 90s. He was too busy because that's when shows like Inside Edition, Hard Copy, even the Soft and Cuddly Entertainment Tonight, discovered the immense ratings value of true Hollywood crime. Sleasy tabloid news took over as mainstream media struggled to catch up and cashed in on the ratings bonanza of mayhem in the lives of the rich and famous.
Eric and Lyle Menendez, the infamous brothers, the savagery of their crime.
Ever took a more dramatic turn than a couple of savage Beverly Hills killings. The victims were a man and his wife. He helped finance such movie hits as.
Blood, Part Two, and Red Heat. And that was just a warm-up. O. J. Simpson, football star, movie star, was described as armed and dangerous, and if found, he could face the death penalty for the murders of Nicole.
Ronald Goldman. What had previously been the stuff of trashy daytime TV became nightly news. We've a lot been said about Princess Diana and her.
With Dodi Al-Fahed.
But we found.
Someone who was.
There in the last-.
Gary disappeared in the brief interregnum between the O. J. Murder story and the death of Diana, who would pass away, chased by paparazzi in a fiery Paris car crash some two months later. For a short period there, Gary was the story. The search is on tonight.
For a local.
Screenwriter who never arrived.
From an out-of-town trip.
The Highway Patrol and the L. A. County Sheriff's Department have both been on the lookout for any sign of Divor's car, and so far they tell us they have nothing.
To report. It's like Gary Divore simply vanished into thin air. Gary's disappearance was also a giant business story in Hollywood. R. K. O. Pictures, the studio financing has filmed The Big Steel, had bet its future on him, securing financing that was contingent on Gary turning in his script. But his most recent draft of the screenplay had disappeared along with him. It was apparently stored in the laptop computer he'd had with him in The Ford Explorer, now missing in action. As the rest of the media dove into this Hollywood mystery, Gary increasingly resembled a character from one of his own thrillers. On this episode of mysteries and will bring you never before heard interviews concerning the bizarre vanishing act of Gary Duvore.
Something's happened to him. He's either run off or been kidnapped. I don't think any of us ever saw Gary as a victim. Gary was a guy you went into the bad part of town with. That was part of the shock of his disappearance.
Of course, no one was more shocked than Wendy. She barely slept that night. Her mind was racing.
I was completely freaked out, and I was waiting for him to get home so I could yell at him. I was waiting for him to get home so I could tell him how much he had upset me. And also I was going to open up the gate and all of that, and then nothing. Nothing. He never came home.
And yet the reality that Gary was gone hadn't hit.
I didn't really understand that this had happened until I went out to open the gate in the morning. I mean, I thought he should have been coming in. And then who lived in the house in front of us, came out and said, What are you doing? I said, I don't know. Gary was supposed to have come home, and he didn't. He didn't come. If it weren't for Jim, I don't know that I would have ever called the police.
Once the gravity set in, Wendy hit the ground running. She began making calls to anyone she could think of. She traced Gary's route, found hospitals, police departments, seven Native American reservations that he would have driven past. Wendy called every possible authority she could find. There was no sign of Gary or his vehicle anywhere. She next called Gary's best friend and former writing partner, David Devin.
I got a call from Wendy who said, I haven't heard from Gary. I said, Well.
He stopped for something or something. No, he always calls me when he's supposed to call me. And this time he called me and he said something that is so Gary, but so scary, and said, according to Wendy, I'm pumping pure adrenaline. I'll never forget that. I'll never forget that. I'm pumping pure adrenaline. And that sounds like... That sounds like like Gary DeVore. That really sounded like Gary.
And by that, David meant it sounded like a dramatic line Gary would have written in one of his scripts when a character was in a threatened position, say. And David would know. He and Gary had met in their early 20s, both trying to break into Hollywood. Writing jokes for the dating game and other game shows that in the late 60s have become hugely popular because of their risky humor. Gary and David lived together, slept with the same women, fought over the same women, sometimes were dumped by the same women. Devin went on to marry stalker, Channing, who played Rizzo in Greece and starring in Six Degrees of Separation on Broadway. David and Gary were so close they finished each other's sentences in person and in the scripts they wrote together. David had a feeling from the moment Wendy called that something was very wrong.
He's either running from something or after something. He wasn't the type that would just sit around and steam. He would take some kindof action.
Even 20-plus years later, David is still running theories in his head about what could have happened to his best friend.
He was a good driver, but he could be someone who made a mistake because he was so emotional at that point.
What about drugs?
No, he didn't take drugs. That was my job. All right, well, yeah. You got to be a backup sometime.
Afternoon, Wendy already had guests arriving from L. A. For the fight party. It was just too late and too weird to call it off. One of Wendy's closest friends was among them.
My name is Rebecca Holden, and I'm a friend of Wendy's.
That's an understatement, but that's all right.
When they met, Rebecca Holden was an aspiring actor from Texas who had become famous as the Breck shampoo girl, but was still trying to break into film or TV. They met at a table read, and Wendy immediately took Rebecca under her wing.
All I know is Wendy said, You can be big in this town, but you need to do this and this and this and this and this. And she was at Universal. She knew all the.
People there. Rebecca would go on to play April on Nightwriter, the TV series starring David Hasselhoff in a talking car in the 1980s. She remained close with Wendy and was among the first people to drive up to Montecito the moment Gary disappeared.
Wendy doesn't show her weakness. I mean, she's always there for everybody else. You would look at Wendy and think, She's got everything under control all the time. So for a situation to occur over which she has no control, that was different. And so me being in a position to want to watch out for her, I think she was so desperate for any leads or any help that could come from anywhere that she didn't have a guard up.
Another call Wendy made that morning was to a woman she'd barely ever spoken to before, one of Gary's previous wives, Claudia Christian. Gary had a string of Hollywood marriages before Wendy. His third wife, Claudia Christian, played commander even over on the sci-fi TV series Babylon Five, but was almost more famous in some circles for being the long time lover of Dodie Fahed, who was also involved with Princess Diana. Claudia was having with her friends that morning when Wendy called.
We were all at Claudia's house.
Was a whole group of us at Claudia's house. It was during the day.
That's Damon Reiser, a childhood friend of Claudia, who she brought to Hollywood as her assistant after high school when she started to be cast in TV shows like Dallas.
Wendy called because she was looking for him, right? It was like he disappeared the night, so she was like, By any chance have you heard from Gary? And of course, was no.
As Claudia's personal assistant when she and Gary met, Damon knew Gary well.
There was a part of Gary, as far as I was concerned, that was cool as shit. He'd tell me stories, Oh, my God. This is cool. Oh, my God. I was a 21-year-old kid. It was awesome.
Wendy's call that morning, though, seemed completely out of the blue. He didn't know her at all, and neither did Claudia.
I don't think they had ever actually met before that. Unfortunately, it's so Hollywood. It was the fourth marriage.
Yeah, both women deeply cared about Gary, and Claudia was determined to find some answers.
Your first reaction is, Well, we got to do something. But it's like, What the hell do you do? He was driving back from New Mexico for God's sakes. He was the middle of the Mojave Desert.
But Claudia had resources. On a film, she'd met a military adviser who worked in Special Forces.
I called and I said, Okay, what the hell can we do? And he was like, Well, we could hire a helicopter. We could hire a helicopter and search. I have two guys. They have some infrared heat seeking camera, search and rescue type stuff. He said, I got them.
They'll do a grid. Because here's the thing. None of Gary's friends could picture the Gary DeVore they knew being kidnapped or killed in the Mojavee Desert. He was tough.
I don't know what to tell you. He was a tough guy. He wouldn't have gone easily. How's that? I mean, it would have been a thing. I think if you look at most of the interviews that were done at that time, that was the attitude. Most of his friends were like, Dude, Gary, are you kidding? Yeah, the disappearing was just the weirdest thing.
There's a mystery on the Caribbean Island of Grenada. I just want to ask to be clear. Did you ever see the body of Mauryse Bishop? No. You're sure?
40 years ago, the remains of the Prime Minister went missing, and.
We've been trying to.
Figure out what happened. I can tell you, in my words, this thing stinks. I'm Martene Powers with The Washington Post. The empty grave of Comrade Bishop is out now. Follow and listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Have you ever seriously pissed off your in-laws? A couple of years ago, I started investigating a murder in my family. Why would I do something so stupid? Well, partly because I've come to suspect that the woman who was killed is haunting the house I grew up in. It was a weight and the beard like somebody was in it.
I woke up.
Because my bed was shaking. So it would be like, Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. But mainly because I think someone in the family might have got away with murder. Am I in-laws? Well, they're not exactly thrilled about it. You are deconstructing.
An age-old story. We're going to be more traumatized by this podcast than we were about the murder, I'll tell you that. There is going to be blowback.
I'm Tristan Redman, and from Wondry and Pineapple Street Studios, this is Ghost Story, a podcast about the things that come back to Haunt Us. Follow Ghost Story on the Wondry app or wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge all episodes of Ghost Story ad-free right now by joining Wondry+.
It was now 4:00 PM on June 28th, 1997, a little more than 12 hours since Gary's last disturbing phone call. And more friends were still arriving at the beach house. Here's David Devin.
There were a bunch of guys, I don't know how many, three, four, maybe five, who were going to go watch the fight at Gary's house because it goes through, it would come through his TV.
The guests who came for the Tyson-Hawleyfield fight didn't know it, but they would soon become the nucleus of a desert search team for Gary. In a sense, it was as if a cast were being assembled for the heartbreaking adventure Wendy was beginning. After rejecting Wendy's earlier attempt to file a missing person's report, the local police showed up at the house at 07:00 PM to take one. People often think a person must be missing for 24 hours in order to file a report, but that's not actually true. And it hadn't been 24 hours when the police agreed to take Wendy's report, but it had been more than 24 hours since Gary had left New Mexico the last time he'd been seen alive by anyone who knew him. So the cop's arrival was a good thing, except that just before they showed up, one of Gary's friends had turned on the pay-per-view fight, reasoning that wherever Gary was, he wouldn't have wanted his friends to miss the main event. Also, it felt weirder for everyone to be sitting around in silence, feeling helpless. The TV with the fight on was like a comforting distraction. But to the cops, detectives from the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department, the fact that this party was just going on while the hostess was filing a missing persons report for her husband, this was highly suspicious.
David Devin could just feel it. I was there.
When the police came into the room and basically accused Wendy of being responsible for this. Well, apparently, they think that if something happens to a husband, they think that the one who either caused it or knows about it is the wife. And so they hit her with some direct questions that made me uncomfortable anyway. They were asking her about him and what he would do and why he would do something and what she would do about it into that morass of relationship.
The irony was Wendy had been hoping for an aggressive police response.
The first 24 hours are the most important. Hand. That's usually the time you can find people when they're still alive.
Just not this kind. Problem was those first officers who came by, they had already formulated a theory, one that they got stuck on. It was this, Wendy and a lover had colluded to murder Gary, and the lover they chose to implicate was a close friend who was also there at the party, TV writer Phil Combest.
Within a couple of days of all this, of the disappearance, two Stann Barberet detectives came and interviewed Wendy and I together, separate from anyone else. And there's no question what they were thinking was, Well, these two were having an affair and this is that and the other thing, just like everything on Colombo.
To Phil, whose TV credits include the massive 1980s prime time hits, Simon and Simon and Magnum PI. The were spinning murder conspiracies that even the most hack Hollywood crime writer would reject.
It's just like we wrote on TV. There's an old cop there and there's a young cop there, and they're asking the questions that I've written a hundred times. Were you on this time and why this? It was actually funny because I said, here's the usual response to that question as a joke. And they looked at me like, This is not funny.
What the police actually wrote about Wendy that night was later summarized in this FBI report.
Had a Tyson-H Holyfield party on 6/28/97 at her residence. She did not appear to certain witnesses to be grieving in any way.
She talked about how she was going to.
Money and she was coming on to certain men in attendance.
Why hello there? Welcome to Radio Rental. If you're new around here and haven't heard, I'm your host, Terry Carnation. On Radio Rental, we play tapes of the scariest, true stories you've ever heard. That's right, we've got real scary stories told by the people that actually experienced them. We've got stories of abnormal peril, near-death experiences, stitches in the space-time continuum, and more. Stories like these.
This person was looking for me. They start to take these long.
Strides towards me. I was freaking out.
We started seeing it everywhere we went.
Would be sitting there watching us.
I've never ran so fast in my life.
And it's all set right here at Radio Rental, the Video rental shop of your worst nightmares. Radio Rental is available now. Listen one week early and add free on Tenderfoot+.
Southern California was being beat to death with fires. This is a story about a fire bug. The most prolific arsonist of the 20th century. Did a master fire starter become.
Amateur writer? We used the fires as the basis for a novel.
And eventually a.
Murder or two.
This guy is not going to stop. Fire bugs don't stop. I'm Cary Antholas, host of the new podcast, Fire Pug, available now on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. While the police had described Wendy and their report as flirting and cavorting suspiciously with her male guests the night of the fight party, Wendy's memory that evening is very different. She mostly remembers being just overwhelmed.
I didn't think it was real. I really didn't. I thought it would have been much more believable that he took off, didn't call me, and spent the night somewhere, and God help him if it was a woman.
In the middle of her disbelief, Wendy was being asked to provide videos and photos and copies of Gary's credit statements so the police could use them to track his movements.
I never changed my name or anything until he disappeared.
Up until then, Wendy hadn't felt the need to take Gary's last name.
The FBI said, We need you to have his name. We need you to utilize your married name for police things so they could find me. It made you more easily attached to the person that was missing.
When the police finally left around 09:00 PM, the media calls were starting to roll in. Now Wendy's phone was blowing up.
America's Most Wanted actually asked me if I would mind talking to a psychic.
But in a strange way, all of this was expected. Yet Wendy was relieved, at least that the police and the media were paying attention. She wanted the story spread far and wide.
I feel that what you have to value as the victim's family to judge how well it was done is how much competition there was for them to be the one that solves it. I would say that the competition was quite strict and heavy between the FBI and what they might find, the sheriff's department and what they might find. I think the competitiveness and the networks because this was a screenwriter and the studios were going, put a light on it.
As the hours ticked on into the night, the house became quiet, and Wendy could hear the ocean outside her windows for the first time all day. She could finally breathe. In a movie or a TV show, this is the quiet, unguarded moment when the writer wants to insert a car crash or an explosion for a major plot twist. For Wendy, this was that twist of a different kind. It's the moment when she first entered the realm of conspiracy where she's still living today. And here's how it began. Among the people who'd phoned Wendy that morning when Gary didn't show up, was the first director Gary ever worked for.
John Irvine played a very large part in Gary's life. He was a very, very big British director.
We reached out to John Irvine, who at 83 is busy working on a film and chose not to comment at this time. But it was John who gave Gary his first job on a feature movie, hiring him in 1980 to rewrite the script for a spy film called Dogs of War. Six years later, Gary returned the favor, getting Irvine hired to direct Raw Deal, the script Gary wrote for Arnold Schwarzenegger, then at his peak as the biggest movie star on the planet. Wendy had known John Irvine simply as a close friend of Gary's. Irvine kept a house in L. A. And was a frequent guest at the Beach House in Montecito. Tall and handsome in a rumpled, professorial way, Irvine was English to the core, always wearing a heavy sweater, even on the warmest days. But Wendy had yet to hear back from him until later that first night when the guests had dwindled. That's when John Irvine just showed up.
He drove up to my house to talk to me. He would not talk to me on the phone.
Wendy expected him to come in and say hello to the few friends who'd lingered, but-.
He put me in the car and drove me up to that lacking cell phone area. As Wendy.
Recalls, John drove her straight up into the mountains overlooking Montecito and Santa Barbara, then pulled over in a spot where he felt they were completely alone and told her.
This is not an ordinary case of missing, and I want you to know that.
Irvine seemed to be implying something nefarious that Gary had some double life that Wendy didn't know about. Thing is, Irvine was short on details, and he had actually introduced more questions than answers.
And he said, I cannot protect you. I cannot help you. I will be gone for 18 months. I'm going to get someone. You're going to be assigned to him. He's going to take.
Care of you. What Irvine meant was that someone with government connections would be coming to help Wendy.
He said, Wendy, he's been higher up in government, comes from the Reagan administration, and he started babbling all these things off. And he said he will call you. His name is Frank Thordwalt. But it was so fucking... That they are.
That really wasn't the half of it. Before Making Dogs of War with Gary, John Irvine directed a 1979 BBC mini-series called Tinker Taylor, soldier spy. It's the story of a retired spy who begins to question whether he's trapped in a conspiracy, one being directed by a former boss who disappeared and might have faked his own death. The series was so highly regarded when it came out and seemed to give such an authentic representation of the world of spies that rumors started that John Irvine had ties to MI5, the British equivalent of the CIA. Rumors that Irvine has always denied. Shortly after Irvine drove Wendy back home, she received a call from the contact he told her about. Frank Thorewald.
John Irvine, who's a Motion Picture director, called me up, who was also my business partner at the time, and said his best friend, Gary DeVore, had gone missing and that he had to leave the country on business. The reason John, I think, asked me to do that because he knew that throughout the '80s, I had been in high-level positions in the US government, special assistant to attorney general to the United States. I'd worked at the White House doing things with the President Reagan.
It's true. Thorewall is a connected guy. On the wall of his suburban Phoenix house, he has a picture of himself drinking a beer with President Reagan. The week Reagan became President. Before that, Frank worked as an international mining engineer and as a theatrical agent. Sometime after he acquired his government security clearances, he became acquainted with John Irvine.
Well, he knew I used to be a special assistant to a US attorney of generals, and that this was going to be different. As he turned it, it was not normal and there was some unusual things about it. This was not a normal kidnapping or disappearance. I don't remember his exact words after 25 years, but the essence of the flavor of it was that. And he felt because of my contacts and because of my personality that I could probably work with Wendy.
Thorewald's arrival in her life signaled to Wendy that she was in a terrifying new world. But at the same time, this strange man with powerful friends was somehow reassuring.
And Frank Thorewald, frankly, became my link to becoming calm and feeling somewhat protected. I mean, he came into L. A. And stayed at a small hotel and called me and said, Okay, I'm here now for you.
It was help that Wendy desperately needed. Her husband was gone, and she was starting to question everything.
The more I realized that there was a reason, the more I realized Gary had probably another life I didn't know about, which just the fact that they thought it was important enough and maybe dangerous enough to get someone to help me, quote-unquote, was pretty major. Coming up.
This season on Witness to Fade to Black. He came in to go.
Through Gary's computer. That's why he came. Even after 25 years, heand.
It seems strange. I want to know how the hell he.
Knew, and I want to know who he is, and I want to know why. The CIA had had an office.
In Hollywood that they'd set up. You don't want to.
Get involved with those people.
When I first moved in with him, he said to me, You're going to pick up the phone, and now and then you're going to get a call from the CIA, from the New York Times.
With Gary, he didn't care. He'd challenge anybody.
Weird things start to happen that.
Scare the living hell out of you. Wendy gets a package. She's thinking.
What's in it? They said that I should be terribly worried if I spoke about it because I have a daughter.
There is a point where coincidence disappears, and it is no longer coincidence.
The minute that I heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger was active in trying to find Gary, I thought he would. I had the biggest action stars in Hollywood, searching for my husband.
I went to a seer in the desert.
I was shown a vision of what happened to him.
I absolutely think it's the Department of Intelligence.
I have no doubt.
If my husband is dead, then show me a body. We don't.
Know what happened to those bones. I was.
There when they pulled the car out. With the skeletonized body inside? Maybe. I said, There's something wrong here. It's not him. And then I see there are no hands. Where are the hands?
And that's always been an unanswered question.
Unlock all episodes of Witness Fade to Black ad-free right now by subscribing to The Binge Podcast channel. Not only will you immediately unlock all episodes of the show, but you'll get binge access to an entire network of other great true crime and investigative podcasts. All ad-free. Plus, on the first of every month, subscribers get a binge drop of a brand new series. That's all episodes all at once. Unlock your listening now by clicking subscribe at the top of The Witness show page on Apple Podcasts, or visit getthebinge. Com to get access wherever you get your podcasts. Witness: Fade to Black is a production of campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, an association with Stowaway Entertainment. The series was co-created, written, and reported by Evan Wright and Megan Donis. Megan Donis is the senior producer and Sheba Joseph is the associate producer. The executive producers are Evan Wright, Jeff Singer, and me, Josh Dean. Niall Kassin is the consulting producer. Studio recording by E-Wen Laitram-Uen, Blake Rook, and Sheba Joseph. Sound design, mixing, and original music by Mark McAdam and Erica Wang. Additional engineering by Blake Rook. Additional music by APM and Blue Dot Sessions. Additional field recording by Devin Schwartz.
Fact-checking by Amanda Feinman. Special thanks to our operations team, Doug Slawin, Destiny Dingle, Ashley Warren, and Sabina Mara. The executive producers at Campside Media are Vanessa Gregoriadis, Adam Hoff, Matt Chair, and me, Josh Dean. If you like the show, please take a minute to rate and review it, which really does help other people find it. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time.
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