Campside Media. I hoped that if we ever found Gary's remains, I would experience some closure. That if I knew whether Gary is or Gary was, I'd feel some relief. That's our producer, Megan Donis, reading from the eulogy, Gary's friend, Hollywood producer, Julia Phillips, gave it his memorial service. She continues. That at the very least, I would no longer have to defend him in the press against conjecture by those who barely knew him, that he had bailed. Gary would never bail. Gary showed up. Gary showed up on time. That's why we were so worried in the first place. The service was held at Hillside Memorial Park on L. A. 'S West Side, where Gary is buried. On his tombstone, there's one of Gary's famous lines, a favorite among studio execs. Death is the most that can happen, not the worst. Like so many others that sad day, Julia Phillips had mixed feelings about any closure that could be found there. But since his discovery, the corpse in the aqueduct, I've only felt worse. I despise the word closure because now I have to accept that the terrible, gaping hole, the chasm in my life caused by this yearlong absence is permanent.
That big chested, big hearted, big laugh, and Gary, an awesome presence himself, fully filled his space on earth. He fully occupied his place in one's heart, is really gone forever. Wendy sat with her best friend, Rebecca Holden, observing a classically bizarre, only in Hollywood occasion. As Gary's ex-wife, Sandy Newton, strode to the podium.
Remember the second wife who got up there? Rebecca and I were sitting in the chapel during the actual service, andthat this woman who had been divorced from him two wives ago, acting like she's the grieving widow. It was so weird.
Authorities had declared that the body pulled from the white SUV was Gary's. Aside from toxicology tests and other lab work that the corner was awaiting, the criminal investigation was closed. Gary's death was chalked up to a mysterious single car crash, which investigators began trying to piece together. The circle of friends who had first come to the house for the fight party had grown wider as this turned into a 12-month-long search party. They'd held their own special memorial on the beach, sat around on Bonfire, and told stories about Gary. This was Wendy's version of a goodbye, but she'd been married to a true Hollywood character. And others had claims to Gary, too, including his second ex-wife, actor slash news anchor, Sandy Newton, who Wendy felt turned his memorial into a spectacle. In Wendy's effort to be the dutiful, most recent wife, she sat through it and even tried to show her support.
Wendy was holding up a lot better than she was. She had a reception after the funeral at her house. Wendy was so gracious and we went.
You heard that right. Gary's second ex-wife from a marriage he'd barely spoken about to Wendy was hosting a public reception where his actual wife, Wendy, would be a guest.
I had to be gracious. My problem with my personality is that the other side is fucking gigantic. You don't want to get near it, and if you do, I'm not stopping it. This woman who he divorced, who he never had a nice thing to say about, decided upon his death that it was... I mean, it was obvious to me that she decided she could use it to promote herself in Hollywood. There was no other reason.
Sandy hadn't included Wendy in the planning. She was merely another invitee to a party for her own deceased husband.
Andthen either I was going to let her do it or I was going to crush her. I felt it was improper to crush her in the spotlight being put on Gary. I didn't think that was right. I also knew that there were some very strange things and that possibly, if not, definitely this was not him. I mean, there were too many options that made me not go after her. And the fact that she decided to have a reception as his widow at her house, I could have taken her apart, but why bother? We were very gracious. We were polite. This one's always gracious.
She starts bringing out all the photo albums- Oh, yeah, no, no. -for all the sympathy. That was amazing. I told Wendy, I think it's time we leave.
For many people, the disappearance of Gary DeVore ended after the discovery of that SUV in the Aqueduct. But for Wendy, it wasn't over. Even as she sat through those memorials, eulogizing her husband, new questions were running through.
Her mind. I had a funeral because you're supposed to have a funeral. There was pressure from everywhere, and yet I was sitting at the funeral, and I kept thinking that it wasn't him.
From Campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, you're listening to Witness: Fade to Black, episode five, Death is the most that can happen. I'm Josh Dean. The problem Wendy faced with finding closure can be traced back to the day she turned on her TV to watch Gary's body being pulled from the aqueduct. From the moment she saw the scene at the river's edge with the truck, the vessel floating up in the water that matched the one on her coffee table, she was suspicious. This was the same area of the aqueduct that Gary's third wife, Claudia Christian said, had been searched by divers. So Wendy just felt in her gut when she saw the truck being pulled from the water that it should not have been there.
It was searched three times on record. That car and that body were not in there.
But at the same time, the authorities were telling her this really was Gary's SUV and that his body was inside it. So she wanted to accept it. She was trying anyway.
I did what I was supposed to do.
It was Wendy's job to go to the morgue and identify the body. The LA coroner's office is located east of LA's train station, where many of the city's jails and overflowing rescue missions are located. After all she'd been through, Wendy stealing herself for this, drawing on her experience as a nurse to try to see it all as clinically as she could.
They took me in there, and I want you to understand something. For a person like me, it was incredibly interesting. I mean, I have a background in nursing, and I have an interest in medicine, and I never got to be in the coroner's office before. I wanted to open every drawer in there and look at all the bodies. It just, I never got to be in there. Yeah, that's me. And it was fascinating for me.
As in every morgue scene in movies and TV shows, she found herself in a room with cold light and walls of steel drawers, presumably filled with bodies. A technician walked Wendy to one particular drawer and slid it open. There he was. Or at least there was a badly decomposed body that the coroner claimed was Gary.
No flesh. Of course not. A year in the water, except for... Here's what you need to know. A year in the water, there'd be no flesh. The fish would eat it, it would decompose.
As gruesome as this looked, it seemed normal. Skeletonized in his clothes.
The skeletonized in his clothes, the body decomposes not the clothing.
And the clothing on that skeleton that she was looking at?
Yeah, it was his clothes. It was denim.
She specially recognized the shirt.
And a shirt that I recognized. He always wore pattern shirts. It was greatly faded, greatly water damaged, if you want to say that that's what it was, but it was not covered in mud.
The water seemed to have cleaned the corpse, which now brought into high relief a very peculiar thing.
Then I see there are no hands. The way they were missing was extremely, extremely equal on both sides.
As we pointed out earlier, Gary's most distinctive physical feature was the twisted pinky finger on his right-hand. A feature so distinctive that they put a picture of it on the reward poster.
I know that my husband had a bone deformity in one of his fingers that could not be easily reproduced or copied in any way. I say, where are the hands? They look at me Oh, my goodness. I mean, literally, you get no cooperation until you bring it up. I had to ask them where the hands were. I mean, who the hell?
It was the last thing Wendy expected to see. No one had told her to prepare for this. And yet, given everything that had been happening-.
It did not surprise me that the hands were missing. And it did not surprise me when I came out and said, Where are the hand bones? That, Oh, they went to the impound lot where the car was with all the mud in it that they pulled out. All the mud in it that they pulled out after it had never fucking been there for any amount of time because we'd had it dragged and looked at. But they were going, Oh, no, it's been in here a year.
This really happened. Everything Wendy is describing is true. In the second largest coroner's office in the United States, in one of its most high profile adult disappearance cases ever, her. Fewer than three years after the OJ trial, where the same coroner's office had been hammered for mishandling of evidence, this same coroner's office showed Wendy her husband's body without mentioning that his hands were missing. When she pointed it out to the workers, they acted surprised. Then, nearly a month later, a coroner's investigator finds 19 loose hand bones in the sediment of the SUV.
Unless the coroner's office is totally inept and careless because they don't even realize it, then they're careless because they want to be. It's planned, okay? I can't answer that for you. You have to make up your own mind.
In other words, Wendy was starting to question how much of this was deliberate. It was that unique form of paranoia, sometimes totally justified, that the astonishing incompetence she was witnessing was actually part of the plot. Even perhaps a deliberate message.
I mean, there's someone calling the shots that isn't even being careful. When they're not being careful, you have to figure that they're shaking a finger at you and saying, Back the fuck off. Shut your mouth. Because there's no other reason for them not to be careful. Put the damn car and the body that you give them in a different spot. That wasn't searched three times. Do you understand what I'm saying?
It's not that Wendy had hard evidence, but her gut feeling that something was deeply wrong was growing more urgent now after this visit to the morgue.
If this was your loved one and you faced all the crap I did, I think you would eventually go, Wait a minute, somebody is in charge of doing this. That's what ultimately, of course, happened with me. Then to be given, when I said, Where are the hand bones? To be given 19 bones that they said they found in the mud in the car.
To be clear, the coroner's report would later state that there were no signs of abrasions or fractures to indicate the hands had been cut off. Wendy would pursue another expert opinion, which we'll get to in a moment. But first, there was another small bombshell in the final coroner's report. The autopsy was conducted on July 10th, after Wendy's visit to the morgue. It was performed by a deputy coroner physician and attended by representatives from a 14-member investigative unit called AMAIT, for Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team. This is the state of California's crack team for investigating high profile accidents on the highways. As the team watched, the corner examined the skeletonized remains. With just traces of organ tissue and no sign of trauma to the bones, no cause of death could be determined other than fatal injuries as a generic result of a single car collision with the aqueduct. The only tissue recovered from the corpse was a small amount of abdominal tissue, which the corner used for a toxicology test. It found traces in undetermined amounts of Wellbitrin, the antidepressant prescribed by Gary's doctor, some Benadryl and marijuana. All of this appeared normal to the examiners, and when they X-rayed the skull and found a dental bridge over one of Gary's molars, this too seemed normal, at least to the coroner.
But not to Gary's best friend, David Deben. As far as I knew, Gary never had any major dental work. We were roommates for a long time and everything, but I never knew of him having major dental work. Here's how small David and Gary's world was. David Deben was also friends with Gary's dentist, Cherry, who was married to Gary's sister, Judy. As soon as David heard from Wendy that the corner was saying the corpse had a bridge, David reached out to Jerry. I thought, Well, this is going to be either the proof or not the proof. Sure enough, Jerry told them, I never put a bridge in his mouth. I don't know where it would be because I didn't put one in. David pauses a long moment before adding, I don't remember how this was transmitted to me, but they came in to whoever the CIA, the police, whoever they were, came into Jerry's office and said they wanted to find the bridge in Gary's.
That they put in. The story David Devin tells is corroborated by Wendy and others, but there's also no way to prove it definitively today. Gary's brother-in-law, the dentist, passed away. Yet, Wendy's daughter, Brittany, also recalls very clearly the same discrepancy from when it was happening. It was one of the first significant anomalies she personally witnessed.
The stuff with the dental records, that happened.
They said something about bridge work.
You didn't have bridge.
I know that.
And then the dental records suddenly disappeared. I know that happened too. When Wendy and Brittany questioned the coroner's office about the dental bridge. They were told-.
The dental records were missing.
You've lost the dental records? Okay.
I mean, the L. A. Coroner's office, they lost the dental records. To Wendy, this confusion in the records was almost unbelievable. At times, she questioned herself. She knew she was in a heightened state, wanting desperately to learn that this was all a mistake. What if she was simply overreacting? But Wendy was also still receiving guidance from that former White House official, Frank Thorewald. He explained that indeed it is possible for federal agencies like the CIA or individuals who work for them to manipulate local agencies like the police and the coroners. We asked Frank what this might look like.
The only credible way on a broad scale like this would be go to the head of the highway patrol, the head of the organization, or the entity that runs the lab that you're working with or the dentist's office. And you would have to be able to say, This is of such great importance that it's, and.
To use the term, but I'm trying to think of another way to put it.
Frank is not saying this happened here or that he's ever done it himself, but if he had.
This is, and I'll give you an example, this is national security. It is going to cause the downfall of the United States. All of our secret codes are going to go out and we'll be destroyed the country in five hours from now. So you have to do this to protect it.
We had to stop Frank here and ask him hypothetically, but realistically, how could that work in a case like this that's already so high profile?
The headperson tells the lower people, Listen, this person's wife, she's grieving. She's heart-sick. We don't know what happened to those bones, but let's try to make life easier for her. Let's put something in there that just will make things go away and feel better about it.
So Wendy's trip to the morgue hadn't brought her any closure. It had basically the opposite effect.
If it had actually been him, if he had actually been dead, then you bury him and you go on with your life, okay? Whatever your life is. But when you start to find out that that body isn't the one who would give you a body? I mean, weird things start to happen that scare the living out of you.
What was driving Wendy through this process wasn't just her confusion at the facts she was being given and her need to find the truth. It was this. If things were being manipulated, who was behind it? This is a question that began to nod her the moment Gary's SUV was discovered in that unlikely spot at the aqueduct. Her questions really gained steam when she found out just how officials had found the SUV. A good Samaritan called the police out of the blue to tell them where to look.
I want to know how the hell he knew, and I want to know who he is, and I want to know why. If he was interested in that information, he didn't come forward far, far sooner. Have you ever.
Seriously pissed off your in-laws? A couple of years ago, I started investigating a murder in my.
Wife's family. Why would I do something so stupid?
Because I've come to suspect that the woman who.
Was killed is haunting the house I grew up in. There 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, 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.
Pineapple Street Studios, this is.
Ghost Story, a podcast about the things that come back to.
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Joining Wondry Plus. Southern California was being beat to death with fires. This is a story.
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We used the fires as the basis for a novel.
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This guy's not going to stop. Fire bugs don't stop.
I'm Cary Antholos, host of the new podcast.
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How do you know where the person was? Come on. How do.
You know where the.
Vehicle was? I'm not making accusations.
But I just want to know because this guy knows.
A lot. That's Michael Sands, Wendy's publicist who died in 2012. He's talking about Douglas Crawford, the good Samaritan who would turn the story on its head. A guy who would solve the mystery for some and deepen the skepticism for others like Wendy's. Here's a local news report from 1998. Last week, unemployed attorney.
Douglas Crawford led investigators to.
Divorce body. In news broadcast, this 35-year-old San Diego resident, boyish and fair haired, is pictured tooling around town on a scooter, described as a, quote, amateur sleuth or sometimes as a, quote, unemployed lawyer. In the initial interviews he gave, Crawford's story was simple. San Diego man, identified now as Douglas Crawford, says he cracked the mystery after reading an.
Article on the one year anniversary of.
Divorce his disappearance.
Crawford sent this email to Michael Sands, divorced former.
Publicist, suggesting that the.
Rider fell asleep at the.
Off the road and entered the aqueduct.
Much as a young girl did in 1995. As Crawford explained it on the CNN report. Around the same time he read about the anniversary of Gary's disappearance, he'd been reading about another case of a car that crashed mysteriously in a different part of the aqueduct. So he decided to mount his own search in the area where Gary had disappeared.
Crawford wrote up his theory in detail in an email.
And then he paid a.
Visit to the Antelope Valley Freeway to have a look around. That's where he found a piece of a headlight.
A headlight that looked like it belonged to the SUV Gary was driving. Why this sounded improbable to the point of absurd to Wendy and others familiar with the case is that Crawford was talking about searching an area that had been searched before.
What the hell? Yeah, we knew that it had been searched three times. The aqueduct Authority, the FBI, and all those people, and the Sheriff's Department. It had been dragged.
Crawford, the apparent hero, quickly became the focus of Wendy's suspicions, and even attracted attention from police after Michael Sands claimed that Crawford had previously sent him anonymous emails asking for money. Remember the $100,000 reward Wendy offered for information leading to Gary's whereabouts? After months of getting no useful leads whatsoever, Wendy had taken it down. It was just inviting crack pots. Now, Michael Sands was suggesting that he suspected Crawford was part of an earlier effort to extract the reward money using a scam email address called Dr. Findit. That person asked for a $10,000 finder fee to locate Divor, and he asked Sands to keep their communications private.
Not to go.
To authorities. Well, Wendy is very suspicious.
I'm very suspicious as well.
And by this point, a new version of Wendy was showing up in the media. She was angry.
And I want to know why no one else, when there was a $100,000 reward, could find this man. And I want to know why when I was out there at this aqueduct, I did not see broken glass or skid marks or anything of the sort.
Now, Good Samaritans and Douglas Crawford was back in the news. That amateur detective who recently cracked the case of missing screenwriter Gary Duvour now fears police will try to pin Duvore's death on him. But do you feel like a hero? No, not at all. Actually, you know what? I feel like a suspect. And that's the way I got treated by the police. The problem with the accusations Michael Sands made about receiving suspicious emails from Crawford, he couldn't back them up. Police found no evidence of wrongdoing by Douglas Crawford. There were some mildly creepy things Wendy discovered about him, like that he lived just blocks from her daughter, Brittany's dorm at the University of San Diego. But the creepiest of all?
There was a point that I received a knock on the door at my home. I have very close friends who remember this very well. There were two men there. They identified themselves as the FBI and also actually said to me, I should be terribly worried if I spoke about it because I have a daughter.
And given the proximity and time to Wendy's angry media appearances about Douglas Crawford, she took this to.
Mean- They said that I should be aware that I was speaking so freely about it and that I should be aware that I need to be careful because I have a daughter.
Going after Wendy's daughter was going for the juggler. It was after this, Wendy told us she felt pressured to change her tone in media appearances.
I wish Douglas Crawford had known about this when it happened.
If Wendy sounds exhausted in interviews from that time, it's because she is. The discovery of what they were saying was Gary's body hadn't solved anything. The apparently missing hands amateur sleuth, Douglas Crawford's entire story, these were warm up acts for the biggest question still hanging over the story. Even as the police were saying case closed, nobody could figure out how the hell Gary's SUV actually ended up in the aqueduct. My dad is one of the most charming men you'll ever meet. All right, good morning. The love of my mom's life, everybody's friend, and my favorite person.
Well, you're doing a great job there.
But for 52.
Also had a massive secret. He was a wanted fugitive. Ted Conrad.
Walked out of the bank he worked at. He disappeared with a paper bag containing 215,000 From.
Neonha Media and Sony Music Entertainment, Smokescreen, My Fugitive Dad is coming December first. Subscribe on Apple Podcast to binge all episodes now or listen weekly wherever you get your podcasts. Everything doesn't always end up like the movies, right? Infamous is a podcast that tells you everything you want to know about the rich and famous. From the celebrities taking Ozenpik. My weight loss was one trillion % unintentional.
To the story behind.
Taylor's versions. I'd rather enjoy this than spend every single minute being afraid of losing it.
Satanic panic of the 1980s.
Evil is the absence of good, the absence of love.
The podcast is called Infamous.
Infamous now. From the moment Gary's Ford Explorer was discovered in the Highway 14 Aqueduct, news accounts were vague about how it could have landed there. It is far too early to say for sure how it all happened, but it appears the Ford may have launched off the middle portion of the bridge and then crashed into the water where it remained for more than a year. To get a visual of the scene, picture an ordinary freeway. Two lanes going northbound and three lanes going southbound towards Los Angeles. There are asphalt burms on each side for cars to pull over, and dividing the lanes is an unpaved, hard-packed median strip bordered by guardrails. The aqueduct itself is nearly 100 foot wide channel with slop concrete banks. The water at its deepest point is 15 feet. The surface of the water is 33 feet below the freeway, and the bridge over it spans about 250 feet, roughly the length of 15 cars. If you were driving this freeway at night or even in the daytime, you would barely notice that you had transitioned from freeway to bridge. It's completely flat. In 1997, when Gary would have been driving over it, each set of lanes had their own bridge with a gap between them.
Gary's body was found in the aqueduct directly between the two bridges of the north and southbound lanes. There was no damage to any of the guardrails. There were no skid marks, paint, or any other indication that a vehicle had spun out of control or crashed. In this part of the roadway, I had been thoroughly searched by the California Highway Patrol, immediately after Gary's disappearance. Here's the other thing. The tires of the SUV were intact when it was found. Fairly any dents on either side of the vehicle. The front window was smashed in, but there were no signs of it having hit metal or concrete. It was basically clean. And the state's investigation team really couldn't explain how the SUV got into the aqueduct at all. Their only conclusion was that it seemed to have somehow launched itself either over the guardrail or through a 17-foot gap in the guardrail without scraping the sides, then flew approximately 90 feet through the air before nosing down and crashing into the water below and something else. Gary's SUV was found pointed the wrong direction, as if it had been driving away from Los Angeles back toward Santa Fe.
The state report concluded. At some point in time for an unknown reason, Mr. Divor ended up traveling the wrong way on state route 14. From there, the truck somehow launched.
The south embankment. As the vehicle fell toward the water, the vehicle was accelerated by gravity, traveled a horizontal distance between 92 and 168 feet while falling 33 feet to the water's surface. That was the investigator's real conclusion. Gravity did it. When Wendy's daughter, Brittany, saw the report, she was completely baffled. The answer is nothing.
They think they've closed the case.
How the car got where it was? Like the accident reconstructionists?
Guess is that a giant gust of wind.
Picks the car up.
And threw it.
Over the guardrail.
We were like, What? These things don't make sense. These are nonsensical anomalies where you're like, I mean, they.
Was no record of any.
Ever being repaired, and they would have had the records.
Wendy simply didn't accept the mate findings. For more than a year, a private investigator named Don Crutchfield had been helping her.
I mean, from the very beginning, everyone was asking me, Well, who's helping you? Well, what's going on? Very often when I said Don Crutchfield's name, that was a name that many of them actually knew and reinforced my choice of being confident in him.
Now he stepped in to aggressively re-investigate the findings of the mate investigators using his own experts. Don Crutchfield was a larger-than-life character, a true Hollywood detective. Described here in this discovery documentary.
He worked as a bodyguard for many of.
Including Judy Garland.
And Frank Sinatra.
And according to a book he later wrote, he also.
Cases for clients like.
Bronson, and Carol O'Connor. I'm one of a handful of people that do what I do. If there's skeletons in the closet or there's dirty secrets, I'll be around. I'll always be there. Crutchfield, who died in 2016, was really there for Wendy. His niece, Lisa Peterson, recalls. I mean, he worked on the case for what? Close to 20 years with Wendy. Uncle Don, he was consumed by it. I mean, he ate, drank and slept the case. I think Uncle Don was protective of Wendy. I think he definitely empathized with what she was going through, and I think he wanted to solve the case for her. For Crutchfield, like Wendy, the investigation actually intensified after the discovery of the SUV because it raised so many more questions. I think probably every private investigator has that one case.
Have their theories, they have their evidence. They have asked lots of questions. They've turned over every stone that they could possibly turn and every stone for him would lead to something else. He was writing a book about the case when he died. Speaking of himself using the third person, as read here by an actor, he says, Crutchfield had his own experts examine the CHP findings. They agreed that the CHP report was at variance with their observations and experience. Crutchfield retained three different accident investigation experts to reexamine the work of the Mait report. One of them, Robert Toomey, a former Florida State investigator, concluded, The accident scenario portrayed by the mate.
Sounds more like a movie.
Script for Steve.
Mcqueen or Evil Knievel. Never in my career, and I am sure my.
Contemporaries as well, have I ever seen.
A 58 page motor vehicle accident.
Report to be believed as written and absolute would be a mistake by anyone reading it? Toomey began his takedown of the mate report, noting, With no indicating evidence such as.
Skid marks, point of impact and many other factors, this.
Accident scenario is extremely unlikely. Crutchfield's team had another major issue with the mate report. Investigator stated that numerous pieces of plastic, glass, and metal, as well as the hood of the Ford Explorer, had been recovered from the opposite bank of the aqueduct. The limited edition Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer that Gary had been driving was loaded with extras on the exterior, from racks to plastic badges. According to the mate team, as the vehicle sank down, all those plastic doodads broke off and continued flying forward to the opposite embankment. And it's true, these bits of plastic, along with the hood were visible lying in the open when the SUV was pulled from the water. You can see them in the news footage. But soon after Garia disappeared, when the aqueduct was already a potential location for a crash, Crutchfield's investigator, Mike Webb, walked the edge of the embankment by the aqueduct and claimed he saw none of this. Obviously, had it been there, he would have seen it. Crutchfield brought in another accident investigator too. Douglas Holladay was at the time an active duty detective and collision investigator for the Culver City PD in LA. His investigation noted that there had been 20 inches of rain the preceding year, as well as periods of El Niño winds up to 90 miles an hour in that area.
So he concluded it was extremely unlikely that all the small bits of plastic recovered by investigators would have remained largely on the surface of the opposite bank for an entire year without washing or blowing away. In light of the above observations, it is possible that the.
Vehicle may have been damaged.
Location, towed to.
The collision site.
And dumped from.
The overpass directly into the aqueduct.
Debris from the vehicle.
Or similar same year model vehicles could have been hand-seated on the north embankment. As elaborate as this scenario sounded, it at least seemed possible. Compared to the scenarios offered in the mate report, which seemed utterly impossible. From this speeding truck soaring through the barriers and into the water without crash marks to this one. In the report, one investigator proposed this, that Gary had possibly exited the freeway, then fallen asleep at the wheel, and while still driving asleep, re-entered the freeway, going the wrong way, then still asleep at the wheel? He could have driven several miles in the wrong direction and then somehow straight through the gap in the guardrail. To Crutchfield and his investigators, the mate report offered a fanciful and mostly impossible, seeming explanation of what could have happened. Here again is an actor reading from Crutchfield's book. Crutchfield feels that it is likely the vehicle was dropped in the water sometime after June 28th, 1997. His thesis is that DeVore and the vehicle were taken to a location the morning of June 28th, 1997. Some time later, Divor was killed or died and then placed in the vehicle. Another possibility is that another corpse matching Divor's measurements was dressed in Divor's clothes and seatbelated in the Explorer.
In this second scenario, Crutchfield is proposing that someone staged a crash and put a fake corpse in the car. He also took issue with the coroner's report. Crutchfield, in consultation with his own experts, found it highly improbable that the coroner had found any flesh remaining on the corpse after a year of being underwater. In his book, he cited a California highway patrol investigator he often worked with.
He said that.
He'd assisted in recovering a number of bodies and tombed and submerged vehicles in the aqueduct. Those that had been in the water for any period of time were stripped clean by fish. I've seen cars that had hundreds of catfish nesting in the interiors. Basically, Crutchfield believes that it was likely that not only had Gary met with foul play, but that someone with resources and a motive had faked the crash, and possibly even Gary's death. Remember the laptop Gary had in the SUV with the final draft of his screenplay? That was never found. Same with his gun. Gary's wallet, though, that was found with credit cards in it, but not the four photos of Wendy he always carried inside. The fact that these items were never found still deeply troubles Wendy's daughter, Brittany. There was marijuana in.
The car when they found it.
There was a saddle in the.
Back that was still in the car.
But all of the.
Floppy disks and.
Computer were gone.
Seems impossible to me.
Is another anomaly.
They were like, Oh, it probably just floated down the river. And I was...
I remember talking to the.
Police officer and saying, What are you talking about? How can that be.
That a selective group of things floated down the river? It seemed odd. Frank Thorewall shared with us his same concerns regarding the coroner's office and the condition of the corpse.
How do you have fingers that you give to somebody that are suddenly discovered when they said they weren't in the car, they are 100 years old, that don't even belong to Gary because of the deformity on one of his fingers or the dental records in his brain, there was still tissue. It shouldn't have been there if the car had been in that water for that long a time. That always has concerned me.
In the kitchen of Thorewall's house in Phoenix, where he did this interview, there's a painting hanging on the wall, a portrait of Wendy painted by Frank's partner, Florine, an artist. Frank is still advising Wendy today. And even after more than 20 years, he still is perplexed by the sheer amount of anomalies in this case.
How would you get this information? And are all these people telling her lies? And then they changed their minds? Are the information to be changed? Why was the state patrol report so different than the private accident report that was provided? Why was there divers that had searched that area? And then a year later or whatever time it was, they find the truck there in a situation where it was next to impossible to be put into it. Those are all concerns that I've had that I've never been able to come up with a clear answer about. Why were the different copies of the scripts missing? I mean, certainly there was one on computer and then the other computer was gone. But why out of the studio? How did very heavy items in the vehicle theoretically wash away when light items that should have washed away that were on top still be there? Where was the car for the year? Well, how could it have been in the water in the canal when they'd searched it with scuba divers?
With all of those questions hanging, Wendy just focused on what she could do.
My friend, who was very involved in this part of the law world and is also a doctor as well as a lawyer, said to me, Look, we need to bring in an additional forensic attorney to make sure this is Gary's body, because I don't want to leave it with the Los Angeles coroners department. I want to make sure. And he brought in a very high ranking forensic pathologist.
That pathologist told Wendy to get the DNA in those bones tested, which was a fairly new science at the time.
I had DNA done in Canada because I didn't trust, under great advice by experts who know me, I did not trust the Los Angeles coroner's office to give me a true report if it was not in the benefit of whoever was in control. I sent a small box to Canada. The box was seized, okay? I called my friend, who lives in Florida, was with an airline for 40 years, and she said to me, Give me the bones off, fly them over. And she did.
That friend was flight attendant, Janice Martizas. When we tracked her down, Janice hadn't spoken about this matter in several years, but we asked her about flying parts of Gary Divorce-FEMER to Canada. Yeah, I don't know.
I had to try toknow who that was, but.
That's what I did.
Well, she couldn't get it to… She.
Couldn't mail it.
There's something wrong with… She couldn't get it past customs. And there's just over the border, so I was.
Flying a trip up there.
I took it up there and mailed it from up there.
If she remembers Wendy explaining why she was having trouble mailing them?
No, she didn't. She just said that she was.
With it. Could I help her out? I said, Sure.
After all of this, what happened? Wendy ran into more issues getting the lab results. According to Wendy, FedEx tracking first claimed the package was lost, but later it was located and forwarded to the lab in Canada. She still has the FedEx receipt, which she showed to us. But like so many things in this story, the accounts of the results from that lab test are muddled. In some, Wendy never gets the results back from Canada. And in others, the results are delivered as inconclusive, hard to determine, but not a complete four-point match on Gary's DNA. Some of which is more of the kinds of inconsistencies that continue to bother Frank Thorewald.
Why? When you send it off, what are the odds of that not getting there or being destroyed or lost? What are the odds of things like this happening? I mean, there is a point where coincidence disappears and it is no longer coincidence. And all these things trouble me. How do you have dental records changed? Oh, they weren't changed, somebody says.
As bad as all this seemed, there was a silver lining. If someone had staged the crash and was taking all these other actions, suggesting foul play, that meant there was a possibility Gary was still alive. Wendy had many psychics in her life who had been telling her this, but then she got a different sign. We were so happy. Congratulations. That's a home video from Wendy's daughter, Brittany's graduation, nearly a year after the SUV was found. She was graduating from San Diego Law School. It was outdoors, a beautiful spring day in 1999. For Wendy, this was finally a break from her ongoing ordeal with Gary, a day off to celebrate Brittany. Wendy explains what happened that day, starting with this.
Remember I told you Julia Phillips wrote a book called You'll Never Eat Lunch in this town again, and the title of Gary's chapter that she wrote was The Man with the testosterone voice. That's a very specific way of saying incredibly, incredibly noticeably deep voice.
According to Wendy, Gary's voice was heard that day at the law school. He called the switchboard and spoke to a woman who worked there asking about Brittany's graduation.
When that woman ran down from the law school building to the tents where they were graduating and said to me, We don't give out information on our students over the phone. And I said, Well, I don't blame you, but why are you telling me? And she said, Because a man with an incredibly deep voice has called to her three times today, demanding to know if she's graduating.
Gary had been very close to Brittany.
And it couldn't have been anyone else. Not only did it fit what I had just told you, but everyone else that was important to us in Brittany's life was there. Why would anyone call? I mean, there just was no way for it to be anything else. I mean, who the hell else knew I had a daughter in law school that was graduating in San Diego at that school? Who the hell else had a voice that was that deep?
For Wendy, this was now a thriller with an end that hadn't been written yet. And after hearing about that bizarre call, she was certain. Gary was out there somewhere. But this story about the graduation, Brittany has no recollection of it at all. There are a few things that I've heard repeatedly.
Two-plus decades that I don't know.
Where they came from.
But I've heard them a lot.
Might have happened?
Sure. I don't remember telling her about that, but… There were some starting to wonder if Wendy was too far in, or even if those around her, the psychics, the investigators, the friends had taken her too far. Next time, on Fade to Black. I feel he's.
Still alive. One would think, why would he just not die?
They just not kill him? Because he was a spy.
Gary had it all. A successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter, a beautiful wife, his dream home, good friends. But everything changed the night of June.
I didn't understand that people go missing this way. It's a very odd thing. You have no idea what it's like to lose a human being on your watch. When Wendy.
Divore's husband, Gary, disappeared without a trace, it was as if he'd been sucked into one of his own espionage. He's one of the most espionage thrillers.
I had the biggest action stars in Hollywood, searching for.
My husband. But no one knows what happened to him or the screenplay he was about to direct.
Gary told me that this script was going to blow the lid off the CIA.
From Campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, listen to Witness, Fade to Black, the mysterious disappearance of Gary Divore and the rise of the CIA in Hollywood. Available now, 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 is supported 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 Ewin Lightramuun, Blake Rook, and Sheba Joseph. Sound design, mixing, and original music by Mark McAdam and Erica Hwong. 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 the voice actors in this episode, Megan Donis, Lindsay Kilbride, David Eikler, and Devin Schwartz, and our operations team, Doug Slewin, Destiny Dingle, Ashley Warren, and Sabina Mara. The executive producers at Campside Media are Vanessa Gorgoyatos, Adam Hoff, Matt Chair, and me, Josh Dien. 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.