Disappeared: Linda Grimm, missing 27 years.

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One day early in the spring of 1986, Linda Grimm, a perfectly ordinary 25-year-old woman, left her home in Perris, California (a few miles southwest of Riverside) to buy a pack of cigarettes. She never returned home, but this was not the last contact her family had with her.

The Charley Project casefile has the following:

Grimm phoned her mother periodically during the following 18 months. She claimed that she was in Wichita, Kansas and was doing well. Grimm refused to divulge her address and her mother said that her daughter sounded afraid during the conversations. Grimm called her mother for the final time during October 1987 from an unknown location. She has never been heard from again.

Linda’s family believes she may have traveled out of the Perris area with a truck driver named Robert Masters, evidently from Kansas, and that in fact she may have posed as Masters’s relative or even wife–the extant case information suggests she used an alias of “Linda Masters.” The problem was, Linda Grimm was already married.

Three years after her disappearance from Perris and about eighteen months after the last phone call, Linda’s car, a Ford Pinto, suddenly appeared in a supermarket parking lot in Huntington Beach, California, about 45 miles from Perris. The Huntington Beach connection was that Linda seems to have had friends there. So, instead of disappearing in Perris in March 1986, someone may have seen her in Huntington Beach in April 1989.

The great blog Whereabouts Still Unknown (which has unfortunately been inactive for a while) did a post about Linda a few months ago, and had this to say.

This is another case that just doesn’t seem all that difficult to make progress on.  I mean, how many Robert Masters with commercial drivers licenses could there have been in 1986?   And if she is believed to have traveled to Kansas with him, it could be narrowed down to ones who had ties to Wichita, Kansas.   Have they spoken to Robert Masters to see when he last saw her, or is this another “She’s free to disappear as she pleases” cases in spite of her sounding fearful, and her car being found 3 years later?

I also find it strange that her car was found 3 years later, not terribly far from her home.  It obviously hadn’t been sitting there for 3 years, so somebody had to be driving it.  Hopefully, it was her, given that she is believed to have friends in Huntington Beach.  It still wouldn’t make sense for her to abandon it in a supermarket parking lot, but it could at least establish that she was alive and well up until April of 1989 – and that she’d more than likely be found in California as opposed to Kansas.

I agree–the person who most likely drove Linda’s car to Huntington Beach was Linda. But beyond that, which is a pretty reasonable inference, everything else is supposition. Did she have a relationship with this Robert Masters person? Was he holding her against her will, she escaped, made it to Huntington Beach under her own power, and then…what? He caught up with her? She was abducted again? She walked into the ocean, like Margaret Kilcoyne might have done? What?

This is a strange case, and a somewhat unique one from a logic standpoint, because we know when and where Linda’s odyssey began–on March 31, 1986, when she went out to get cigarettes, and then [fill in the blank] happened–and we know the end, when she (or someone else) drove the Pinto into the parking lot in Huntington three years later, got out of the car and left it, for whatever unknown reason. We have these two threads of the mystery, which is more than we usually have in a missing persons case, but previous little clues to connect the two ends of the string.

Hopefully someday we know more than we do now.

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4 Comments on Disappeared: Linda Grimm, missing 27 years.

  1. Dunno if you saw this, but when I linked to this post on Charley’s FB page, someone commented:

    “Has anyone considered that she may have been lying about being in Kansas because her kidnapper told her to? Is her stating that on the phone calls with her mother the only evidence she was ever in Kansas? If she was fearing for her life, she’d probably just say whatever it was her kidnapper would tell her to say. Also, I know this is a real long shot, and unlikely, but is her mother sure it was Linda on the phone? Like did Linda give away information only Linda would have known? I’m in the same place about the car. Why abandon it 3 YEARS later, and then what happened?”

  2. If I recall correctly, there was a series of phone calls over several months, not just the one where she sounded afraid… I read that she told her mother that she was doing well and was getting her life back together, so I’m guessing she was having problems before she vanished. My instinct says she really was in Kansas but at the same time, the thought that she went to get cigarettes and spontaneously drove her own car to Kansas (with nothing packed, etc) isn’t logical. I could more see this Robert Masters being in Perris in his big rig, and telling her to get in… which would mean someone else would have had the car.

    I wonder if they checked the car for fingerprints in 1989 to see if hers were present?

  3. Oh yeah… and I’m up and running again 🙂

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