03-08-2008, 10:49 PM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
FL - Mary Opitz, 17, Fort Myers, 16 Jan 1981
Missing Since: January 16, 1981 from Fort Myers, Florida
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: December 13, 1963
Age: 17 years old
Height and Weight: 5'4 - 5'5, 105 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, green/hazel eyes. Opitz has a scar between the fingers of her left hand. She wore braces on her teeth at the time of her disappearance.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A brown velveteen jacket, a white pullover shirt, designer jeans, brown pumps, two gold bracelets, and a gold necklace with a charm.
Details of Disappearance
Opitz was last seen leaving the Edison Mall and heading towards the parking lot in Fort Myers, Florida on the evening January 16, 1981. A package she was carrying at the time was found near her car later in the day. She was initially believed to be a runaway, as there was no evidence of a crime in her case.
Mary Hare, an 18-year-old who physically resembled Opitz, disappeared from the same parking lot on February 11, almost a month after Opitz. As in Opitz's case, no clues were left behind. Authorities at the time were uncertain as to whether the cases were related. In June 1981, Hare's badly decomposed body was found in Lehigh Acres, Florida. She was the victim of a homicide; she had been stabbed in the back. There has been no trace of Opitz, however, and she has never been heard from again. Authorities began to suspect foul play was involved in Opitz's case after Hare's body was discovered.
Authorities theorize that Christopher Wilder, a man linked to at least a dozen disappearances, rapes, murders and/or attacks of numerous women in the early to mid-1980's, is a suspect in Opitz's disappearance and Hare's homicide. A photo of Wilder is posted below this case summary. He was known to frequent the Florida region during this time; he sometimes attempted to lure young female victims by offering non-existent 'modeling sessions' or other tactics. Wilder was put on probation in 1980 after pleading guilty to attempted sexual battery towards a teenage girl. While on a visit home to Australia that same year, he was charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting two teenaged girls. His parents bailed him out of jail and he flew back to the United States, promising to return for his trial which was set for April 1984. He is a also a suspect in the Florida disappearances of Colleen Orsborn, Rosario Gonzales, Elizabeth Kenyon, and and Tammy Leppert. He was killed during a shootout with authorities in 1984. Opitz's case remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Lee County Sheriff's Office
Last edited by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed; 10-28-2013 at 10:44 PM.
12-23-2015, 02:57 AM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
We care about you. You have not been forgotten.
09-17-2016, 03:18 PM #3
01-17-2017, 12:00 PM #4
Mother Stays Hopeful on Anniversary of Daughter Mary Opitz’s 1981 Disappearance
It was January 16, 1981 when Nancy took her youngest daughter Mary, 17, and one of her sons to the Edison Mall in Fort Myers, Florida. They had a present to buy for a family friend.
"On our way out, I had run into someone I knew and we were talking. Mary didn't want to wait, so she said she'd meet us at the car. Her brother stayed with me," remembers Nancy.
"It couldn't have been more than five minutes until we got to the car, but Mary wasn't there."
01-19-2017, 09:37 AM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
Could John Patrick Knowles have done this? And someone needs to investigate the Mary Hare connection.
01-29-2017, 11:16 AM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2015
How sad. She was excited to get her braces off, a car of her own, and to re-decorate her room. It does sound like it could be related to Mary Hare, since it was stated that Mary was stabbed in the back. I am wondering if Mary put the pretzels and packages on the top of the car in order to unlock the door and was stabbed in the back and then dragged away
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