Jean Moore and her fiancé Al Henderson in an undated photo.
Photo © Unsolved Mysteries.
An interesting missing persons cold case from 1992 concerns the strange disappearance of Jean Marie Moore of Apple Valley, a town situated in the high desert of southern California. The case has been the subject of episodes of the television show Unsolved Mysteries and the podcast The Trail Went Cold. According to Jean’s fiancé, Al Henderson, the couple, having been together for 20 years and now, finally engaged, travelled from their hometown to Laughlin, Nevada, for a short vacation to celebrate the engagement. On the morning of April 9, as they were getting ready to check out, Jean told Henderson she wanted to play her favorite slot machine one last time. According to Al, after he checked them out of the hotel, he walked over to where he expected Jean would be. Jean was nowhere in sight.
To investigators, Al Henderson was the primary suspect in Jean’s disappearance. During the investigation, Henderson’s story about what happened that morning changed multiple times. The casino’s security footage showed no visual evidence that Jean had been at the slot machine indicated by Henderson. According to the Unsolved Mysteries episode, “over the next few days, [Henderson] distributed thousands of flyers in the Laughlin area. Despite a $25,000 reward, no one called.” A distinctly odd thing about those flyers was the phrase, “POSSIBLE AMNESIA” under the reward headline. Jean’s children from her previous marriage doubt the amnesia story, and no one is quite sure why Al Henderson would suspect Jean to have amnesia. Also, at the time, investigators turned up evidence that perhaps Jean Moore never even reached Laughlin. Regardless of the facts that were discovered in the case, investigators never found any hard evidence linking Al Henderson to his fiancée’s disappearance. Al Henderson died in 2001, taking to the grave any secrets he might have had.
According to a Victorville Daily Press article from April, 2012, twenty years after Jean Moore’s disappearance, her good friend, Realtor Jack Fales, was still keeping up the search, going as far as to hire a private investigator. The Deputy District Attorney assigned to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Cold Case Detail, John Thomas, told the paper at the time that he was interested to learn of any new information Fales’s P.I. would turn up, even though the investigators’ main suspect had died—for a cold case to be actively pursued by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office, “the suspect must be alive,” if a suspect exists. Thomas told the paper, “We can’t do anything from a legal standpoint, but something that we’re always concerned about here at Cold Case is closure for the victim’s family.” Even though Jack Fales believed he was close to discovering the truth of what happened to his friend, my research turned up no reporting since that 2012 article to indicate that Fales’s investigation brought any new light to Jean Moore’s case. Any information regarding this case can be brought either to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office or the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
Al Henderson and Jean Moore before Jean’s disappearance.
File photo © Victorville Daily Press.