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AR GLORIA McDONALD: Missing from Queen Wilhelmina State Park - 26 Jan 2001 - Age 68

Discussion in 'Missing 2000 to 2009' started by Scorpio, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member



    Gloria McDonald was last seen on 01/26/2001. Gloria McDonald was last seen on January 26, 2001, at approximately 12:00 - 12:30 p.m., at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, near Mena, AR, wearing blue jeans and a bright yellow windbreaker with a hood. She may also be known as Gloria White Moore.
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  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    In Arkansas, a disappearance baffles investigators

    Updated: Feb 20, 2001 4:00 PM

    MENA, Ark. (AP) -- After a quiet breakfast in this town a few miles from the Oklahoma line, Daniel McDonald and three family members drove up a nearby mountain to hike Lovers Leap Trail.

    The four headed down the narrow, muddy path in Queen Wilhelmina State Park, McDonald said. But his 68-year-old wife, Gloria, soon turned back toward the park's lodge, he said. She hasn't been seen since.

    What happened Jan. 26 has baffled authorities and set residents theorizing about kidnapping, murder and mystery the likes of which this scenic western Arkansas town has never seen.

    Did Gloria get lost? Was she abducted? Did she decide to run away? Police even wonder if she ever was in the 460-acre park.

    "This woman disappeared without a trace in 30 minutes," Polk County Sheriff Mike Oglesby said. "We have no motive, no evidence of any kind. We've got nothing."

    This is a part of the state where people move a little slower than the rest of the world, flannel shirts are considered business casual and the tractor is more than just a workhorse -- it's a mode of transportation.

    Gloria McDonald's daughter and her husband feel certain she is dead -- speculations that disturb investigators who say they can't link anyone to a crime.

    "I was the No. 1 suspect," Daniel McDonald said a week after his wife disappeared. "I demanded to take a polygraph test,"

    which state police investigator Lynn Benedict said he passed. Daniel, 63, says it was about noon when the family arrived at the park 14 miles south of town. His son from a past marriage, Sean McDonald, was visiting from Florida with his girlfriend, Erin Jemmott.

    Not 250 yards down the trail, Daniel says, Gloria decided to head back to the lodge. She wasn't a "woodsy person," Daniel said. Broken tree limbs and debris from recent ice storms littered the path.

    Park workers say the woman never returned to park headquarters. Surely, a woman with red hair wearing a bright yellow jacket would be noticed, they said.

    A maintenance worker says he may have spotted a woman in a yellow jacket but can't be sure. Authorities say the worker is the only person who might be able to place Gloria in the park -- except for Daniel, Sean and Erin.

    Daniel complains authorities spent too much time questioning him before bringing out search dogs the next day. Searchers aided by helicopters have found nothing.

    "In my mind, she's dead," Daniel said. "I think she saw something she shouldn't have seen ... so they took her. Or maybe she was snatched up by someone and tossed in one of these buildings."

    Kerri, Gloria's daughter from a previous marriage, who asked that her last name not be used, also wasn't holding out much hope.

    "The first thing I think is that more than likely, she's dead," she said. "I know my mom. If someone did get her into a car, she would've mouthed off so much they would've had to kill her."

    But authorities have few clues: "Nothing points to the fact that there is foul play and nothing points to the fact that she ran off," Oglesby said.

    Police are looking south, extending their investigation to Cedar Key, Fla., a Gulf coast town where the McDonalds lived before moving to Mena six months ago. "We're trying to see what their lifestyle was like," Oglesby said.

    Less than a week after his wife's disappearance, Daniel said he would move back to Florida. "I don't want to be the guy in Mena whose wife was killed on the mountain," he said.

    The sheriff says he hasn't ruled out Daniel as a suspect, but authorities didn't have any evidence to keep him from leaving, even if some of his comments seem caustic.

    In an interview, Daniel said he couldn't imagine anyone abducting his wife "for her body" because she could not be considered pretty.

    Gloria was Daniel's second wife. His first wife died in her home of natural causes, according to a funeral home in Chiefland, Fla.

    Gloria and Daniel had been married a year. Sean McDonald said in a telephone interview from Florida that sometimes his father can come across the wrong way: "He's a great man, but he'll say whatever's on his mind and he doesn't care what anyone thinks."

    Sean said all three family members were interrogated separately the day after Gloria disappeared. Police seized his camera and found pictures taken the day of the hike, but no shots of Gloria.

    "They were so focused on us but we didn't have anything to do with this," he said. "You see this stuff in the movies and on the news, but this one hit home."

    Gene Clifton, a friend of Gloria's from Chiefland, is stumped.

    "If she's dead, we need to find her. If she's alive and wants to be found, we need to find her," he said. "If she's alive and doesn't want to be found, then we need to let her be."
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  3. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Queen Wilhelmina State Park
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

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  5. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Queen Wilhelmina State Park lodge.
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  6. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Almost seventeen years later, police still baffled by 2001 disappearance of Mena woman

    In exactly one month from today, the mystery of what happened to Gloria Jean McDonald of Mena will be seventeen years old.

    On January 26, 2001, Gloria White Moore McDonald, her husband, her husband's son, and the son's girlfriend, went to Queen Wilhelmina State Park, in Polk County, Arkansas. All four of them went down the trail toward "Lover's Leap." About 150 yards down the trail they found several trees across the trail.

    At this point Gloria McDonald decided not to go any further. Instead, she returned to the park's gift shop and restaurant while the others continued to "Lover's Leap." When they went to the lodge they could not find Gloria.

    Arkansas State Police Special Agents were contacted by Polk County Sheriff's Deputies at Mena on Saturday, January 27th after a search of the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge area failed to produce any clues into the whereabouts of Gloria White Moore McDonald, 68, of Mena.

    It's as if she simply disappeared form the face of the earth.

    McDonald had traveled the same day to the lodge with her husband, step-son and a friend of the step-son. The group arrived about noon and set-out hiking along one of the nature trails that borders the lodge property atop Rich Mountain. About 150 yards into the hike, McDonald told the group she was returning to the lodge because of trees that were blocking parts of the trail.

    The three others proceeded along the trail ending their hike about a half-hour later.

    Upon returning to the lodge the family and friend were unable to locate McDonald. The car the group had traveled in to the lodge was parked where it had been originally left and McDonald's purse was locked inside. A search of the car indicated none of McDonald's personal belonging were missing.

    Repeated aerial and ground searches of the area have failed to produce any evidence that would explain what happened to McDonald.

    McDonald was a reporter for the Mena Star newspaper who wrote stories about court proceedings, and a couple of her friends reviewed her notes and articles to see if a clue might exist about her disappearance and found nothing. The family theorizes that she may have “walked up on something” involving illegal drug activities and been killed to silence her.

    McDonald was described by her family at the time of the disappearance as being in good physical condition. Weighing about 120 pounds and standing 5-feet, 6-inches tall, McDonald was wearing a bright yellow hooded jacket, blue plaid shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes when she was last seen. McDonald was carrying a Minolta Riva Zoom 90 camera at the time of the disappearance.

    Arkansas State Police senior special agents Lynn Benedict and Hays McWhirter conducted the state police investigation along with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department the Polk County Sheriff at the time -- Mike Oglesby-- said only one room at the lodge had been rented.

    “There were about six guys there who work for the state park, the kitchen help and waitresses. Add to that a few men who were piling brush and cleaning up after the storm and that’s it,” Oglesby told newspapers.

    McWhirter said during the same time period bloodhounds searched “all over the mountain” and no remains were ever found.

    “The bloodhounds followed a scent which led down to a paved road below the lodge, but they lost the scent at the road,” said McWhirter Wednesday, recalling the initial investigation.

    “There are no suspects and we don’t know what happened to her,” said McWhirter at the time Seventeen years later that remains the case. The case is also listed with the FBI missing persons file.

    If you know anything about this case, please contact Arkansas State Police via e-mail or by calling one the following law enforcement agencies.

    Polk County Sheriff's Office (501) 394-2511
    Arkansas State Police (800) 553-3820
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