December 11, 1992

12/11/92: Alexis Dillard, 22, North Lawrence, KS

On Dec.11, 1992, Kansas University senior Alexis Dillard, "Dilly" as he was known to his friends, left Johnny's Tavern at 401 North 2nd Street in North Lawrence after drinking with some Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers who saw him leave the bar around 12:40 a.m. He was never seen again. Police theorize that Dillard drowned in the Kansas River while attempting to swim across. His case remains unsolved.

Vanished Without a Trace
On the night he disappeared, Dillard met up with a group of his Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers at Bullwinkle's for pizza and beer before heading over to the The Sandbar. The group then split up briefly and met up again at Johnny's Tavern. Johnny's, according to the Buffalo News, "a popular Lawrence hangout, was crowded that night, and people in the group were coming and going from the bar intermittently. One fraternity brother, who remembers talking with Dilly at Johnny's about 10 p.m., said nothing seemed to be bothering him. No one remembers seeing him leave.

(It should be noted that an early report by The Buffalo News said Dillard last spoke to a friend at 10 p.m. and no one saw him leave the bar. This would make his date of disappearance on December 10, 1992, but it is likely that additional witnesses came forward after this report and provided the 12:40 a.m. timeframe.)

About Alexis Dillard
Dillard's family describes him as athletic, well liked, intelligent, responsible and sensible person who would not leave without telling anyone where he was going. He did not appear to be going through any personal problems at the time. He had many close friends. He has served in the ROTC and was also a member of Phi Gamma Delta.


In 1993, KU's Student Union Activities office, through the Kansas University Endowment Association, established an award in Dillard's name. The award is given annually to students who show special leadership characteristics.

Search and Investigation
By 5:30 p.m., when Dillard had not returned home the following day---his 1989 Acura Integra still locked and near The Sandbar where he had parked it--his roommate, Alan Lowden, reported missing and called  Dillard's mother, Felicie. According to the Buffalo News, police thought he had left of his own accord and "it took a while for Alexis' friends and family to convince police that something was wrong."

Kansas Wildlife and Parks officers used boats to search the river, but the search was hampered due to the high, swift current. Dilliard's credit card had not been used after he disappeared.

On Dec. 12, one to five police officers searched the river off and on all day. State officials also patrolled from the Bowersock Dam to a point about two miles downstream and the Kansas Wildlife and Parks officials searched the river by boat for about an hour. Authorities found no conclusive clues to Dillard's whereabouts.

Police did find footprints that may have been made by Dillard on the north riverbank. The sole pattern reportedly matched the size 10 Rockport shoe, the type and size of shoes Dillard reportedly was wearing when he disappeared. The footprints were near the edge of the river several hundred yards from Johnny's, but there was also some indication that they were turning away from the river. It has never been determined whether the footprints belonged to Dillard, but the finding prompted police to theorize that Dillard had tried to swim across the Kansas River and drowned while making another attempt. He had told friends he had tried to swim the river on at least one occasion before. But friends say he had a lot of common sense and never would have tried to swim across in December.

"He was extremely intelligent, and he had a lot of common sense," Andy Martin, a friend of Dillard's, told the Journal-World at the time. "He'd been in ROTC and he knows about hypothermia; he knows about the current."

According to Porchlight International, "some witnesses stated they saw Dillard hitchhiking on the night of his disappearance, but the sightings have not been confirmed."

It has been nearly two decades, yet no trace of Alexis Dillard has been found. And according to Lt. Kevin Harmon, one of the detectives who worked on the case, "no tips and no new information in the Dillard case have been given to police for several years."

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the Lawrence Police Department at (705) 830-7430 and refer to NCIC Number: M-610131286 .


Facts of Interest:
Name/age: Alexis Dillard, 22
School: Kansas University, Lawrence, KS, fifth year senior
Hometown: Witchita, KS
Last Seen: December 11, 1992 from North Lawrence, Kansas
Date of Birth: June 4, 1970
Family: mother Felicie Dilard, siblings Eugenie Dillard Holbrook and Hardy Dillard.
Physical Description: 5'11, 155 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes
Distinguishing Characteristics: Dillard had a fractured toe at the time of his disappearance. He has no tooth cavities, but one of his molars is missing.

Sources
JENNIFER COMES ROY - Knight-Ridder. 1993. STUDENT'S 1992 DISAPPEARANCE BAFFLES KIN, POLICE :[FINAL Edition]. Buffalo News, December 19, http://www.proquest.com.ezproxy.hclib.org/ (accessed July 22, 2009).
Lawrence Journal World & News, 11/20/02
Porchlight International

Posted 7/14/09.

10 comments:

Devin said...

My thoughts and prayers also go to the family of Alexis Dillard and of course to the friends and families of the other victims. Anon 905 pm-I am not trying to start WW3 or anything but I think all Lisa is trying to do is present ALL the information. Until we know a lot more and there have been actual arrests (hopefully soon!!) I appreciate being able to see all possible information. Great job again Lisa! I thank you for your hard work!

Anonymous said...

Excellent find Lisa! Thanks for posting this article.

It seems to indicate the Smiley Face Killers may have started as early as 1992.There was also another cold case being reinvestigated that went back to the early '90s?? He is the son of a sheriff.

It sheds new light on this subject matter.

Thanks again for all the information you provide.

Monique777 said...

These young men are made out to be idiots by the police/media. Why is this?

I am shocked the police would think a man would try to swim across a river in December.

I have never heard of such a rediculous idea nor have I ever known anyone to want to swim across a river in winter drunk or sober.

Many people partake in the polar bear plunge by jumping in the ice cold water in winter. This is a highly supervised event and many of the guys I knew would have several strong Blood Marys before the plunge and they were STILL VERY NERVOUS to jump in for only a quick moment.

To suggest Alexis Dillard decided to swim home in December is outrageous. Is calling an event with a young man as being foul play even more outrageous in their eyes? If so, do they believe college aged students wear some type of magical protective armor?

BoyintheMachine said...

There should be a study of colleage-age drownings associated with alcohol. I can't say for certain what the results would be, but my guess is that the figures would be far higher than people expect, especially in areas with nearby bodies of water.

I've also realized one thing that people tend to forget or don't even know about. Colleage-age women at bars simply do not walk home by themselves. Most women get rides. Men are more likely to walk to bars and back. This would also explain the lack of female victims. Also consider that males are more likely to die from accidental deaths than female ones and these two factors alone might explain most if not all of the drownings.

There is only a small number of these cases in which there is evidence that something else might have occured. And yes, I do mean a very small amount of these cases. A lot of poeple lump all these cases together and pretend as if they are murder victims when nothing has been proven at this time.

Just my opinion, but there should be a study of alcohol-related drowning deaths among collage age youth.

Monique777 said...

Lisa,

Thanks for clarifying your strict criteria to add someone to the list. I know many people use this site as a way to learn about these men as it has a good reputation of being highly researched.

BITM

I value your opinion, what ever it may be.
Last April or May I took it upon myself to do a statistical analysis of drowning victims. Men are much more likely to drown (10:1) over females. But when I looked further into this number these drownings of men are typically related to recreational sports on water/ice while drinking or not drinking. When this was removed for both men and women (recreational sports on water) the male drowning rate is still higher than women (statictically significant, low "p" value.)

Obviously I am not a statician and don't claim my own study should be bought by others-but it was enough for me to peak my interest in there being something sinister going on with these men.

This is what I like about this site. It is open to any belief or theory (listed in the cloud in upper left). It states the missing college aged males, the facts about each case and that's about it.

Lisa said...

BITM,

Thank you for reminding us not to jump the gun. It really is important to look at all of these cases individually first before looking at them as a collective whole.

Accidental drownings do happen. And the more cases of drownings we uncover, the more likely it is, statistically, that some of these will turn out to be accidental.

Of course, it is impossible for any of us to say one way or the other if these are accidents or homicides---we just aren't privy to all of the official information and evidence (if it even exists). So we are left to theorize and debate.

But I think that's a worthwhile endeavor. Talking about these cases keeps them alive in the public eye, so people continue to care. And who knows, maybe our discussions will spark an idea that will give a cold investigation some new direction.

I agree that drinking and drowning needs to be studied far more carefully and in depth than it has been. I suspect that the numbers are much, much higher than we even know.

And if these cases are not the result of a serial killer, then there is a big problem with our college students and more drinking prevention needs to be done. And discussion would help with that too.

Monique777 said...

In this article they reference the La Crosse and Minnesota drownings and the Kansas police say there is no connection between Dillard and the Wisconsin or Minnesota cases.

Now, if they believe these cases are due to "accidental dorwnings" from alcohol consumption then what do they mean there isn't a connection? It doesn't make sense! I mean wouldn't alcohol related drownings, in itself, connect them?

It appears he's trying to dodge making any connection to foul play but just can't seem to mention the word.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2002/nov/20/s_disappearance/

Monique777 said...

The Alexis F. Dillard student involvement award goes to a graduating senior who has unselfishly contributed to the KU University through campus involvement. The award was established in 1993 by Dillard's family and friends to remember and honor him.

What a great and loving way to have Alexis Dillard remembered by the community through the years.

http//:www.news.ku.edu/2008/april/15/
award.shtml

Grant Doner said...

I don't know what made me think of Alexis this morning, but he has been forward in my mind all day.

I miss my friend and was more than a little surprised to find the anniversary date of his disappearance so close; time does fade memories.

I raise a glass and hope that you are somewhere out there, my old high school friend.

Armen Kurdian said...

Every so often I look him up on the internet to see if something new has turned up. Never has. The guy was destined for something great, a true leader, friend, and patriot. It was crushing to see the flier that December on campus. I had known him since kindergarten.

It's just one of those things that bugs me now and then, that the world would lose a guy like Alexis. Wherever you are, we're still thinking about you bro'.