[This article first appeared in the newspaper "Roundup" from Payson, Arizona, on June 23, 1995. CNI News received it through the UFO Newsclipping Service, a monthly compilaiton of UFO-related news stories produced by Lucius Farish.]
by Max Foster
The mysterious disappearance of a Kansas truck driver near Payson has family members grieving, law enforcement authorities scratching their heads and a UFO organization claiming aliens might have been responsible.
On the morning of Sunday, May 28, Devin Williams, 28, a long-distance driver for Flint Hills Transportaiton in Emporia, Kansas, drove his refrigerated truck loaded with salad mix and strawberries off Interstate 40 onto the Beeline Highway.
About 50 miles later he turned onto a remote Forest Service road, FR95, and drove into the Buck Springs area.
Several miles down the narrow, winding dirt road, the 18-wheeler became stuck and Williams left the vehicle.
The incident is a mystery to many. They want to know why Williams -- a respected, married man with three children -- would drive his truck into a dense wilderness and vanish without a trace.
Coconino County Sheriff's Detective Bruce Cornish has been investigating the disappearance since the day it was reported and he says he has no idea why Williams would take the truck into the area or what has since happened to him.
"It's such a remote area. It certainly isn't a shortcut to Kansas City (Williams' destination)," Cornish said. "And we have no leads on his whereabouts."
Kyle Burris, a fellow employee of Williams' at Flint Hills Transportation, said he too is baffled. "I went out to Arizona in early June and brought the truck back," Burris said. "Why he would have driven into a rugged area like that, I don't know.
"This is not at all like him. It is out of character. He's worked here about four years and everyone knows and likes him. His wife and kids are taking this real hard. Everyone is worried and no one can figure out what happened."
Tom Wilson, owner of Flint Hills Transportation, said he had complete confidence in Williams, who he says was one of his better truck drivers. "I don't know what to think. Devin is a good man. He passed all his random drug tests that federal law requires us to give. Detective Cornish tells me there were no drugs found in the truck. I don't believe that had anything to do with it."
Campers in the area told authorities they talked to Williams at about noon on Sunday and asked him why he drove the truck into the rugged area. They said he pointed to the truck and said, "I didn't do it, they did it." Then he walked back to the truck.
During the course of Cornish's investigation, which is still ongoing, the Flagstaff detective interviewed witnesses who told him they saw Williams on Monday, May 29 a short distance from the stranded truck and that he was barefooted, seemingly disoriented and "talking to a tree." That was the last time Williams was seen, Cornish said.
The highly unusual disappearance has attracted the attention of Texas-based research organization MUFON -- the Mutual UFO Network.
Tucson insurance agent Charlie Green, a long-time member of MUFON, said the case has him fascinated because of what Williams told the campers who first confronted him.
"The driver said, 'I didn't do it, THEY did it,'" said Green. "That kind of makes you wonder who 'THEY' is, doesn't it?"
Wilson said he also has been contacted by UFO organization representatives. "They asked me about Devin and then told me about a man out in Arizona who was abducted into a spaceship and later got away. They made a movie about it," Wilson said.
The movie the caller was apparently referring to was "Fire in the Sky," a drama that depicted the alleged abduction of Snowflake logger Travis Walton by aliens.
Burris said when he visited Arizona to retrieve the 18-wheeler he found it unusual that Williams had left his personal citizen's band radio, valued at approximately $300, in the cab. "That was his own, not the company's. And he also left his favorite hat -- a Marlboro hat -- he always kept it with him."
While the questions are many and the clues are few, detectives, family and friends will continue looking for answers to Williams' disappearance.
Original file name: .CNI - TRUCKER DISAPPEARS
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