James Lee Haynes
Haynes, approximately 1963
Date reported missing : 12/07/1963
Missing location (approx) :
Wyoming County, West Virginia
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
DOB : 08/10/1931 (89)
Age at the time of disappearance: 32 years old
Height / Weight : Unknown
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian male.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Haynes was last seen hitchhiking to his parents' home in Saulsville, West Virginia on December 7, 1963.
He was a sergeant in the Army and lived in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and children. He left his family in Maryland while he went home to visit his parents for Christmas, taking presents with him. He never arrived and has never been heard from again.
Authorities searched for him and found his chain nailed to a tree, and his billfold and some bloody rags hidden in a stump, but no sign of Haynes. (There were reports that his Army dog tags were also found; this is incorrect.)
Authorities believe Haynes was murdered by three men on the night of his disappearance; they think he was intentionally struck by a vehicle in Raleigh County, West Virginia and his body buried on Bolt Mountain in Wyoming County.
In 1971 a suspect, William Lundy Trump, was arrested and charged with Haynes's murder. He was later released for lack of evidence. There are two other suspects, James Paul Cozort and James Floyd Cox.
According to police's theory of the crime, the three suspects got into a barroom brawl with Haynes, followed him in their car after he left, and ran him over on Bolt Mountain Road.
The three men allegedly bragged about the crime to others. They said they initially weren't sure whether they'd killed Haynes, so they backed over the body until they were sure he was dead. They put his body in the trunk of their car and buried it on Bolt Mountain.
Cozort was questioned about Haynes's disappearance in 1971, but never charged. He had by then moved to Oregon. Authorities attempted to find Cox after Trump's 1971 arrest but never were able to locate him.
Although authorities don't expect to be able to prosecute anyone in connection with Haynes's disappearance, they would still like to find his remains. His case remains unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
Raleigh County Sheriff's Department
September 2021 updates and sources
The Doe Network
The State Journal
The Beckley Post-Herald
October 12, 2004. March 8, 2016; Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : updated.
Interactive Missing Person Search Map