Crime

Alaskan Woman Mysteriously Disappears While on a Date

On a date, a man’s car fails to start. He leaves to get help; comes back to find her gone.

A date to the local fair turns into a mystery when a woman disappears without a trace while her date leaves to get help when his car fails to start.

Erin Gilbert/The Charley Project

In the evening hours of July 1, 1995, 24-year-old Erin Marie Gilbert went out on a date with a man, David Combs, whom she met the previous night. For their date, the two went to the Girdwood Forest Fair in Girdwood, Alaska.

At 4 p.m. that day, Combs picked Gilbert up, and the two of them headed to the fair. Two hours later, at 6 p.m., Combs said that when they went to his car, that he had accidentally left his car lights on and that his vehicle would not start as a result. Since his vehicle failed to start, he told Gilbert that he was going to walk to the house of a friend’s for help. Combs subsequently walked it towards his friend’s for two hours, alone, but when he could not locate his friend’s place, returned to the car. By this point, he stated that upon returning to the car, Gilbert was nowhere in sight. Figuring Gilbert had gone back to the fair, Combs tried the ignition again, this time successfully getting it to start, then headed back to the festival to look for Gilbert. After searching for her until 1 a.m. and failing to find her, Combs called her sister at 7 a.m., whom she lived with, asking her if Gilbert had made it back home, to which her sister said that she hadn’t. She and other family members then drove to Girdwood to look for her too. At the fair, they had Gilbert’s name called on stage and searched the grounds of the festival, and nearby woods. When they still could not find her, the police were called. An extensive search ensued whereby dogs and helicopters were ultimately unable to locate her either. As it stands regarding Combs, he is not a suspect in her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved. If still alive, she would be 48 years old.

The Charley Project

Her loved ones describe Gilbert as a responsible person, not the kind to leave without a word or go off into the woods on her own. At the time of her vanishing, she was employed as a nanny in Anchorage, Alaska. She enjoyed playing basketball and aspired to become a novelist. She had also planned on enrolling into cosmetology school. Gilbert had also been living in Alaska for only a year before she went missing, having lived in San Francisco and Everett, Washington before her move to Alaska.

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