Gonna Buy Me a Car

With a person of interest now identified, Miller took steps to put together a flier for local police agencies. He managed to get two photos of the man: one from the Washington State Department of Licensing, the other from the Tacoma Sheriff’s Office, which had a fraud warrant out on the guy. The Tacoma picture showed him with wavy hair and a Fu Manchu mustache. Miller’s best information came from a search of vehicle records. He learned that Draper was in the process of purchasing a car from Cal Worthington Ford in Anchorage.

car
Cal Worthington, car dealer known for over-the-top ads

In contacts with the car dealership, Miller learned that Draper was making periodic balloon payments on the vehicle. He was, in fact, coming into the dealership on a weekly — and sometimes daily — basis. Each time he came in, Draper made a payment of two- or three-hundred dollars.

The people at the Ford dealership searched their records and determined that Draper had made two payments around the time of the Investor murders. One on the 2nd of September. Another on the 10th. He made a third payment, moreover, on September 16th. Miller realized, of course, that Draper could have easily flown to Craig and back during that period. After all, Miller had recently done so himself.

To get a better handle on the situation, Miller determined to talk to Draper in person. He went to the address listed on his vehicle registration. 1201 Wilshire didn’t exist. But a short time later, another officer spotted Draper’s car at an Anchorage shopping center. Miller decided on a stake-out.

Don Draper didn’t return to his car until the next morning. When he finally showed up, Miller accosted him and said they needed to talk. Somewhat reluctant!y, Draper agreed to accompany Miller to trooper headquarters for an interview.

The man adamantly denied having ever been in Craig. Indeed, he denied ever having been to southeast Alaska. And, he told the homicide detective, he had never talked to any crewmembers of the Investor. Barring additional information, Miller could only conclude that Mr. Draper — while not exactly an upstanding citizen — had been victimized by the anonymous caller.

Excerpts from the unpublished original manuscript, “Sailor Take Warning,” by Leland E. Hale. That manuscript, started in 1992 and based on court records from the Alaska State Archive, served as the basis for “What Happened in Craig.”

Copyright Leland E. Hale (2019). All rights reserved.


Craig

Order “What Happened In Craig,” HERE and HERE. True crime from Epicenter Press about Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder.

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