The vanishing of renowned Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore captivated widespread media interest, giving rise to a plethora of rumors and theories that persisted even after his body was discovered nearly a year following his disappearance. The podcast ‘Witnessed Fade to Black’ delves into this perplexing case, meticulously scrutinizing the clues that have gradually surfaced over the years. By unraveling these details, the podcast seeks to shed light on the circumstances surrounding Devore’s disappearance and death, providing listeners with an in-depth exploration of the complex events that shrouded the acclaimed screenwriter’s final moments. Let us look at the details ourselves!
How did Gary Devore Die?
Gary Devore, born on September 17, 1941, transitioned from being a truck driver to a prominent Hollywood screenwriter in the late 1960s. Renowned for his knack for crafting witty action films, such as ‘The Dogs of War’ and ‘Raw Deal,’ Devore solidified his position in the industry. At the time of his mysterious disappearance, he was engrossed in writing the script for ‘The Big Steal,’ a film centered around America’s invasion of Panama. On June 27, 1997, Devore visited the Santa Fe residence of his friend and longtime collaborator, actress Marsha Mason, to continue working on his script. During a call to his wife at the time, Wendy Oates, he conveyed that he had completed the script and was on his way back home.
At approximately 1:15 a.m. on June 28, 1997, during his journey back to his Santa Barbara home, Gary Devore informed his wife, Wendy, that he was approximately 3 to 4 hours away from their house near the town of Barstow. He expressed the possibility of not returning home and opting to stay at a motel to refine the script. This conversation marked the last contact anyone had with Devore. Given the urgency and the high-profile status of Devore, various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DOD, launched an extensive investigation into his disappearance. Despite a year-long search, no traces of Devore were found.
Wendy harbored suspicions that her husband, Gary Devore, might have been abducted, while rumors circulated about the possibility of him committing suicide. In her quest for answers, Wendy organized extensive searches and even offered a $100,000 reward to locate her missing husband. Detective Douglas Crawford, with limited experience, speculated that Devore might be under the California Aqueduct, a site associated with another death. Despite previous searches, a new investigation led to the discovery of Devore’s body along with his car in the aqueduct in 1998.
The police report suggested that Devore had accidentally driven off the aqueduct. His body was found in the driver’s seat with the seatbelt intact, but his laptop containing the script and his car’s gun were missing. Strangely, Devore’s hands were also missing. The autopsy report, inconclusive about the cause of death, led the police to officially declare Devore’s demise as an accident.
Did the CIA Kill Gary Devore?
Conspiracy theories surrounding Gary Devore’s death fueled speculation about the involvement of the CIA. Regarding the US invasion of Panama, the public narrative was focused on defending democracy and addressing drug trafficking under dictator Manuel Noriega and the invasion concluded swiftly, leading to Noriega’s deposition and conviction on drug-related charges. Rumors suggested that, during his script research, Devore had unearthed the real motive behind the U.S. invasion and that the invasion aimed to retrieve compromising photos taken by Noriega. These photos allegedly depicted high-level U.S. officials and government agents engaging in debaucherous parties, providing a potential motive for the supposed CIA involvement in Devore’s death.
The 2014 documentary “The Writer with No Hands” intensified the scrutiny around Gary Devore’s death. Interviews featured in the documentary raised compelling questions, particularly regarding the coroner’s testimony. The documentary showcased a report indicating that the recovered human hands, supposedly belonging to Devore, were approximately 200 years old—a revelation challenging their association with the Hollywood screenwriter. Reports further alleged that a British research team involved in the documentary received warnings from a Department of Defense contractor, advising them to halt their investigation.
In the documentary, Gary Devore’s ex-wife, Wendy, shared details about his relationship with government agencies. Devore had informed her early in their marriage that if she ever received calls from these agencies, she should merely take a message or inform them he was unavailable, avoiding deeper engagement. Wendy asserted that in the months preceding his disappearance, the frequency of these calls notably increased. A former White House official from the Reagan/George H.W. Bush era contributed to the narrative, alleging that Devore had significant ties to the CIA and traveled with them to Panama. According to him, Devore’s death suggested a potential cover-up. Wendy supported these claims, revealing that after his death, she discovered Devore did visit Panama when he had supposedly gone for a film shoot location.
The official police account, stating that Gary Devore drove off the aqueduct, faced considerable scrutiny and skepticism. Upon examination, it was revealed that for Devore to have followed that trajectory, he would have needed to drive in the opposite direction for over two miles, all while his headlights were off. This maneuver would be virtually impossible, and there was no apparent reason for Devore to engage in such unusual driving behavior.
The claims and allegations surrounding Gary Devore’s involvement with the CIA and the mysterious circumstances of his death have never been officially proven. Despite testimonies from his ex-wife and others featured in documentaries, as well as rumors circulating online, there is no official record confirming his ties to the CIA or their involvement in his death. The police files about his death remain unavailable even to Wendy, and until they are made public, the mystery surrounding Devore’s demise will persist.