Case File: Renee Bruhl - 384DFIN
|The Doe Network
Physical Description** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.
Clothing & Personal Items
Circumstances of Disappearance
Bruhl and two of her friends, Patricia Blough and Ann Miller, disappeared from the Indiana State Park in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana on July 2, 1966. The women arrived at the Indiana Dunes State Park at approximately 10:00 AM. Miller parked in the park's lot and the women hiked to a spot approximately 100 yards from the Lake Michigan shoreline. A couple reported seeing the women leave their belongings on the beach at approximately 12:00 and enter the lake together. The witnesses saw them speaking to an unidentified man operating a 14 - 16 foot-long white boat with a blue interior and and outboard motor sometime afterward. The couple reported their observations to a park ranger around dusk when they noticed that the women's belongings were still sitting unclaimed on the beach. The witnesses stated that the women went aboard the boat and headed west with the driver.
The park rangers soon learned that missing persons' reports had been filed for Blough, Miller and Bruhl over the weekend in Illinois by their families. The rangers began investigating the park and located Miller's Buick in the parking lot. Her car keys had been located with her belongings and some items of the women's clothing and other personal effects were still inside the vehicle. The park rangers contacted other law enforcement agencies, including the United States Coast Guard. A search for the missing women was initiated on July 5, three days after the women disappeared.
More witnesses began substantiating the initial reports that the women entered a white boat operated by an unidentified man. Later accounts described the male as in his early twenties with a tanned complexion and dark, wavy hair. He was wearing a beach jacket at the time. A visitor was filming home movies at the state park on July 2 and offered his reels to investigators. The search was immediately narrowed to two boats once authorities viewed the footage. One was a fiberglass 16 - 18-foot long trimaran runabout with a three-hulled design, which was operated by a man fitting the description of the unidentified driver. Three females matching the missing women were seen aboard the smaller boat in the footage. The second boat identified was a 26 - 28-foot Trojan cabin cruiser with three men aboard along with three women. The cabin cruiser was seen at approximately 15:00, three hours after the women entered the smaller vessel. Investigators believe that the women may have been dropped off on the beach by the driver of the smaller boat while he drove back to retrieve two male friends and the cabin cruiser. Blough, Miller and Bruhl were reportedly seen eating and walking along the sand dunes after this time. They were approached by another unidentified man, who accompanied them on to the cabin cruiser. Witnesses stated that the cabin cruiser was equipped with a radio / telephone antenna, but apparently did not have a name printed on its stern. This final sighting has never been confirmed, but is considered reliable by authorities. Investigators began researching the women's backgrounds in an attempt to discover if their disappearances were voluntary. Authorities found that there may have been problems in Bruhl's marriage, though her family denied it. All three women were horse enthusiasts, Blough and Miller met while boarding their horses at the same Illinois stable. Miller was employed as a horse exerciser at Oak Brook Polo Club at the time she vanished. She and Blough were associated with men who had criminal backgrounds in the horse market. Blough was reportedly having problems with 'horse syndicate people' in the spring and summer of 1966. Drowning was considered a possibility in the disappearances, but unlikely. The boats they were reportedly seen boarding on July 2, 1966 have never been located, nor have the unidentified men spotted on the vessels been seen again. The Indiana Dunes State Park where Blough, Miller and Bruhl were last seen is now called the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
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Last Updated: 1/16/2012 - By: BR/ Web Assist