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BY WENDY DEVORE
It was June 28, 1997 the night of the Tyson/ Holyfield fight in Vegas, while the world watched in horror as Mike Tyson bit off Holyfield’s ear, my own personal life changed forever.
I was married to a prominent Hollywood screenwriter, living an idyllic life on the beach in Santa Barbara, Ca.
I was waiting for him to return from a road trip to Santa Fe, NM.
He had been visiting his friend, Marsha Mason, while there he had polished a script that he had been working on. He was to return home that night.
He intended to turn in the script to the studio the next day. He was very enthusiastic about this screen play, as he was going to have the opportunity to direct the movie.
That night turned into confusion, fear and sheer hell; as he never made it home. My world turned upside down. What
followed was an unsolved mystery manhunt.
This was punctuated by the arrival into my life of many people from experts in law enforcement to the national press. No one more important than a Hollywood private detective named Don Crutchfield.
The fight was to have been a social event for my husband and some friends he had invited to our home. Thank God one of them knew this prominent detective and called him in immediately. For the last 18 years, Don Crutchfield has been working pro bono on this tragic mystery and has never given up.
The information discovered, and the support for me has been amazing. What you will read in this book is his journey through the maze of unexpected realities in this case. Without his participation, I might never have been able to process or comprehend anything. My gratitude for his perseverance is absolute. I am sure when you read this you will understand what it means to be kept safe and sane, by a pro. His suppositions regarding my husband are based on facts, too unnerving for me to have ever considered.
Thank you, Don………………..
BY JAMES ELLROY
James Ellroy has written an Introduction for
THE CASE OF THE MISSING SCREENWRITER.
Crutchfield met Ellroy at a Hollywood bookstore where they exchanged signed copies of their books – LA CONFIDENTIAL (Ellroy) and CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD P.I. (Crutchfield). They soon became friends. In fact, Crutchfield is the only living person to become a protagonist in an Ellroy novel – BLOOD’S A ROVER.
Crutchfield was honored when Ellroy offered to write the Introduction for THE CASE OF THE MISSING SCREENWRITER. There is a bond since both authors have lived the L.A. scene from Beverly Hills to Skid Row. They know the cops and the pimps. The conmen… the politicians – some reasonably honest but most weasels. Good lawyers and the shysters. And they really know the business that drives LA business of show – films, TV and music. Many of the purveyors of the products of show business represent a slimy bottomless pit of dripping insincerity and back stabbing that makes Brutus look like an amateur. The dynamic duo of noir – Ellroy and Crutchfield – know some good and do some good, but they are really experts of the bad and the ugly. The disappearance of Gary Devore exemplifies the good, bad and the ugly.
This is spelled out in block letters in James Ellroy’s unique scat:
Big Daddy, Don Crutchfield’s on the case!
Big Don’s the P.I. of the Stars. The real thing among most of the dorks who are L.A.private eyes. That’s why I used him as the hero of my novel, “Blood’s A Rover”.
Big Don got his start as a wheelman for Beverly Hills divorce lawyers back in the 60’s, the golden age for private dicks and he’s been on the job ever since. When he gets his teeth into a case, he holds on like a rabid pit bull – and he don’t let go!
The book you are about to read will bite your boogaloo. It’s a real detective’s notebook. You’ll be crawling through the crisp cranial cracks of Crutch’s meshuganah mind!
You’ll be inside Crutchfield’s craaaazy head as he pieces
together disparate bits on the death of Hollyweird screenwriter Gary Devore who went tits-up in his car on a stretch of the
California desert – maybe?
This job smelled fishy from Jump Street.
You can spell “KKKover-up” – kant you, kats?
And Craaaazy Crutch lays it all out for you, real detective style.
Dig: He details every lead, every factual inconsistency and every flaw in the cop’s crime-scene reconstruction.
He digs deep into Gary Devore’s life like a bloodhound,
The result is a spellbinder of a true-crime book that will have you thinking Murder One and Conspiracy!
You’ve bought the book.
Now read it.
Crawl through Crazy Crutch’s cranial cracks and get obsessed right along with him. What is the riddle of the death of Gary
March 26, 2015
To use James Ellroy’s word ” riddle” – what is the riddle of Gary Devore’s disappearance? Crutchfield starts his work with a prologue that sets up that riddle.
EXT. MOJAVE DESERT – NIGHT
ESTABLISHING – Along Highway 14
ANGLE – 1997 WHITE FORD EXPLORER
The Ford Eddie Bauer edition barrels down California State Highway 58.
CUT TO :
INT. FORD ON DRIVER
Behind the wheel the rugged, tanned DRIVER in his mid-fifties stretches… a bit weary after driving from Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is after midnight and dark along this non-populated strip of asphalt highway that cuts through the barren Mojave desert landscape. It is hot but the driver has the A/C off and his window down. The Ford Explorer slows at Kramer Junction, the driver looks up the back road that leads to the rear entrance of Edwards Air Force Base.
We look up the almost pitch black road and we see the lights of the base in the distance. There is a traffic road sign that points up the dark road towards the lights – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, RESTRICTED ENTRY.)
BACK ON DRIVER
He chuckles to himself.
DRIVER (to himself as he whistles a few bars of The Twilight Zone theme.)
Area 51 time…
He chuckles and glances at the four inch .38 Colt revolver jammed in between the seats and the Toshiba laptop on which there was safely ensconced 120 pages of script.
BACK ON DRIVER
He yawns as he works a cell phone. He smiles as there is a response to his call.
DRIVER (into phone)
Hi babe…yeah everything is great. I’ve broken the back of script…I think it’s maybe the best thing I’ve written. It’s
dynamite! …No, I’m not really tired, what…what? You’re breaking up…Okay, I should be home in about four hours. Love ya!
He grins as he puts the phone down. The grin fades as he again glances down at the revolver and then looks in the rear view mirror checking if he’s being followed……
The above fictitious bit of script has a measure of truth. In 1997 a famous screenwriter turns up missing. The twists and turns of the convoluted disappearance would have been script fodder for the missing writer. He would have been intellectually and emotionally attracted to the case, it was a natural action film. He would have written an action script for a major studio. A script that would have starred a boffo box office name like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The screenwriter had the horsepower to attract “A” actors.
CASE OF THE MISSING SCREENWRITER is the story of that writer and his last script…a shooting script that was never produced…never found…a script that may have caused his disappearance and possibly – his death..
After driving from Santa Fe, New Mexico on June 28th 1997, noted screenwriter Gary Devore failed to arrive at his home in Santa Barbara, California. He phoned his wife and said he was about four hours away. He never made it home.
Devore suddenly became one of the 900,000 missing persons reported yearly. Where thanks to a wife who refused to
passively accept her husband’s disappearance, a noted private investigator and a public relations expert, the case did not slip into the black hole of anonymity with the thousands of the other faceless missing.
The author, Don Crutchfield has been intimately connected with the Devore case since June 29th, 1997 when he received an urgent call.
“I got a call from Mike Walker, articles editor and columnist for the National Enquirer.
He sounded very upset. He’d just been contacted by close friend, Wendy Oates-Devore whose husband was missing. Mike had known Wendy for years. Mike wanted to know if I could help her. Naturally, I said I would. Little did I know this case would be one of the most publicized and puzzling I’d ever investigated. What was, and is, so eerie is that the whole story could have been created in Gary Devore’s fertile mind. It is a script he could have written…and maybe, just maybe, he did.”
Don Crutchfield is known as the “PI to the Stars”. As a private investigator he has handled cases for some of the biggest stars from Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland to the Beatles.
Crutchfield headed the investigation for Mrs. Devore and coordinated with the various law enforcement agencies that were involved. Crutchfield didn’t need the publicity, but he personally was not satisfied with the “official” conclusion of the case nor was Wendy Devore.
Crutchfield was and is, dubious about what really happened, as he says:
“Over the years, I handled a number of missing person cases as a P.I. for important Hollywood clients but the Devore case bothered me. There was something wrong – something that produced an odor which was not Chanel no. 5. Gary Devore’s disappearance didn’t appear to me to be a simple case of a husband walking or driving away from his marriage. There was the possibility he’d been carjacked. The Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition, would fetch a pretty peso across the border, but as the days and weeks wore on, the carjacking theory lost credibility. There was no evidence. Not a scintilla.
This was a problem. Also, a hundred thousand dollar reward should have produced some tangible leads, but there was nothing of substance.
Since the recovery of the Ford Explorer in 1998, Crutchfield has continued to work with the widow on a pro bono basis. Crutchfield is a realist. He’s not a conspiracy advocate. Still from day one, his gut has bothered him about this case. What in particular?
There are numerous aspects that cannot be fully explained. Crutchfield’s years of investigative experience also contributed to his questioning of the official account of Gary Devore’s disappearance. This book is the result of some eighteen frustrating years of following up on leads and studying of available evidence.
This is a controversial work. It is meant to be. The author is not attempting to say definitely what happened to the famed screen writer, Gary Devore. He will offer the reader a number of possibilities…some logical…some illogical. Some of those proffered may be considered not just on the fringe, but way over the top. The reader will be able to decide which, if any, theory makes sense to him or her. The reader will have all the pertinent information that is available at the time of publication.
This is not to say Crutchfield hasn’t a theory – he does.
There is a focus on Panama, specifically the U.S. military intervention in December 1989, which was controversial in its own right but well may have affected Gary Devore.
The author makes no political or moral judgment as to the pros and cons of the military action. A basic knowledge of Panama and the political climate in the late 1900s, is important to be able to understand several of the theories concerning Devore’s disappearance and demise.
The author has no dog in the fight. Aside from intellectual and professional curiosity, he is in pursuit of the truth because of the widow – Wendy Devore.
What happened? Was it really a tragic traffic accident? A possible suicide? An elaborate ruse that allowed him to
disappear? A carjacking that resulted in murder? Was it something more sinister than a common street crime?
Something that could have involved organized crime? Perhaps something that involved the CIA,? a Columbian or
Mexican drug cartel?
Wendy Devore’s active imagination became a kaleidoscope of horrific images…images she could not control or erase.
Images of Gary being tortured or pinned in the wreckage of the Explorer trapped in the desert.
She felt their love was so strong that Gary would have never walked out on her…never! There wasn’t another woman, not even a hint. No, she knew instinctively that Gary was in mortal danger and that time was running out.
She had to find him…find him before he died.