Doe Network

565DFWA - Donna Gail Manson


Name: Donna Gail Manson
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: March 12, 1974
Location Last Seen: Olympia, Thurston County, Washington

Physical Description

Date of Birth: June 9, 1954
Age: 19 years old
Race: White
Gender: Female
Height: 5'0"
Weight: 100 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Nickname/Alias: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown


Dentals: Available
Fingerprints: Not Available

Clothing & Personal Items

Clothing: a top striped in red, orange and green, blue or green slacks and a black fuzzy maxi-coat.
Jewelry: Brown oval agate ring and a Bulova Caravell wrist watch
Additional Personal Items: Unknown

Circumstances of Disappearance

Manson was a student at the Evergreen State College in Olympia in 1974. On March 12, 1974, Manson was last seen at 7:00 p.m. by a college roommate whom Manson told she was going to attend a jazz concert being held on the campus. She was reportedly last seen between the dorms and library on the way to the concert. Manson did not indicate she planned to leave campus and supposedly all of her personal belongings were still in her room.

Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy confessed on death row to abducting Manson from the Olympia campus. However, Bundy never specifically said where Manson's remains might be found. First, he said Manson was in the mountains, then in the Cascades, then finally he said she was on Taylor Mountain, but he never got more specific than that. Bundy also claimed he took Manson's skull to his girlfriend's house and burned it in the fireplace "down to the last ash" in "a fit of... paranoia and cleanliness".

There had been signs of Bundy around the campus, including his yellow Volkswagen. Manson had also talked about meeting "an individual she had just met who had a cast on his arm, who may or may not have been named Ted." Bundy lured some of his victims to their deaths by pretending to need help because he had a broken arm.

On August 29, 1979, two fishermen came upon a human skull while walking in the foothills of Mount Rainier, southwest of Eatonville. Searchers combed the area and located more human bones, hair, and a multicolored shirt, which became a key piece of evidence since Manson was said to be wearing a similar shirt when she was last seen.

However, comfirming the identity of Manson might prove impossible because the Pierce County Sheriff's Department lost the remains a few years after their discovery, along with X-rays and other forensic data.

The site near Eatonville could be considered in the Cascade foothills. Authorities checked with local jurisdictions, looking for a missing person who would fit the evidence. Dental X-rays were made and compared to some missing person reports, but they were never compared to Manson's dental charts.

An investigation was revived after a December 2, 1996 story in The News Tribune about three unidentified skeletons that disappeared from the property room at the sheriff's department. Two of the skeletons were destroyed in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Tacoma landfill during routine purges of the property room at the sheriff's department. Neither the Pierce County Sheriff's Department nor the Medical Examiner's Office can say what happened to the third skeleton found near Eatonville. Officials also havent been able to explain why records related to the skeleton are missing.

A check of the dental records of the missing persons in the state produced eight possible identities for the Eatonville skeleton. A forensic dentist hired by the sheriff's department ruled out all but Manson's case.

Despite Bundy's confession, Manson's remains have yet to be located.

Investigating Agency(s)

Agency Name: Thurston County Sheriff's Office
Agency Contact Person: Detective Chris Ivanovich
Agency Phone Number: 360-786-5229
Agency E-Mail: [email protected]
Agency Case Number: 7438683

Agency Name: Thurston County Crime Stoppers
Agency Contact Person: N/A
Agency Phone Number: 360-493-2222
Agency E-Mail:N/A
Agency Case Number: N/A

NCIC Case Number: M105870423
NamUs Case Number: 22761

Information Source(s)

Fold 3
Clark Prosecutor
Deseret News
University of Washington
The Evergreen State College
North American Missing Persons Network

Admin Notes

Added: Prior to 2011; Last Updated: 3/7/2017

Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team

** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.

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