After 25 years, the search for Dail Dinwiddie continues

Sunday marks 25 years since Dail Dinwiddie disappeared from Five Points.

Twenty-five years ago, Dail Dinwiddie vanished into thin air.

Sunday marks the anniversary of when 23-year-old Dinwiddie went to Five Points with her friends after a U2 concert. When her and her friends got separated, Dinwiddie looked for them at Jungle Jim's, where the bar, The Horseshoe, now sits.

She went toward Harden and Greene Streets to keep searching around 2 a.m.--the last time she was ever seen.

It is hard to imagine that, after a quarter of a century, the Randolph-Macon Women's College graduate has not been found.

"Dail Dinwiddie wasn't the type of person that would run away or anything."

Dinwiddie jumps to the forefront of Columbia residents' minds when September rolls around. They remember she is missing.

Andy Shnon never forgets.

"She used to come in here with her friends."

Shnon can't help but get emotional when he talks about Dinwiddie, who frequented his business in Five Points, Andy's Deli. His memories are nothing but positive about the young woman he saw just days before September 24, 1992.

"She was beautiful, and everybody liked her, and everybody was sad when she was missing."

Shnon keeps her flyer on the wall, hoping she returns.

"The biggest problem is there's no real crime scene; there's no body, there's no evidence."

For the past ten years, Columbia Police Department's Mark Vinson has acted as lead investigator on the Dinwiddie case.

Every time Vinson thinks he has a lead, it goes cold. He has vetted thousands of tips, manned every search, and cross-checked three confessions.

One suspect in the case is Reinaldo Javier Rivera, a serial killer known as Ray Rivera, who is currently on death row in Georgia for murdering four women. He lived in Columbia at the time of Dinwiddie's disappearance.

Despite interviewing Rivera, CPD doesn't have enough evidence to tie him to Dinwiddie.

Vinson and the entire department aren't immune to the frustration.

"You're hopeful," he says. "You want to be able to provide some closure for the family. The worst thing that can happen to any person is to have something happen to their child."

The Dinwiddie parents and brother still reside in Columbia. They declined to be interviewed but released a joint statement, saying, "We want to keep the focus on Dail and not our family."

They added in a later release, "After twenty-five years, our family and friends still hope and pray each day that someone will come forward with information that will lead us to Dail,"

The Dinwiddie's remain hopeful--and so does Vinson.

"I would hope that person would be willing to come over after all this time or provide us with some type of information that would lead us to where she is."

A $20,000 reward is offered to anyone who has information on Dinwiddie's location. They are urged to contact the Richland County Sheriff's Department or Columbia Police Department.

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