Michael Olson

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Above Images: Olson, circa 1979

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: December 1, 1979 from West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: November 9, 1959
  • Age: 20 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'8, 165 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, hazel eyes.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Olson was last seen in West Palm Beach, Florida on December 1, 1979. He is from Edina, Minnesota and had been a student at the University of Minnesota, studying business, but he was taking time off school when he disappeared. Several weeks before his disappearance he traveled to Florida and got a job as a bag boy at the President Country Club in West Palm Beach. He was staying temporarily at the Howard Johnson's hotel on Okeechobee Boulevard, he called his parents in Minnesota once a week.

    Friday, November 30, was Olson's day off from work. He played golf then went to a rental agency trying to find a permanent place to live. At 6:00 p.m., he went to the dog track with coworkers, a mile from his hotel, to watch some races. It is known he placed some bets but it isn't clear how much he won or lost.

    Olson and his friends went to a bar after the track closed and watched a boxing match on television there, then went to two other bars, staying until closing time at 4:00 a.m. on December 1. His friends stated he didn't drink very much. At 5:00 a.m., Olson dropped one of his friends off and said, "I'll see you at work in the morning," then drove away, presumably back to his hotel. He has never been heard from again.

    When Olson missed work later that Saturday, his friends called his hotel and got no answer. They drove to the hotel that night and his car, a maroon 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix, wasn't there. Sunday morning they spoke to the hotel desk clerk, who confirmed he hadn't checked out. The clerk thought Olson might have decided to leave without settling his bill, and called the police. The next day, Monday, Olson's boss called his parents and told them Olson was missing.

    Olson was apparently happy with how things were going in Florida and his parents didn't believe he would have walked out of his life, especially without taking his clothes or other belongings with him. Because he had just cashed his paycheck and a $700 check his parents sent him, he may have been carrying up to a few thousand dollars when he disappeared. He wasn't involved with drugs and his family stated even if he had gotten in trouble, such as by gambling away all his money at the dog track, he wouldn't have been afraid to come home and ask them for help.

    Olson's family theorizes he was murdered, either because he accidentally witnessed criminal activity, or because thieves wanted to steal his new car and the cash he had on him. The Grand Prix has never been recovered and there has been no sign of Olson since 1979.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    West Palm Beach Police Department
    561-822-1900

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    Source Information
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    West Palm Beach Police Department
    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated August 5, 2017; picture added, details of disappearance updated.

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