Missing Reno, NV Man, Willard Duane Martindale, Has Been Missing Since 1977 With No Media Attention.

June 19, 2023 — Underground Mysteries

Willard Duane Martindale, Jr., who also goes by “Duane”, went missing in 1977 in Reno, Washoe County, Nevada when he was 29 years old.  There has hardly been any media attention on this underrepresented cold case to date.

Although Martindale had been living a transient lifestyle in both Reno and Hawthorne, Nevada at the time of his disappearance and was well-acquainted with other transients in town, none of the local transients have reported seeing him since 1977.  His family last saw him on December 1, 1977, after they drove around looking for him and saw him on an overpass of a highway in Reno.  By the time they were able to make a U-turn, he was no longer visible. 

Martindale was born in Michigan on May 12, 1948 to Willard D. Martindale, Sr., and Eleanor Jean (Mattson) Martindale.  He grew up on Maple Street in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan and attended Sault Sainte Marie High School, where he went by his middle name, “Duane”.  After high school, Martindale moved to Reno with his family.

As for Martindale’s physical description, he is a Caucasian male who is about 5’10” in height, with sandy colored hair and blue eyes. He weighed about 175 pounds when he was last seen. 

If Martindale is alive today, he would be 75 years old.  Martindale’s parents both passed away, never knowing what became of him.  His remaining family deserves answers to this cold case.

There are many unknown variables in Martindale’s case.  Because he was nomadic by nature, he could have traveled anywhere.  Law enforcement diligently searched for him, to no avail.

I created a Facebook page to bring more awareness to his disappearance, in hopes that people will share his story and that anyone with information will come forward.

If you have any information regarding Martindale’s whereabouts, please contact the Reno Police Department at 775-334-2175 and mention case number 23-9047. 

His profile on NamUs.gov: https://www.namus.gov/MissingPersons/Case#/60244?nav
Facebook (self-created page): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100092909234856
Newspapers.com: Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada • Page 23 – July 2000
Ancestry.com — I built a lengthy family tree on this platform for him in for potential genetic genealogy purposes.
Family Search
Public Reno, NV court records search: https://odysseypa.tylerhost.net/Reno/default.aspx
Google Maps
Find a Grave ®
1950 US Census record
1930 and 1940 US Census record (for his parents and family)
U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, published in the Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, City Directory in 1956, listed as the “Polk’s Numerical Telephone Directory” (for his father)
U.S. City Directories, 1922-1995: 1960 residence directory, for reference of his father working as a meat cutter and the family living on Maple in Sault Sainte Marie, MI
U.S. City Directories, residence directory from 1947: for listing of his father working as a laborer and married to Eleanor J. Martindale
Michigan U.S. Marriage Records (1867-1952); for the marriage certificate of Willard and Eleanor in 1945.
U.S. Newspapers from 1969
U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index (for family death certificates)
U.S. Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection
Jlynnleeds’ photo
U.S., World War II Draft Cards, 1940-1947
Yearbooks for Sault Sainte Marie High School
Sault Sainte Marie high school website


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