Abducted, Murdered, & Missing: Gayla Christine Schaper




Abducted, Murdered & Missing: 

Gayla Christine Schaper

I chose this case because it reminded me of Dorothy Jane Scott's case. And there isn't much about the case online. Which surprised me. I thought of contacting Gayla's former husband Ken Schaper. That was until I started reading more into the case. I decided against it. I just had an experience with a family on another case regarding re-opening old wounds. Sounds like the man has been through hell because of this. And I don't intend on having him relive it. I selected Holding Back The Years by Simply Red for this entry. It's the wrong year but I listened to it a few times while writing this entry. And the lyrics kinda fit the case in a way.



Gayla Christine Schaper




"She's still considered a missing person, officially," said Detective Earl Aston of the Latah County Sheriff's Office, but it's presumed she was murdered.

Date Of Birth: 5/1/1951 
Hair and Eyes: Blonde & Blue
Height & Weight: 5'8 & 128lbs
Parents: LaVerne & Connie Nelson
Husband: Ken Schaper (Owner of Dutch Boy Dairy)
Residence: 236 Rural Route 3 Box, Moscow, Idaho (Address has since been changed)
Date Missing: 6/29/1979
Missing From: Moscow, Idaho
Last Seen Wearing: Blue Sweater, Gold Shirt, Blue Levi Jeans 
& Sneakers




Details of Disappearance

This area is close to where Gayla was dropped off by her husband Ken that fateful evening.

On the evening of June 29th 1979 Ken Schaper dropped his wife off on Lynnville Road near State Highway 8 to feed her 2 horses. Ken had plans to go wash his car in town and return within the hour. Gayla was either going to her parents house (Woodlawn Hills) that was a few miles away, or back to the couples home. Both were within walking distance. When Ken returned within the hour Gayla was nowhere to be found. He checked both their house and her parents residence. The family began searching and when that became fruitless they notified the authorities later that day. 

In August of 1979, Around 2 months after Gayla's disappearance. Gayla's mother Connie Nelson received 2 calls from a person who sounded like her daughter. They stated they needed help and the calls ended abruptly. Law Enforcement installed a tape recorder at the residence in the hope that more calls would come in. None did. In the beginning, Gayla's husband was naturally the primary focus. But he was eventually discounted when he passed a polygraph in 1993.

Law Enforcement is on the record stating he was officially cleared of any wrongdoing and is not considered a suspect. When asked his opinion in the early years of the investigation, Ken stated someone was "out to get them and he didn't know who it was." He cited an incident on Good Friday of 1979 as an example. A little more than a month before Gayla vanished the couple received a letter in the mail on Good Friday. All it said was "You've sold out to the devil". 

The message was written in letters that were cut out of magazines and newspapers. He also stated the couple had received calls in the middle of the night in the months prior to Gayla's disappearance. Whether they were connected to the case is anyone's guess. Law Enforcement's opinion of the case evolved over time. At first they stated it was "Highly Unlikely" that Gayla was abducted.  As the years passed they changed that position. In 2008, Law Enforcement is on record stating they believed Gayla was abducted and murdered. And the motive was sexual in nature. 

Suspects

It was clear that early on in the investigation Law Enforcement had no suspects in Gayla's case. They even were so desperate they tried getting assistance from Dorothy Allison of all people. If you read the newspaper articles years later you can tell how much of an effect this had on Ken. He is quoted as saying "It's just been torture on me". Almost a year after Ken was cleared of any involvement in his wife's disappearance something happened in Moscow that you wouldn't think would be related to Gayla's disappearance. 




On October 26th, 1993 During a drunken argument that was going on 4 hours, William Gale Hagedorn shot his live in girlfriend Joann Grace Romero in the side with a .38 Caliber handgun. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died. Hagedorn was later tried and found guilty. The couples relationship was always considered to be a violent one. I'm gonna be honest, William Gale Hagedorn was a straight up piece of shit. He beat women and was a drunk. Now how would this all be connected to Gayla do you ask? Well the Hagedorns lived across the street from the pasture where Gayla went missing. 

They actually owned the land that Gayla's horses were on. Oh and that's not all. According to Gayla's family Joann was killed because of what she knew William and his dad, Larry did to a woman inside a metal shop they owned in 1979. And they weren't the only ones who insinuated that they had something to do with Gayla's disappearance. Larry's own son almost spilled the beans. According to Law Enforcement when questioned about this William stated he "Didn't want to get his dad (Larry) in trouble". He then shut up and stopped talking about it. So I guess this means that being a complete waste of skin can sometimes be hereditary. 

Larry also happened to own an excavation business as well as a backhoe. Once privy to this information Law Enforcement took no time in searching for Gayla. Armed with a Search Warrant they immediately started excavating around Hagedorn's property. They uncovered some clothes specifically a blouse and some tennis shoes that were wrapped in some curtains. The clothing was described as being similar to the ones Gayla was wearing the day she went missing. In addition to the clothes, they also found 2 bone fragments. All the items were later sent to the FBI Crime Lab in Quantico. All that was said regarding these items was that there was nothing substantial enough to file charges. 

On a positive note they did find an illegally owned firearm at the residence. And as a result, they threw Larry's punk ass in jail because he was a convicted felon. Other than that Gayla's body was never found. Nor was Larry or his son William ever prosecuted for the crime. As the saying goes, No Body No Case." Which is bullshit by the way. But that is another story. 






Analysis

Seems as tho Law Enforcement checked out Larry Hagedorn before making their way back to him after his piece of shit son shot and killed Joann Romero. He is on record as taking a polygraph and passing it. Which is why the investigators probably didn't come back to him until after Romero's killing. I have a theory which is supported by the facts present. I believe that since Larry lived close to the Schaper's he got to see quite a bit of Gayla. The Schaper's owned a Dutch Boy Dairy and because of that were likely busy people. He probably saw them coming and going a lot. And you can tell right off how attractive Gayla was. Big gorgeous smile. She seemed like an overly nice person just by looking at her. So she probably said "Hi" to Larry whenever she saw him. And he prob saw her trotting around in some tight levi's and became obsessed. 

I believe he was likely behind the phone calls as well as the letter coming to the house. I believe he was waiting for an opportunity. There was virtually no way for him to know that Gayla was gonna be dropped off at the pasture while Ken left to get his car washed. I think he just saw it as an opportunity to do what he was wanting to do for a long time. Which means he was likely watching her and had been for a long time. He probably approached her with a gun and took her from that point. I can't fathom, And I don't want to, think of what she probably went through. While researching this case I found her yearbook pictures. And all I could think was that this beautiful young girl doesn't know the horror that awaits her in ten years. 

I'd hate to think he kept her alive for a period of time after her abduction. But if I am correct and he was planning this for some time. Odds are he probably did. 

Why do I say that? The calls to her mother 2 months after she vanished. Her mom was certain it was Gayla. Now I know most readers will think that a mother in her position will likely reach for anything in order to hope that her daughter was still alive. And you're right. But the calls suddenly stopped right after Law Enforcement put a recording system on their phone line. So that is either a coincidence or he knew. And it wouldn't be hard for him to find out. All he had to do was talk to his grieving, desperate, and lost neighbor Ken who was missing his wife. 

"How can I help Ken? Has there been any progress? Have you heard from Gayla?" And Ken being desperate would tell him the information he had. So something tells me its a good possibility that Gayla was alive for a good period of time. How long? There is no way of knowing unless William starts to tell his side of the story. And I believe he knows. When Law Enforcement questioned a family member of Joann's they stated they believed she was killed because she knew "Bill and Larry raped and killed a girl in that green metal shop at 3242 Lenville Rd. many years ago. And that girl was never found."

So not only does he know. He was involved. It turns my stomach thinking about this. I hope that sick son of a bitch is getting raped in prison everyday for what he and his dad did to Gayla. I hope there is an actual hell and that piece of shit Larry is burning for eternity. I'd piss on the evil bastard's grave. Yeah, Larry is dead. He died in 2005. I wish I knew more about the bone fragments that were found. As well as the clothing. But since the investigation is still active they won't release that info. Even if the case is cold as ice. 

Pretty obvious I think Gayla was murdered. No reason for her to leave. Especially on foot. And if the Schaper's had another vehicle Ken would've noticed it missing. And I don't think she got lost and perished. That pasture isn't that big. And based upon her plans she seemed familiar enough to walk a few miles. 

The Schapers seemed to have a strong marriage. And she also partly owned Dutch Boy Dairy. It's impossible for me to imagine her leaving to start another life. She didn't have any known means or reasons to do it. There is another possibility that the calls and the letter the couple received were entirely unrelated to the Hagedorns. Ken even stated at one point he thought Gayla was taken by a few people who had previously visited the farm in the months prior. He thought that because they kept insisting on talking to her instead of him. Hmmmm Wonder why???? 

Probably two guys who just liked to talk to a pretty cowgirl. I mean hell if we took the case out of the equation and I was asked who would I rather have a conversation with....Gayla or Ken.....Hmmmmm That's a tough one! But back to the letter and calls. Larry may have known about them. And decided that if he were to abduct Gayla that day. The authorities as well as Ken would likely try and connect her abduction to those incidents. I doubt it. But it's a possibility. 

I may be way off base here with my speculation. I usually don't speculate. But the known facts of this case lead me to my theory. And there is too much circumstantial evidence that leads back to the Hagedorns. As I stated Larry's guilty ass died in August of 2005 and his evil cowardly son is still serving life for Joann's murder. Gayla's father LaVerne died in 2016 after a 2 year battle with cancer. He died never knowing what happened to his daughter. Looks as if as of at least 2016 Connie is still kicking. 

I hope she gets answers before she passes on. Ken later on remarried and has been so for over 30 years now. He is still haunted by the day in question. Which is why I didn't try and contact him. I hope he is at peace in some way. Until next time.

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