Kelly Bergh Dove was employed at the Imperial gas station situated on South Main Street in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A matrimony-bound mother of a 4-year-old daughter, Dove had accomplished her secondary education ahead of schedule, and she was enrolled to commence her studies at Blue Ridge Community College come September.
Each of Dove’s three sisters was gainfully employed at the Imperial Station, which was, at that time, the solitary edifice perched on an isolated stretch of road about a mile south of the James Madison University campus. It was on the evening of Thursday, June 17, that Dove opted to exchange shifts with one of her sisters and took on the task of working the nocturnal hours.
As the eve of June 18, 1982, descended, the 20-year-old Kelly Dove was found diligently laboring through the graveyard shift at the gas station. At some juncture during the night, Kelly vanished without a trace, yet not without first disclosing a series of disconcerting incidents of maltreatment to the local law enforcement.
Promptly after the stroke of midnight, Kelly reached out to the police, apprising them of improper telephone solicitations she had received. She beseeched the authorities to conduct a welfare check on her well-being, but regrettably, no assistance arrived. Subsequently, Kelly initiated another call to the police, this time reporting the harassment she was enduring at the hands of a male patron, suggesting that he had exposed himself in an indecent manner. Approaching 2:30 AM, an apprehensive Kelly dialed 911 for the third instance, citing yet another lewd phone call. She also recounted that the same customer had abruptly pulled into the parking lot in a gleaming silver Ford.
Eventually, the police deemed it prudent to ascertain Kelly’s condition. Unfortunately, by the time they reached the station, a mere two minutes later, Kelly had vanished. Her purse remained abandoned, yet there were no discernible signs of struggle or pilferage. The authorities faced criticism for their delayed response, only arriving at the station after Kelly’s third 911 call. Furthermore, they neglected to secure the premises or collect fingerprints in the aftermath of her inexplicable disappearance. It has always been a belief held by Kelly’s family that an individual from her high school days, harboring a history of unsettling conduct and untoward telephone communications, might hold some accountability for her vanishing act. However, no concrete evidence has ever linked this individual to the enigmatic circumstances.
Formally declared deceased in 1989, a span of seven years had elapsed without a shred of information about Dove’s whereabouts. Her remains have eluded discovery, and no person has faced allegations related to her mystifying disappearance. A slew of individuals were scrutinized by investigators as conceivable suspects, yet the puzzle of her vanishing has remained frustratingly unsolved.
Kelly Dove’s absence continues to linger, a phenomenon that endures beyond three decades. Perhaps the most poignant facet of her narrative is that, on the night in question, having exchanged shifts with her sister, she toiled anonymously, her presence largely unnoticed.