BECKY DILLON / Montrose Daily Press / July 7, 1999

URAVAN - Officials removed a missing Nucla man's pickup from Unaweep Canyon Monday, but the vehicle offers few clues to the man's whereabouts.

The truck does not appear to have been accidentally driven into the water where the Dolores and San Miguel rivers join, and no body was found, said Montrose County Undersheriff Dick Deines. However, that doesn't tell whether Dale Williams is missing as a result of foul play.

Williams, 42, was last seen around 6 p.m. May 27 at the Family Market in Naturita. He is the owner of Showtime Movie Rentals and Dale's Pro Body Shop, both located in Nucla.

"We have a person still missing, only we found his truck. (That) is the bottom line," Deines said.

Teen-agers fishing in the area found the vehicle, described as a white F-250 longbed pickup, on Sunday. Officials responded and removed the vehicle using a trackhoe Monday.

The Dolores and San Miguel rivers join by a gravel road six miles west of Colo. 141 between Uravan and Gateway.

The vehicle was in an upright position, with mud and sand built up about dash-high in the cab.

"We can't be 100 percent certain, but it doesn't appear the vehicle was involved in any accident," Deines said.

The spot is not on a curve in the road. "Someone would have had to make a fairly sharp and abrupt turn (for the vehicle) to be put into the river," Deines said. "It's suspicious in nature, but doesn't necessarily mean that a crime has been committed.

"Even if we were able to prove the pickup was deliberately driven into the river, we still would not know if Dale Williams, the missing person, drove it into the river" or if it landed there as the result of foul play.

"It's hard to speculate," he added. "We can't rule out foul play, but we can't find anything to confirm any foul play."

The amount of debris in the cab indicates the vehicle may have been driven into the river the same day Williams was reported missing.

"One would think if he was still driving around the area (after he was reported missing and descriptions of the vehicle publicized), people would have spotted him," Deines said.

Williams' wife, Diana, said she believes her husband has been the victim of foul play.

The removal of the vehicle "doesn't tell us what happened, but it does point to foul play," she said. "They (officials) are still not telling us anything."

Diana Williams was out of town at the time the vehicle was removed from the river but heard about it from friends upon her return.

Deines said Colorado Bureau of Investigation officials probably will help Montrose County Sheriff's Office personnel in further processing of the vehicle and debris from the cab.

The MCSO, the West End Montrose County Road Department, Colorado State Patrol, and a dive team removed the vehicle.

The team spent about one hour removing the vehicle from the river and another hour digging sand, mud and debris from the cab of the vehicle. The vehicle remained at the location several more hours while the scene was investigated before it was towed off and remains in evidence.

The vehicle is "the first physical evidence found" in the case since Williams was reported missing in May, Deines said. He was not sure whether the vehicle's contents would yield further clues.

Williams was last seen wearing a dark blue T-shirt and blue jeans.

He is described as a white male with light brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 170 pounds.

Williams and his wife have two teen-age daughters.

A ground search involving about 40 people and an air search was conducted May 31.

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