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Missing Hugh Frederick Harlin
Hugh, circa 1986
Missing Since 11/01/1986
Morro Bay, California
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 07/31/1935 (85)
Age 51 years old
Height and Weight 5'8, 140 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Gray hair, brown eyes. Hugh is missing his left thumb and forefinger. He may have a beard.
Details of Disappearance During the early 1980s Hugh was married to Dian Harlin, an eccentric woman who became known as "The Dog Lady" around Morro Bay. Hugh worked as a fisherman and sold fish around town. The marriage was troubled and the couple often argued.
Hugh never reported his wife missing, saying she had dropped out of sight before for short periods. He was questioned extensively, but eventually ruled out as a suspect in her death. No one was ever charged in the killing.
On November 1, 1986, four years after Dian's murder, Hugh went to a friend's house to borrow tools for a construction job up the coast. He set off for San Simeon, a town 27 miles north of Morrow Bay, at 9:00 a.m. He did apparently arrive there, did the job and left to return to Morro Bay. He was last seen at 1:30 p.m.
Later that day, Hugh's friend received a phone call saying that Hugh's 1967 Chevrolet utility bed pickup truck was found abandoned in Cambria, California. The hood was up and the doors were locked.
Inside the truck were Harlin's lunch, his keys, glasses, sleeping bag, tins of tobacco and the tools. There was no sign of him at the scene and he has never been heard from again. Investigators determined the fuel line had been removed from the truck.
Authorities believe Hugh may have staged his disappearance and walked out of his life due to hidden knowledge of Dian's murder, but his friends believe he was killed, possibly by the same person who killed Dian. His case remains unsolved.
Investigating Agency / Department