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Johnston was last seen at Debbie Griffiths's apartment at a motel in Brigham City, Utah on July 22, 1981. He had met her for the first time at a bar the previous evening and they talked and played pool together. Rudy Matthew Rebeterano was also at the bar and was jealous because she was paying attention to Johnston. He and Griffiths had divorced in 1979 but remained friendly with each other. Rebeterano had a history of being violently jealous of any man who approached Griffiths and, several months before, had tried to run over a man who was helping Griffiths move some furniture.
At 5:30 a.m. on July 22, Johnston and Griffiths went to her apartment and she asked him to escort her inside because she was afraid Reberterano might be there. He was. Reberterano shouted at Johnston, and Griffiths quickly left the apartment, leaving the two men behind. As she did, she heard scuffling noises and a loud groan, as if someone had been hit in the abdomen. She ran outside and under a bridge across the street. From this position, Griffiths watched Reberterano leave her apartment carrying a large white bundle, which he placed in the trunk of Johnston's 1972 Ford Torino. He drove the vehicle away, down Main Street.
Griffiths called the police, who arrived at her apartment at 6:08 a.m. and found fresh blood spattered all over. The blood was Type A, which is Johnston's type; Reberterano's blood type is O. A white sheet had been removed from Griffiths's bed and several kitchen knives were missing. Later that day, Johnston's vehicle was located. There was Type A blood on the rear bumper and a large puddle of Type A blood soaked into the trunk mat. A Zippo lighter and two Pall Mall cigarettes, items Johnston normally carried in his shirt pocket, were inside the trunk.
MISSING PERSONS CASES, 2006 - 2017
Since 2006 I have personally worked over 1,000 missing person cases and have
literally spent thousands of hours of my own time trying to help find missing
people, especially missing children...and always for free.