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DeLawder was last known to be with her live-in boyfriend, Ivan Gutierrez, her mother, Gertrude Menacher, and Menacher's boyfriend, Charles Gibson. They all disappeared from Hallandale, Florida on the same day, March 7, 1981, after meeting for a dinner engagement. Gutierrez and DeLawder lived in the 200 block of southeast Ninth Court in Hallandale.
Menacher spoke to her other daughter, Robin Patton, on the phone on March 4, and said she was leaving and would send plane tickets and directions. On March 6, Patton got letters from her mother and sister in the same envelope; they had also sent $100. On March 14 later, Gibson's Cadillac was found abandoned in the parking lot at Miami International Airport; a police informant told investigators where to find it. (Menacher did not have a vehicle.) Gibson had also cleaned out his apartment in the 8900 block of northeast Fourth Avenue in Miami Shores, Florida before he vanished. He has a criminal record for robbery and was on lifetime parole at the time of his disappearance; he was a long-time friend of several gang members and police believe he worked as an enforcer for drug gangs.
Menacher lived in the 500 block of northwest 214th Street in Miami, Florida at the time of her disappearance. One of her neighbors reported that shortly after the four disappeared, a woman and two men pulled up at Menacher's apartment with a U-Haul and emptied it out. The woman told the neighbor that the people who lived in the apartment had been killed on the expressway in northern Florida; the neighbor assumed she meant they had been killed in a car accident.
All four of them had been heavily involved with drugs for years. Patton had also been part of the drug world, but had gotten out of the lifestyle and encouraged her mother and sister to do the same. There were warrants out for Gibson and Menacher's arrest in 1981; they had assisted a prison escapee, Harvey Michael McElroy, by helping him rent a house. McElroy, who was a drug enforcer, was found murdered in January 1981: he'd been shot to death, his body dumped on a trash heap and burned. Investigators believe Gibson and Menacher may have helped dispose of his body, and the pair were sought for questioning about his murder. Police had warned DeLawder that Menacher could be in danger because of her presumed knowledge about McElroy's death.
Police believe it's possible the March 1981 disappearances are related in some way to McElroy's murder; the theory is that Menacher and Gibson may have been killed because of what they knew about the crime, and DeLawder and Gutierrez were innocent bystanders. Another possibility under consideration is that the group went into hiding, possibly in Germany or Colombia, and that Patton may know their whereabouts. She denies this.
There's been no indication of DeLawder, Mencher, Gibson or Gutierrez's whereabouts since March 1981.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office