Description, clothing, tattoos, other identifying markings: A gray jacket (possibly leather), blue jeans, brown work boots or work shoes, and possibly a flannel shirt over a thermal shirt.
Other characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Winkler has a round two-inch scar above his knee. He may have a light beard and/or mustache. His nickname is Chris.
Details at time of disappearance: Winkler was last seen in Burlington, Wisconsin on February 16, 1987. He went to a friend's house that night, but his friend wasn't there and his friend's grandfather told him to leave. Winkler seemed panicky at the time and a black truck was following him. He has never been heard from again.
Prior to his disappearance, Winkler and three other local men were charged with breaking into the Auctioneer's Inn, an upscale restaurant in the 4600 block of Sheard Road in Dover, Wisconsin, on December 1, 1986. Over $3,500 worth of items were stolen.
Winkler had done maintenance work on the Auctioneer's Inn before. There were rumors that local biker gangs, who patronized the restaurant, were using it to smuggle drugs, and that Winkler and his friends stole some of the drugs when they burglarized it. These accounts have not been confirmed.
After he went missing, Winkler's friends pleaded guilty to their roles in the burglary and got minimal sentences. Years after Winkler's disappearance, the burglary charges against him were dropped after the statute of limitations expired. It's unclear whether the crime had anything to do with his disappearance.
When Winkler disappeared, all his belongings vanished from the house where he had been staying. His roommates refused to talk about what had happened or where he might have gone. Two of the friends that assisted in the burglary owned a black truck, similar to the one seen following Winkler on the night of his disappearance, and the men's truck vanished a short time thereafter.
Both police and Winkler's family believes he was murdered on the night of his disappearance. He had numerous associates who were involved with serious criminal activity, and members of his family were threatened after his disappearance. However, police stated they have no evidence of a crime in his case. His disappearance remains unsolved.
Other case information
Agency in charge: Racine County Sheriff's Office
Other information: Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults
Facebook Page for Christopher Winkler
The Journal Times
The Vanished Podcast
Psychic detective links:
Revised: October 12, 2004. Last updated August 7, 2018 details of disappearance updated.