Enjoying a day off, which Friday was for me, should not be affected by anticipation of what’s coming. Saturday and Sunday are going to be bad? Well, that’s a pity, but it shouldn’t have any effect on Friday. Unfortunately it did.
All I could think of on Friday is that I’d be working 8-hour shifts on both Saturday and Sunday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Yes, just like the prior weekend. That made it hard for me to enjoy my day off. In a weird way, though, the anticipation was perhaps worse than the reality. My Saturday and Sunday shifts may have been long, but each one went by quickly. I was back in garden, which helped, and the store was quite busy most of the time. That really helps. Anyway, at least that made up, somewhat, for the less-than-enjoyable Friday. If there’s a motto, it’s don’t anticipate trouble.
Longform mystery: The (justifiable) paranoia of Blair Adams.
It’s somewhat surprising this case has never gotten much attention, given its strange elements. Sorry to say, the main reason might be that despite having what’s often a girl’s name, Blair was a man, and crimes involving women – especially cute young women – get a disproportionate share of attention.
Blair was Canadian, living in a suburb of Vancouver and working as a construction foreman. He had no criminal record, and despite some youthful indiscretions with alcohol and drugs had been clean for years. He was well-liked by everyone who knew him. In the summer of 1996, however, when Blair was 31 years old, his behavior began to change for the worse. He began having wild mood swings and increasing fears. It was obvious to everyone that something was greatly bothering and frightening him, but he wouldn’t tell anyone what it was, not even his mother.
On Friday, July 5, 1996, he went to the bank and withdrew his entire savings of $6,000 in cash. He also took out several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and precious metals from his safety deposit box. Two days later Blair tried to drive across the nearby border into the United States but was denied entry, because as a man traveling alone with a large amount of cash he fit the profile of a drug courier.
The next day, Monday July 8, Blair went into work and quit on the spot, even though he was a highly valued employee. He then spent $1,600 on a round trip airline ticket to Germany, for a flight leaving the next day. Later on Monday he went to a female friend’s house and told her that his life was in danger and that he needed her help to get across the US border right away. He tried once more to cross the border but once again got turned away.
On Tuesday, July 9, Blair turned in his tickets to Germany, rented a car, and finally was able to drive into the US. He drove to the airport in Seattle and spent $770 on a one-way ticket to Washington DC. The ticket agent tried to convince Blair that it would make more sense to buy a round trip, it actually would be cheaper, but he was insistent on a one-way.
Blair arrived in Washington on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, and immediately traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee. He did not know anyone in Knoxville or in the eastern US for that matter and had no business dealings in the area. At around 5:30 that evening he went to a gas station in Knoxville and said that his rental car wouldn’t start. The people at the station determined that he had the wrong key, though how he got from the airport rental booth to the gas station is anyone’s guess. The rental agency being closed by this time, Blair hitched a ride to a nearby hotel.
Hotel security cameras and the desk clerk’s recollections attest to Blair’s increasingly unhinged demeanor. He seemed terrified that someone would come into the hotel lobby to attack him. In the space of an hour he walked in and out of the lobby five times. Finally, at 7:37pm, Blair walked out of the lobby, the last time he was ever seen alive.
About 12 hours later, on the morning of Thursday, July 11, 1996, Blair’s dead body turned up in a parking lot about a half mile from the hotel. He was naked from the waist down, though there was no evidence of sexual attack, and more than $4,000 in American, Canadian and German currency was scattered around the body. A small pack nearby held more than $2,000 worth of gold and jewelry. While he had a number of fairly minor cuts and abrasions, the cause of death was a very hard blow to the abdomen, from what isn’t known, that ruptured his stomach.
Police never found any further clues and have no suspects.