State 125

What happened to Dail Dinwiddie?

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division released an aged sketch of what Dail Dinwiddie would have looked like on the 22nd anniversary of her disappearance.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division released an aged sketch of what Dail Dinwiddie would have looked like on the 22nd anniversary of her disappearance. Columbia Police Department, SLED

It has been 23 years since University of South Carolina student Dail Dinwiddie disappeared from Five Points into seemingly thin air.

Her case has never been solved.

On Sept. 24, 1992, Dinwiddie, then 23, and friends attended a U2 conert at Williams-Brice Stadium. They then went to Five Points to continue their night in the popular student-entertainment district. At 2:30 a.m., a bouncer at then-Jungle Jims, now renamed The Horseshoe, recalled seeing Dinwiddie leave the bar in a rush.

The girl wearing a forest green pullover, blue jeans and tennis shoes vanished.

Investigators launched a massive and strenuous manhunt for Dinwiddie. From digging up deer bones to tearing out a section of floor in a Five Points-area home after residents reported a foul odor, they found nothing.

Even after 60 Richland County deputies were dispatched to a field off the Sumter Highway because two psychics sensed Dinwiddie’s body was there, nothing was found.

Then, what seemed like a breakthrough in the case led investigators to a private lake in Lower Richland, where there had been a report that a car had been dumped with a body in the trunk.

Again, nothing.

Hers is the oldest missing-person case on the Columbia Police Department’s books.

And one that the department is not giving up on.

Harrison Cahill

About this series: The inaugural edition of The State newspaper was published Feb. 18, 1891. In anticipation of the 125th anniversary, the Palmetto section and this section at thestate.com are recounting each day how The State covered newsmakers and events vital to South Carolina’s history.

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