The Trail Went Cold – Episode 326 – John Cheek & Gordon Collins

December 2, 1993. Memphis, Tennessee. John Cheek, the 28-year old financial officer of a real estate firm, spends the evening having a dinner at a restaurant and is last seen heading towards his parked car. John’s abandoned vehicle is soon discovered near the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge and there is fear that he took his own life by jumping into the Mississippi River. Months later, a drifter matching John’s description is seen at a truck stop in Virginia, leading to speculation that he may be suffering from amnesia and forgotten who he was, but all attempts to find him are unsuccessful.

April 19, 1991. Punta Chivato, Mexico. While on vacation from California, 34-year old Gordon Collins sets out in a fishing boat alongside his girlfriend, Anastasia Seals, and another couple, Wayne Shwatz and Arlean Burlington. A storm soon hits the area and the overturned boat, as well as Anastasia and Wayne’s bodies, are found floating in the Sea of Cortez the following day. Gordon and Arlean’s bodies cannot be found, but reports start circulating about a disoriented white male matching Gordon’s description wandering through Mexico. This leads Gordon’s family to believe that he survived the boating accident and is suffering from amnesia, but they are unable to track him down.

On this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold”, we explore two unsolved missing persons cases in which each victim was believed to have lost their memory before they became a transient. Special thanks to listener Marcos Sainz for narrating the opening of this episode.

If you have any information on the disappearance of John Cheek, please contact the Memphis Police Department at (901) 545-5700.

Additional Reading:

Join us on Saturday, May 6 at 8:00pm ET for an online streaming marathon where we will be watching classic segments from “Unsolved Mysteries”. You can enter our screening room by clicking on this link.

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“The Trail Went Cold” is doing a weekly livestream show on Vokl every Thursday from 7:00-8:00 PM ET as part of their “True  Crime Thursday” line-up. For more information, please visit their website.

“The Trail Went Cold” is going to be appearing on podcast row at “Crimecon UK” at the Tower Bridge, Leonardo Royal Hotel & Spa in London on June 10-11, 2023, as well as “Crimecon” at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida on September 22-24, 2023. To get a 10 % discount on the purchase of tickets to either event, please use our specialized promo code, “COLD23”, by visiting or

“The Trail Went Cold” will be appearing at the True Crime Podcast Festival, taking place at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Austin, Texas on August 25-27, 2023. To get a 15 % discount on the purchase of tickets, please our specialized promo code, “TRAIL”, by visiting

The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.