Let’s dive into the unsolved mystery behind the tragic death of hair stylist Patrice Endres.

First, an introduction to the key players in the story, starting with Patrice Endres herself.

Her dream had always been to open a hair salon. She had a chance to do so before her death, with the help of her husband Rob — a man twenty years her senior, who’s the second major player in this story. And, lastly, there’s her son, Pistol, who was in high school at the time of her untimely death.

Pistol was a bit of an unruly child. And while Rob was a “good stepfather” during the first year of his marriage to Patrice (according to Pistol), his behavior took a turn for the worst in the second and subsequent years. He began to talk Pistol down and meanwhile argued with Patrice about how she didn’t “discipline” her son. Patrice’s friends say that she was unhappy in her relationship with Rob, and that at the time of her death she was actively considering divorce. Rob denies that he ever had any knowledge of this. He claims that Pistol was jealous of his close relationship with Patrice. Pistol claims that Rob was jealous of his close relationship with his mother. Patrice’s friends confirm the latter as the truth, describing Rob as possessive and jealous. 

A few weeks before her disappearance, Patrice had asked Pistol a question — Where would you go if I had to go? Pistol told her he’d go to his father, who lived nearby and was still friends with Patrice, and thought nothing of it — until his mother disappeared. 

April 15, 2004

This is an example of a case in which there’s a remarkably good timeline of events, due mostly to the presence of a record book at the shop and the testimony of various of Patrice’s clients. Patrice dropped Pistol at school, then headed over to her salon. She saw her first customer at around 8:50. This customer, a woman named Pam Sheppard, told police that Patrice had seemed distracted and less attentive than usual.

Pam left the salon at around 11:05. A second client, Paul Cantor, arrived at 11:10 for a haircut that took 17 minutes — he left at 11:27, receiving a phone call on his way out. Police verified this from phone records. Eight minutes later, at 11:35, a customer called to change an appointment. This customer reported that Patrice was “short” on the phone, which was unusual for her. The call lasted until 11:37. 

Then, the record goes blank until 11:50, when another telephone call came in. This one went unanswered — very, very unusual behavior from Patrice. The 11:35 phone call was the last call that was answered. In the thirteen minute interim between these two calls, something happened. When police arrived at the salon, they knew immediately that something was amiss. Patrice’s lunch was on the counter — she seemed to have been in the process of heating it up. But the cash register was open and empty. Her purse had been left behind. Patrice Endres was nowhere to be found. 

But the salon, strangely, was not in disarray at all. No blood was found at the scene, nor were objects overturned or windows broken. There were no signs of a struggle. 

Patrice Endres and her son Pistol

Above: A picture of Patrice Endres (left) and her son Pistol.

The two eyewitness reports

Police began canvassing for evidence, and before long two people who had driven past the salon at around the same time gave strikingly similar reports. Both of these people — who were in separate cars and were therefore independent witnesses — said that they saw a blue sedan (they didn’t agree on the make) parked directly in front of the door of Patrice’s shop, and that they saw Patrice’s car moved from the side where she normally parked to the front. They also said they saw two people standing outside the door. One fits Patrice’s description. The other had shoulder-length hair — this the two witnesses agree about — but could have been a man or a woman.

At any rate, these two witnesses saw Patrice last. Although Pistol and the police initially hoped that she had simply gone away to escape Rob and would turn up, this possibility became increasingly unlikely as the days went on. 

600 days elapsed between Patrice’s disappearance and the finding of her remains

600 days after she disappeared, Patrice’s remains were discovered by church volunteers behind the Lebanon Baptist Church, about ten miles from her salon. Only bones remained of her. For this reason, medical examiners couldn’t give an entirely accurate time of death, nor could they ascertain whether she had suffered injuries in the course of her death. All the same, investigators ruled her death a homicide due to the circumstances of her disappearance. They began looking for a suspect.

For obvious reasons, her widowed husband Rob became a suspect in the case. But there were also two separate serial killers who are suspects in the case. One, Jeremy Jones, went as far as to confess. But he gave the wrong location for her remains, and also later recanted the confession. The other, Gary Hilton, remains a prime suspect. 

But based on this episode, many viewers have pushed Rob as the primary suspect. They argue that his behavior throughout the course of the episode was strange. One major point I will make is that he did change the locks on the house the day after Patrice disappeared — he said that this was to lock Pistol out, but this still isn’t the sort of behavior you’d expect from a man who thought (or at least hoped) his wife was coming home. Another valid point lies in the fact that Patrice was planning to divorce Rob. The reason why Rob has not been heavily pursued by the police is because he has a fairly solid alibi — though it doesn’t rule him out completely, it makes it much less likely that he committed the murder in person. All the same, this doesn’t exclude the possibility that he hired someone to kidnap Patrice, then murdered her, or hired someone to murder her. 

In my mind, there are three distinct possibilities. One, that Patrice fell prey to a serial killer, probably Gary Hilton, who had killed in the area before. Two, that Patrice had made plans to leave, and somehow fell misfortune to a tragic accident or fell prey to a serial killer or unsavory type who ended her life. Three, that Rob hired someone to kidnap Patrice and kept her for some period of time in some location (possibly in their own home) before killing her. Unfortunately, if the third possibility is the case, I think there’s little the police can do to prove it — unless they found Patrice’s missing wedding ring in Rob’s home. They would be unable to search for it, though, without a warrant.  

If you enjoyed this writeup, you can also check out my coverage of Episode 1 of the rebooted Unsolved Mysterieson Rey Rivera’s disappearance and death. For a great timeline pertaining to this case on Patrice Endres, check out this website

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