A 43 Year Old Mystery
Alan Wayne Soper disappeared sometime after June 7, 1974. His family still has no answers as to what happened to him.
Alan graduated from Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and decided to hitch rides with truckers to California. He was never seen again. He advertised on bulletin boards that he would work for truckers for free rides. One such posting was found west of Oklahoma City, along Interstate 40. His family last heard from him by phone, when he told them he was in Sacramento.
Some of his clothing and his wallet was found three years later in Needles, California.
In 2016, a body was exhumed in Kansas in connection with Cecil Henry Floyd, a serial killer who was sent to prison in 2017 for killing eleven people. There was reporting that the unidentified person could possibly be Soper, but I haven’t found any confirmation and he’s still listed in NAMUS as missing.
There is also Randy Steven Kraft, a serial killer who often offered his victims a ride or alcohol, mostly in California. He was active in southern California during the same time period that Alan Soper went missing and is known to have killed at least 67 men before he was imprisoned at San Quentin on death row.
Randy Steven Kraft kept a “scorecard” (he was basically evil beyond belief, I can’t continue writing without saying that) of his victims using nicknames or aliases. There are three unaccounted for victims on his list between 1973 and November 1974: Marine Down (probably not Soper, as he was not a Marine, but who knows how cryptic his scorecard was), Van Driveway and 2 IN 1 MV TO PL. There is also 2 IN 1 HITCH, still unidentified, and since Soper was a hitchhiker, is also a possibility.
Unfortunately, the clothes and wallet belonging to Soper that were found in Needles were lost, and no DNA testing was ever done on them. That must be so infuriating to the family, I can’t even imagine.
There are also other truck driver serial killers who committed crimes in the California area. William Bonin had just been released from Prison in June 1974, though his first recorded murder was 1979.
The FBI has been focusing on long haul truck drivers in a number of unsolved murders and disappearances for the last decade, including the formation of a database called the Highway Serial Killers Initiative.
It may be correct to suspect a long haul truck driver in Alan Soper’s disappearance because, not only was he known to be travelling with truckers, but his belongings and work postings were both found along Interstate 40. If he made it to Sacramento, that would mean his killer, had he picked him up along Interstate 40, would have backtracked back along the same route. I.e., if that was the driver’s steady route, it would make sense that his belongings would be dumped in Needles, perhaps even at a later date.
Is Alan Soper Still Alive?
There is always the possibility that Alan Soper is still alive. I found this while looking around for information on Alan Soper:
This is from 1975, from the Santa Cruz Sentinel. There are other Alan Sopers currently living in California, so it is unknown if this is Alan Wayne Soper.
I have seen no indication that Alan Soper left Tulsa to start a new life. As far as anyone knew, he was interested in travelling just for the summer.
Unfortunately, there are no current suspects in Alan Soper’s disappearance, though it is still an open case and from what I can tell, still be actively investigated. I truly hope his family will get answers soon.