5 Years Later, John Glasgow's Disappearance Still Unexplained

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

The last time Jan. 28 fell on a Monday, the chief financial officer of one of the state’s largest construction companies left home early in the morning and vanished.

Five years later, the only person who has ever publicly claimed knowledge of John Glasgow’s fate is working as a prison barber and hoping for early release for two unrelated felonies.

Glasgow, 45 at the time he went missing, was CFO of CDI Contractors LLC of Little Rock, which was then half-owned and is now wholly owned by Dillard’s Inc. He was legally declared dead almost two years ago, and his widow hopes to find out what happened to him but isn’t holding her breath.

“I have just resigned myself that I may never know. I’ve turned it over to the universe and moved forward,” Melinda Glasgow said last week.

She has thrown herself into her work for the city of Little Rock — first as recycling coordinator and then, after a promotion at the end of November, as sustainability officer — which feels like the work she was meant to do.

She still lives in the house in the Hillcrest neighborhood that she shared with John, and she remains close to his seven siblings.

As the initial shock of her husband’s disappearance wore off, Melinda Glasgow said she tried to make the kinds of decisions that John would have wanted her to make.

“I didn’t want to make bad decisions because I was dealt this unbelievable blow,” she said. “He was smart and practical-minded. It would have been easy for me to spin out of control, so I’ve done a lot of ‘what would John do?’”

About three and a half years after John vanished, in mid-2011, a twice-convicted felon named Jonathan Brawner told his lawyer and the Little Rock Police Department that he knew where Glasgow’s body was buried. He said he had been recruited by “thugs from Malvern” to whom he owed money to help bury Glasgow in a bean field near England in Lonoke County.

That development would not become public until January 2012, when reporter Lauren Trager with KARK-TV, Channel 4, broke the story.

Trager’s scoop was immediately followed up by other new organizations, including Arkansas Business. That renewed attention to the case just before the fourth anniversary was hard, Melinda Glasgow said, “because of law enforcement being involved and more publicity” — but also because it came to naught.

The bean field Brawner pinpointed as the burial site yielded no remains, despite time-consuming and expensive searches using sophisticated imaging equipment. And Melinda doesn’t know exactly what to think of Brawner’s tale, but she suspects there was some truth in it.



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