Vanished In Suspicious Circumstances, Dervish Adili, Alaska 1992

Dervish Adili, 35 in 1992. Five feet Seven inches, slim and with dark hair and eyes.

People disappear and in most cases they turn up. People disappear and sadly they are found dead. This is, as we know, sometimes by their own actions and sometimes by the actions of others. Strange things happen to us and we do strange things. Many cases are high profile and there are clues to go on. Here is a case that is of concern for a few reasons. A man goes missing and time, apathy or confusion means he is still missing as I write.

Brief Circumstances

Dervish Adili is an American who was living in Illinois. As a young child he was pictured in a Chicago newspaper along with family. They were dressed for a traditional Albanian dance. He joined the US military and there are photographs of him in a naval hat. He passed his driving test and he lived a life then at age 35 he disappeared.

In mid 2000 an Illinois state ID card, wallet, chequebook and driver’s license were found. They were in a scattering of camping supplies. This wasn’t in Illinois, the nearest town was Tok in Alaska. A receipt was also found. It was for food bought in Tok.

According to the receipt Mr Adili was around the area on 13th August 1992. Obviously the receipt could have come from anywhere, but it was in the wallet with his ID. It is logical that he paid for something on that day. It could be that the receipt was old when he disappeared but that would raise another question. If he kept receipts why were there not more recent ones? It looks like he was last out and about in society in August 1992.

Dervish Adili, 35 in 1992. 5 feet 7 inches, slim and with dark hair and eyes.


I have had a look on Google Maps and the area he was camping in is a desolate looking place. His equipment was found in a camp ground off Taylor Highway. I am not saying it does not have its charms, however, it is not what you would call picturesque.

In 2006 you have a turn in the case. Mr Adili was reported missing by a male relative called Jim Adili. There is no easily accessible information on why it took the family that long to contact the cops.

My Take

The environment reminds me of Iceland. Stunted scrubland, rocks and water. I love Iceland, I have been there twice before and hope to go again. I like the country for the space it has, the lower population per mile and the challenging roads. I would live there but I would be under no illusions about how lively that life would be. It would suit me, that sense of isolation. The point is that appears to be the sort of place where Mr Adili was last known to have been. It is the worst environment to get clues out of.

google map screenshot of alaska
The red marker is near the next town to Tok. Next being about 60 miles along the Taylor highway, Tok is to the south. The straight line is the US/Canadian border.


Iceland has no big predators apart from humans. Alaska has plenty of natural predators. In addition, it is vast. Tok is quite close to the Canadian border as well. It is less than 30 miles. So Mr Adili could have:

Deliberately left his stuff and gone to Canada or anywhere.

Wandered off on a hike and met misfortune.

Been killed at the camp ground by the worst predator of all…One of us.

If he was killed by one of us technically he could have been killed elsewhere and the killer moved his stuff to the location it was found.

If you wanted to wander off you would take your chequebook and ID unless you wanted to stage it to look like you had died out there. So the odds are he didn’t make it much past 1992. A Reddit user rightly suggests that the receipt could have been left as a red herring. So a clever murder/abduction with a subtle covering clue?

There is a whole thread on Reddit if you want to have a look but nothing new after the original posting.

My take on this is it is impossible to have a take. What it does highlight is how close we are to being someone who steps into the mists and is not missed. A family row, a decision to wander or involvement in acts we keep to ourselves can lead to this. It also highlights how secure we often feel in this Western World. This comes from a belief that the authorities will be able to do something to save us. Mr Adili dropped through the cracks back then. Only recently Echo Lloyd disappeared from her home. Sherry Lynn Marler disappeared from an Alabama street in 1984. The list is endless.

Both those cases have had cops and family all over them and still nothing. Out in the wilds of Alaska a 35 year old man ceases to be and that may well be the end of that.

Please let someone know if you just want to step out of society. You don’t have to give details, maybe write them a note on Facebook and go. You will be doing us all a favour. For all we know someone killed Mr Adili and one that will kill could kill again. In the absence of any other information a grown man disappears and no one will look hard for him. That is how killers are missed.



Since writing this I came across the case of a man called John Donovan. This 59 year old went hiking in California. A year later his camp was found. He had taken a few wrong turns and it cost him his life. The conclusion was not sinister just sad.  There is a lot of speculation and mystical weaving out there about cases like Mr Donovan and Mr Adili. Sometimes the vast areas of rough terrain are all that there is to the story. Maybe check out the story of Mr Donovan. It is a cautionary tale that carries with it a healthy dose of perspective. Article in The Backpacker

That is quite a long read but it has lots of background. It is almost a study piece on how tragedy can just take people away in the wilds.