Content warning: this article has mentions of domestic violence, murder, and suicide. 

Elma, Washington is one of the dozens of small cities in Washington that was founded over a century ago. It's long served as a center of commerce and a destination for travelers, but it is home to only a few thousand residents. So how did a local man go missing from this small town in 2012 - and no one took notice for months?

Missing: who was Larry Carl Muller?

Larry Carl Muller, who went by the nicknames "Buck" or "Bucky," was a resident of Elma, living at 989 Monte-Elma Road. In 2012, he was 62 years old and helped run an antique shop with his wife. He was diabetic, and according to his wife, had depression and Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

Per comments on a local Facebook group, Buck was considered "a very kind and gentle man."

When and how did Larry go missing?

According to Larry's wife, Larry packed up and went on a trip to North Dakota on the morning of October 22, 2012. She did not report Larry missing.

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However, an anonymous letter was sent to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office in December, about two months after his last known sighting. The letter urged the police to investigate Muller's disappearance but gave no additional clues (at least as far as the public is aware).

Upon investigation, Larry's phone, dog, and car had all been left at his Elma residence. Money in his bank accounts had not been touched since the day he disappeared. Larry's wife had also filed a Domestic Violence Assault report (fourth degree) on October 23, the day after she said Larry left for North Dakota.

If Larry Muller left Elma, no one seems to know how or why.

Larry Muller's former residence in Elma, Washington.
Larry Muller's former residence in Elma, Washington. Credit: Google

Was Larry murdered?

Because Larry's wife did not report him missing for two months, and her domestic violence report, many have suspected that she may have murdered or assisted in the murder of her husband. This was a theory that police investigated early, to the extent that they searched Larry's house, dug up a good portion of his yard, and went through the antique's business records, looking for clues.

One neighbor told KIRO 7, "It’s obvious. They are looking for a body. It is exactly what they are looking for."

If anything was found, the investigators have kept tight-lipped for over a decade.

Did Larry commit suicide?

Given that Larry was suspected to have suffered from depression and other mental health conditions, the next theory of his disappearance revolves around suicide. This would explain why his cell phone, dog, and car were left behind, and why his bank account had not been used.

In statements to the media, Larry's friends and family seemed to believe he wouldn't have committed suicide. While this speaks to their opinion of Larry, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are correct - those who are suicidal may often hide their true struggles from their loved ones.

Some internet sleuths have argued that if Larry wanted to commit suicide, he would have just taken his car - but I think it's equally likely that he would have taken the bus that stopped just outside of his house in order to be less disruptive of the lives of others.

What about the anonymous letter writer?

The only clue left for us to muse over is the anonymous letter sent to police about Larry's disappearance. If they investigated its origin, none of that information has been provided to the public.

The writer may have witnessed something that led them to suspect foul play in Larry's disappearance, or even been involved themselves. But they could just be a concerned citizen who noticed his disappearance hadn't been reported. If they were involved or knew something, why didn't they offer more clues? If they were innocent, why did they feel the need to be anonymous?

Larry is one of hundreds of missing persons in Washington State. Information about him is posted with the Washington State Patrol, NamUs, and the Charley Project.

  • If you know anything about Larry Muller's disappearance, please contact the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office at (360) 964-1717.

Missing Persons in Washington State

The gallery of persons currently listed as missing on the MUPU list in Washington State. Each picture contains the missing person's name, when they went missing, and which law enforcement agency to contact if you know something that could help.

Gallery Credit: Brian Stephenson

60 Missing Children From Washington. Do You Recognize Anyone?

I remember seeing missing children's images on It's every parent's nightmare. When children go missing from home, school, anywhere, fear sets in. Who took the child or teen? What happened? Please take a look at these missing children images. One of these kids could be your neighbor, friend, or family member. Do you have any information about any of these missing people?

Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton


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