Frank and Tessie Pozar, 61 and 56, respectively, owned and operated the Spokane Street Motel in Spokane, Washington. Along with the motel, the Pozars owned a laundromat and other motels in the Spokane area and had property investments.
Friends described them as “hard-working,” and they invested most of their income into retirement. The couple spent winter every year in Hawaii. They had purchased 24 acres of land and planned to retire there permanently.
Frank and Tessie purchased airplane tickets to fly on October 30, 1984. The Pozars usually boarded their two dogs at a local kennel when they were in Hawaii. They made arrangements to drop the pets off on October 29. However, they never arrived with the dogs or used their plane tickets. The Pozars and their dogs disappeared without a trace.
The couple usually stored their camper at a local warehouse while in Hawaii. On October 29, an unidentified man took it from storage before 7 p.m. Then, on November 10, someone parked the camper in the long-term parking lot at Spokane International Airport that morning. Some reports say October 30.
A month later, airport officials sent a letter to the Pozars instructing them to pick up their camper. They never did.
Frank and Tessie did not have a telephone at their Hawaii residence. Therefore, they did not stay in touch with friends and relatives while there. Their loved ones assumed they were relaxing and enjoying Hawaii’s warm weather.
However, they became concerned when they had not heard from the couple before or after Christmas. One of the Pozar’s children discovered they had never arrived in Hawaii and called Hawaiian authorities. The police referred the case back to the Spokane Police Department on January 7, 1985.
Investigators considered a couple of possibilities. One, the Pozars left voluntarily to start a new life in Hawaii. Two, they met with foul play.
The latter theory seemed more likely for several reasons:
- They never used their airplane tickets, with no record of them arriving in Hawaii.
- They left $2,000 sitting in an account at Old National Bank, and there were no large withdrawals before their disappearance.
- The mortgages on their motel and other properties went unpaid, and they left behind a $500,000 estate.
The primary suspect in the Pozar case is their son Frank Pozar, Jr., 33 years old, when his parents vanished. According to The Charley Project, Pozar had in his possession items his parents would have taken to Hawaii, and their packed suitcases were located in the motel’s basement.
Detectives discovered Pozar had used his parent’s credit cards without authorization. He signed his mother’s name on a $550 check to Washington Water Power Co. Pozar also cashed his parents’ U.S. Savings Bonds for more than $4,000 between December 1984 and May 1985.
Police charged Pozar with one count each of first-degree theft and forgery and four counts of second-degree theft. He admitted to the charges against him. He claimed he only took their money to manage the motel while they were away.
Several people testified at Pozar’s trial, including his sister, Linda Rose. She first learned of her parents’ disappearance on Thanksgiving in 1984. A friend in Hawaii told her Frank and Tessie never picked up the rental car she had reserved for them.
Linda immediately contacted Pozar. He claimed to receive a letter from their mother stating she and Frank were planning an ocean cruise. Tessie allegedly gave Pozar a key to the motel and invited him to stay there. She also asked him to remodel their apartment, Pozar said. He later destroyed the letter.
Linda said the remodeling had rendered the motel’s most profitable unit “unrentable.” She also said that their parents never allowed anyone to stay there while they were gone.
Frank and Tessie’s insurance agent, Helen Zimmerman, testified. She had lunch with Tessie on October 28 or 29 to clear up some car insurance matters before the Pozars left for Hawaii. Tessie complained about her son and told Zimmerman she would no longer provide her son with financial assistance.
Pozar could not hold a job and had no driver’s license. He mainly lived off rental income from houses Tessie had purchased and given to him.
Gary Sander testified that he had purchased four homes for Pozar in 1984 that Tessie helped Pozar acquire. Sander said Pozar was given a lump sum down payment and carried contracts for the remaining money owed him.
However, later in the year, Pozar offered to cash out those contracts for amounts below their market value.
“He said he was trying to start a computer magazine and hadn’t had any luck with it here,” Sander said. “He said he needed the money to move to California where the business climate would be better.”
However, Pozar’s new business plan failed, and he and Tessie argued. He became estranged from his parents in July 1984 and refused to speak to them afterward. Linda said her brother would run away if he saw their parents on the street.
Pozar denied involvement in his parents’ disappearances. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison on the forgery and theft charges.
During the summer of 1985, investigators wanted Pozar to take a polygraph test. He said he would agree if his siblings also took one, which they did. Pozar refused to follow through. He claimed he did not trust the police and believed they would skew the test to prove he killed his parents.
In January 1986, Pozar’s attorney informed him of another independent polygraph expert named Robert Mandich. Pozar wanted Mandich to do the test but said he could not afford it.
Two local newspapers, the Spokesman Chronicle and Spokesman-Review, agreed to pay for it under three conditions.
Pozar would have to sign an agreement before the test to release the results to the newspapers. Two, he could have input on the questions being asked, but Mandich would have absolute control of the questions and conduct of the exam. Finally, he would have to pay to obtain the court order allowing him to go from jail to Mandich’s office for the test.Michael Murphey, The Spokesman-Review
Pozar stopped during the exam and refused to cooperate further. Based on the partial results, Mandich believed Pozar himself did something to his parents or had someone else do it for him.
Pozar later filed a defamation lawsuit against the Spokesman Chronicle, Spokesman-Review, and the Spokesman Police Department. He contended that an October 10, 1985 article suggested he had killed his parents. A judge later dismissed the lawsuit after Pozar refused to answer questions from the newspapers’ attorney, invoking the Fifth Amendment.
After Pozar’s release from prison, he showed up at the Spokane Street Motel in January 1987. Linda took over after their parents’ disappearances and agreed to let him stay there for a couple of days. However, he remained until April 1988, when Linda evicted him for not paying room charges. Pozar owed over $3,000, and Linda filed a court petition to get it back.
Pozar’s last known whereabouts were in Washington, D.C. Police have no idea where he is today. It is unclear if Linda is in touch with her brother. She still runs the motel but has since turned it into apartments.
The Pozar case remains officially unsolved, although the police believe Pozar killed his parents. Some reports list their missing date as October 26, 1984.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
The Pozar case is another where it’s obvious who is responsible — their son.
Pozar might have killed them in their apartment and remodeled it to destroy evidence. It sounds like his “remodeling’ destroyed the unit, too.
Pozar likely became angry when his parents cut him off financially and murdered them in a heated frenzy. He probably disposed of their remains in a forest area near Spokane or burned them.
He was in his 30s, living off his parents, employed on and off, and didn’t have a driver’s license. In my opinion, Frank and Tessie put up with his bullshit for too long.
Then we have their items in his possession and the packed suitcases found in the motel’s BASEMENT. He lied about the ocean cruise. They had every intention of going directly to their Hawaii residence.
I think he was the unidentified person who took the camper out of storage and parked it at the airport.
There’s no chance Frank and Tessie would have sent Junior a letter about a cruise instead of Linda or any other children. I think there might be another son, but I am not sure. A cruise is a trip planned in advance. I’m sure the police could have determined whether they had bought cruise tickets if they did plan to go.
He was not mature or responsible enough to run the motel, and his parents knew it.
If he did not kill his parents, where is he today? Why can’t the police find him?
That said, there was a lot of crime in and around the motel. Several people have been arrested at the motel, including when the Pozars ran it. So, there is a possibility it was a guest who harmed them. However, I believe someone known to them killed them. The only likely suspect is Pozar. He had the most to gain from their deaths.