Eileen Hynson, age 19, was last seen in Napa, California on June 1, 1976.
Eileen was last seen as she left a resort residence at Lake Berryessa, en route to a bridal party dress fitting in Benicia, California. She resided with her father and brother at the time, and left her suitcase in the residence. She has never been heard from again.
* Note: NamUs states she was on her way to a wedding, as opposed to a bridal fitting.
Information on this case is scant, as there is no indication given of how she intended to get to Benicia. Did she have her own car (or access to a family car) that she was to drive to Benicia? Was someone she knew supposed to pick her up? Was she planning to hitchhike?
Although it is mentioned that she left her suitcase behind, it is not clear whether it had been expected that she’d take her suitcase with her to Benicia. That is how I initially took it, which would mean that she hadn’t actually left for the bridal fitting yet, since she didn’t have her suitcase with her.
It could also mean that while she wasn’t expected to take it with her to the bridal fitting, the fact that she didn’t take it with her would indicate that she’d planned to return to Lake Berryessa that same day.
Either way, the idea that she would have disappeared of her own accord seems unlikely.
There has been some speculation that Eileen could be the unidentified ‘Santa Rosa Hitchhiker’ victim that was located northeast of Santa Rosa in 1979. This unidentified victim, as of yet, has not been entered into NamUs, and I’m not sure why. A Websleuther inquired about her being placed into NamUs about 2 years ago, and was told it was being looked into.
The unidentified Caucasian woman was said to be approximately 19 years old, 5’3″, auburn or brown hair, and wore contact lenses. She also had a healed rib fracture. Their guess of the year of death was 1972-1974, although 1976 may still be a possibility.
I would like to find out if Eileen was hitchhiking, and if she wore contact lenses and/or had any rib fractures.
Due to the proximity of the remains in comparison with other victims of the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker killer, authorities are fairly certain that this UID was also a victim of the same person.
Lots of information about the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker murders can be found here.
If it were found that Eileen is a match to the unidentified victim, Ted Bundy could be ruled out as the Hitchhiker killer, as he was incarcerated when Eileen went missing.
I haven’t done extensive research on the Zodiac killer, but I do recall that he tended to strike at night, when there was a full moon. The day that Eileen disappeared, there was only a 9% sliver of a moon, and I believe she would have left the residence during daylight.
It’s worth noting that the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker killer’s known victims were from the Santa Rosa area. Although Napa (Lake Berryessa) is not terribly far from Santa Rosa, there would be no reason why Eileen would pass through Santa Rosa on the way to Benicia.
The route would, however, have taken her for quite a ways down what appears to be a winding, treacherous mountain road, with nothing around for miles.
I think finding out how she intended to get to Benicia is important, and I am hopeful that someone who remembers the event can shine some light on this.
Eileen deserves to be found.