The cold case Death of Doug Johnston - Phoenix, Arizona - May 14, 1990

On May 14, 1990, 35-year-old Doug Johnston arrived at the parking lot of his work, a computer graphics company. The former fork lift driver had recently graduated from ITT and had changed jobs and was now working for a local computer graphics firm. He was married to Denise and had a 10-year-old daughter named Amber. The career switch was mainly to give them a better life, and he was very happy with the change.

But little did he and his family know that their lives would be forever changed when he arrived at the parking lot at midnight to start his night shift. He was found dead an hour later in his 1977 Toyota station wagon, with a bullet wound behind his left ear. The sweet, motivated and hard working family man had suddenly passed away.

Suicide or not..?
Police found him covered in blood, slumped over his steering wheel with the music still on. They immediately launched an investigation, but almost immediately assumed that Doug had committed suicide. The fact that the gun was wiped clean of fingerprints and found a little further down the parking lot didn't change that. As if the victim threw the gun out of the window after dying...

His family and friends were sure he hadn't killed himself. There wasn't even gunshot residue on his hands. In addition, the shot was on the left side of his head, while Doug was right-handed. It all made no sense. Especially since Doug had been in a good mood lately. He had just graduated and made a career switch. An easier life was ahead. He was also very close to his family and friends... Authorities left his death undetermined.

Was it a mistaken identity hit?
What made the case even more interesting was the fact that Doug lived in a similar house and drove a similar car to a journalist named Don Devereux. Don was investigating the suspicious death of Charles Morgan at the time of Doug's death, and his work generally posed a threat to the Phoenix underworld. Charles had told his wife in 1977 that he had worked for the federal government and said he was kidnapped and drugged that year by figures who took his ID. That same year he went missing again, only to be found shot dead eleven days later. Don Devereux became intrigued by the case after an Unsolved Mysteries broadcast and began an investigation. He soon found out that Charles owned an escrow company, and was involved in money laundering, as well as gold and platinum transactions. The more he investigated, the more he learned about Morgan's illegal activities.

When he was contacted in 1991 by Danny Casolaro, a writer from Washington, DC, they agreed to share the money laundering information with him. But even before Devereux emailed his information, Danny was found dead in a hotel bathroom. According to Don, the writer was murdered, but his death was ruled a suicide by authorities. Six months after Danny's mysterious death, Devereux learned that a hit had been placed on him, but that Doug Johnston was accidentally killed in his place. A CIA official and an Israeli intelligence informant later confirmed the death threats to him.

Information and Tips
The deaths of Charles, Danny and Doug remain unsolved to date. It is unknown to us whether the police have reconsidered the so-called suicide, and whether they have investigated the link with Don Devereux. Doug's family has been living with many questions for which there are no answers. Do you know more about Doug's murder? Then don't hesitate and contact us now.

This goes without the interference of the police, and entirely through our editors. If you would like to remain anonymous, do not enter your name and e-mail address. We ensure that your information ends up in the right place with the appropriate cold case team. 

Please share this page and follow us on Facebook