A friend drove Jerry D. Plaster to the Manassas Mall in April 1988 and dropped him off at the shopping center. Plaster, then age 27, told the friend he would get home on his own. And that was that last time Plaster was heard from, police say.
He was last seen on April 16, 1988, when he was taken to the mall at 8300 Sudley Road.
"It was like he fell off the face of the Earth," said Detective Cindy Van Noppen of the Manassas Police Department.
Family and friends told authorities that it was "uncharacteristic" to not hear from Plaster, Van Noppen said.
She said Plaster was a laborer who was living with his parents at the time of his disappearance. He did not have a wife or children, Van Noppen said.
Plaster attended Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas but dropped out before graduating. Van Noppen posted messages this fall on an online message board for alumni of the school in an effort to learn more about him.
"I'd like to learn more about his background, about people he was with," she said. Van Noppen said she hasn't heard back yet from anyone who attended the high school in the late 1970s, when Plaster was a student, but she wanted to try a new avenue in the investigation of the cold case.
"It's just been a case that's never been solved for us and where there's never been closure for the family," Van Noppen said.
Plaster is described as a white man with black hair and brown eyes. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed about 135 pounds.
He had scars on his left wrist and left elbow and his left ear was pierced. He has a mole on his left cheek.
The day he disappeared, he was wearing blue corduroy pants, a brown shirt, a blue T-shirt and white tennis shoes.
Anyone with information about his disappearance is asked to call Manassas police at 703-257-8000 begin_of_the_skype_highli ghting 703-257-8000 end_of_the_skype_highligh ting.

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