Ray Burssie Collins
Collins, approximately 1987; Dave Caffey, approximately 2008
Date reported missing : 07/01/1987
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
Native American, White
DOB : 10/03/1929 (91)
Age at the time of disappearance: 57 years old
Height / Weight : 5'9, 150 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Biracial (Caucasian/Native American) male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Collins speaks with a Southern accent. He has a scar on the bridge of his nose, and the tips of his pinky, ring and middle fingers on his right hand are missing due to a carpentry accident. Collins wears eyeglasses for reading.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Collins was last seen in Salida, Colorado sometime during July 1987. He resided in Winter Haven, Florida at the time of his disappearance. In July 1987, Collins and two friends, Dave Caffey and Richard Birth, quit their jobs and went to Salida on a three-month gem mining expedition. Three weeks into the trip, Birth had a family emergency and had to return home to Lake Wales, Florida.
Caffey stated Collins wanted to see the Grand Canyon, so Caffey dropped him off at a bus station in Colorado Springs, Colorado a few days after Birth quit. Collins's family found this story odd, as he had already visited the Grand Canyon several years earlier. He has never been heard from again. Later in July, Caffey returned to Florida driving Collins's Toyota pickup. Collins's clothing and mining equipment were still inside the vehicle.
A photograph of Caffey is posted with this case summary. He had purchased $50,000 in life insurance on both Collins and Birth prior to the trip, which the men were aware of. Collins's policy was cashed in when he was declared legally dead in 1988; his brother collected half the sum and Caffey took the other half. Birth and Collins had given Caffey $5,000 each before the trip. Caffey told them they were mining on private land and he needed the money to lease the property, but in fact the land was public.
Collins's case was reopened in 2008, and Colorado law enforcement officials traveled to Florida to interview Collins's mining partners. Police stated Birth has been very cooperative in the investigation, but Caffey has not.
Caffey is the prime suspect in Collins's disappearance. He reportedly bragged about killing Collins in the years following 1987. These statements have not been confirmed and, when interviewed by the press about Collins's disappearance, he said he did not know what happened to him.
Collins has work experience in the auto repair, carpentry and construction fields. He was married at least twice and has a large family to whom he was devoted. Foul play is suspected in his disappearance, which remains unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
Chaffee County Sheriff's Office
September 2021 updates and sources
The Mountain Mail
Chaffee County Sheriff's Office
Colorado Bureau of Investigation
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
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