This mystery case has been featured on Unsolved Mysteries in 1997. And since the victim was found, little has been learned in this case that started in Canada and ended in Knoxville, Tennessee. In a week’s time, a young man would be dead, and questions would remain that may never be answered. Let’s jump into the mysterious murder of Blair Adams.
July 5, 1996 – British Columbia, Canada
Robert Dennis Blair Adams, 31, years old withdrew all of his money from his bank in Canada and cleaned out his safety deposit box there as well. Everything was stored in a black fanny pack that he had with him.
Blair had worked as a construction foreman in his hometown of Surrey, British Columbia. He was considered a cheerful, friendly person and optimistic. But in the weeks before his trip to the bank, he became moody, sleep deprived, and plagued with paranoia and stress. Blair had quit his job without a reason, and never collected his paycheck.
These changes were noticed by his mother who was concerned for his welfare. When asked what was wrong, Blair simply told her that he could not talk about “it”. In the past Blair had issues with alcohol but he was doing much better and was attending AA meetings. He was sober for 2 years. Blair was convinced that people were spreading rumors that someone wanted him dead.
July 7, 1996 – The US/Canadian Border
Blair attempted to enter into the United States on ferry from Victoria to Seattle but had been denied entry. Border control agents became suspicious due to the large amount of cash he carried and thought he may be involved in drug trafficking.
July 8, 1996 – Surrey, BC, Canada
Blair left his mother’s home for the last time. He went to the airport to purchase a ticket to Frankfurt, Germany. He used cash to pay for the ticket, claiming he was going to visit an old girlfriend. Later that day he refunded the ticket.
July 9, 1996 – US/Canadian Border
Attempting to cross the border again, Blair was again stopped by officials as they thought he was the suspect who has stolen a car earlier. He wasn’t able to cross the border but attempted to do it again later that day.
His third attempt to cross the border was successful. He left his own car at the airport in Vancouver and rented a car and drove across the border to Seattle. From there he bought a one-way ticket to Washington DC.
July 10, 1996 – Washington DC – Knoxville, TN
Arriving at Washington DC, Blair rented another car and immediately began the drive to Knoxville, arriving in the city 7 hours later, about 2pm.
Blair claimed the keys to his rental car, a Toyota Camry, were not working. When roadside assistance arrived, they advised that he needed to look for the right keys, they said he was using keys for a Nissan, the rental that was left in Seattle. Blair refused to check his pockets, so the driver took him to a hotel while he towed the car to an auto shop. Gerald Sapp was questioned the next day when Blair was discovered dead.
Blair rented a room for the night at the Fairfield Inn, but it’s believed he never entered the room. Cameras recorded Blair in the lobby leaving around five times in about 40 minutes. The staff remembered him as paranoid and agitated.
Blair’s body would be found across the freeway in the parking lot of a hotel that was under construction. Although Blair thought his life was in danger, leading him to leave Canada and travel to Tennessee, authorities believed the threat was imaginary, and that Blair’s journey was an escape from his own delusions. Either way, Blair Adams wound up dead, just as he had feared.
The Murder – July 11, 1996 – Knoxville, TN
On the morning of July 11, 1996, it was gray and construction workers discovered the body of a man, half naked and beaten. Around his body was German, Canadian, and American currency totaling, close to $4000. Lying next to him was also the key to the Camry that Blair said he was not able to find.
The autopsy report showed that Blair had sustained many cuts and abrasions. The police speculated that Blair had fended off an attack. Blair suffered a violent blow that ruptured his stomach. His official cause of death was sepsis stemming from an abdominal perforation. A wound on his forehead was caused by a crowbar or club. It was also believed, but no DNA evidence was found to support this, that Blair had been sexually assaulted as well.
The police had next to no evidence to work with regarding the murder of Blair Adams. No murder weapon was found, and no signs of drugs or alcohol were found in Blair’s system. The only foreign DNA that was found at the scene was a long strand of hair found in Blair’s hand. This did not help find the killer in the case.
The last 12 hours of his life Blair’s life show that he had eaten, as there were remains of food in his stomach during the autopsy. There were also reports of seeing Blair talking to other men, one at a truck stop and another at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
One theory is that the murder of Blair Adams was accidental from a sex act gone wrong. It’s suggested that Blair hired a prostitute, and she was accompanied by a pimp, and they planned to rob him, but ended up killing him instead. It was reported that around 3:30AM a woman’s scream was heard coming from the direction of the parking lot. This may have been the scream of the prostitute when the pimp hit Blair.
Sadly, this case may never be solved unless someone comes forward with a confession or information.
Be strong, make good choices, stay safe