Date: 1 Dec 1986
Place: Lancaster University
John Dobson went missing from the campus of Lancaster University where he was studying for an MA degree in Modern Social History.
He had previously been to Sussex University where he studied in the department of European Studies for which he had spent a year in Paris, France at the Sorbonne University and could speak French fluently. After his first degree he went to study at York University before going back home to Preston where he started his MA course at Lancaster University.
John Dobson had been given a lift to the university on the Monday morning, 1 December 1986 by another undergraduate that he had met through a notice board at the university with respect to an arrangement in which the undergraduate would drive John Dobson in each day with John Dobson contributing towards his petrol. The man said that he and John Dobson talked on the way on the Monday morning, but noted that John Dobson had been quieter than usual, saying that they got to the university at about 10am and that that was the last he ever saw of him.
John Dobson had later gone to see his lecturer, a professor at the university at midday. The professor said that he had known John Dobson for a couple of months and that John Dobson had come to see him about some work that he was preparing, but said that he thought that they might be able to have a longer conversation later that afternoon, but said that John Dobson had been non-committal on that arrangement, telling him that he hoped that he might be able to come back, but said that he didn't.
After he disappeared, his family said that they could not understand why he would just vanish, noting that he had left all his books behind in his study which he was said to have loved.
It was noted that there was no hint of any problems with money, drugs or any sexual scandal that might have helped in understanding the reason for his disappearance.