Gwinnett County

10 years later, investigators say they're close to breaking Justin Gaines case

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — For a decade, investigators have been trying to figure out what happened to Justin Gaines. He vanished after leaving a Duluth nightclub 10 years ago Thursday.

Investigators have tried to find one witness or piece of physical evidence that can lead them to Gaines’ body -- if not his killer.

They have a confession, but aren't sure it's the truth.

[PHOTOS: Pictures of Justin Gaines]

“Justin was set up to get robbed,” Lt. Col. Carl Sims, of the Gwinnett County Police Department, told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas.

Sims believes he has a good idea of what happened to Gaines, but not proof enough to take it to court.

Investigators believe a blond-haired woman picked Gaines up outside Wild Bills and took him to a house in Snellville.


Sims believes Gaines was robbed and killed, then his body taken to Lake Lanier in a van and dumped.

“Immediately after Justin Gaines went missing, the van went missing,” Sims said.

Investigators believe Gaines’ body was later moved to a well somewhere in Barrow or Walton counties.  No remains have ever been found.

[READ: New search launched for missing teen Justin Gaines]

“If somebody could just tell me who he got into the car with, that would be phenomenal,” Sims told Thomas.

Sims also has a confession from Dylan Glass and pictures of Glass the day after Gaines vanished wearing his diamond earring.

Sims said Glass admitted taking it off Gaines’ body but denied killing him. Glass is in prison on unrelated charges.

[WATCH: Family continues searching for clues in Justin Gaines disappearance]

Glass recorded a video to encourage other witnesses to come forward.

Gaines’ mother, Erika Wilson, still hopes for answers and has considered confronting Glass herself.

“I've thought about going up there and saying, ‘Hey, you want to talk?’ I don't know if they would let me in but I've thought about it,” Wilson told Thomas.

[WATCH: Walton County conducts new search for missing man Justin Gaines]

For Sims, it's a 10-year-old mystery he thinks he's just one clue away from solving.

“We are going to keep pushing. We are going to keep trying,” Sims said.

Sims said crews dug up some more land within the last month looking for remains and have other potential witnesses with whom they still plan to talk.

A $25,000 reward is still being offered in this case. Anyone with information is asked to call 770-619-6500.

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