November 10th, 2004 12:00 am Jill Smith, Chris Lydgate | Special Section Stories


Peter and Diane

It was the stuff of nightmares. Raleigh Hills mom Diane Walden, 40, goes out to play a few rounds of golf at Progress Downs with Peter, a 13-year-old family friend, in August 1991. They don't come back.

Initial news reports played up speculation that Peter and Diane had been kidnapped--even murdered.

But as the weeks dragged by, investigators began to suspect that the odd couple had run away.

The pair had become almost inseparable. Peter worked as an assistant at Diane's daycare center and often accompanied her on errands. Increasingly uncomfortable about the relationship, his mother had ordered him to quit spending time with her.

The two were captured in the parking lot of a New Jersey casino 40 days after their disappearance. This spectacular elopement captured headlines across the nation. Local musician (and Oregonian reporter) Tony Green even recorded a song about them.

At the subsequent trial, Peter testified that he and Diane had engaged in sex on about 20 occasions, both before and during their trip. Diane denied any sexual contact. In an exceedingly nasty defense, her lawyers suggested that Peter had fabricated the allegations under pressure from his parents.

The jury found Diane guilty of custodial interference but deadlocked on the sex charges. Rather than hold a new trial, prosecutors dropped those charges.

Peter, now 26, lives in Redmond, Ore., with his wife and family. He declined to speak to WW.

Diane, now 53, was sentenced to two years in prison and served out her time at the Columbia River Correctional Institution. She was discharged in 1993.

Computer records list her current address as a post office box in Quartzsite, Ariz., not far from the Yuma Proving Ground, where the U.S. Army tests missiles. Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful.


Intro | Tonya's Mob: Tonya Harding, Jeff Gillooly & Shawn Eckardt | The Crusader: Gordon Shadburne | The Meteor: Billy Ray Bates | Satan's Pilgrim: Rex Diabolos Church | The Firebrand: Ron Herndon | The Bad Boy: Frank Peters | The Broken Halo: Michael Stoops | The Crack Mother: Anita Nichols | The Veejay: Kennedy | The Girl from Electra: Treva Throneberry | The Perfect Victim: Azalea Cooley | The Grappler: Dutch Savage | Wonder Boy: Pat Gillis | The Ex-Files: Marcia & Steve Moskowitz | The Witness: Dave Mazzella | The Prankster: Igor Vamos | The Intern: Monica Lewinsky | The Runaways: Diane Walden & Peter | Top Cop: Mark Kroeker | Sprawl Kitten: Kate Schiele | Authority Figure: Rocky Balada | The Hulk: Dry Dock 4 | The Candidate: Gail Shibley | The Super: Ben Canada | The Organ Grinder: Dr. William J. Brady | Pillars of the Community: The Lovejoy Columns | The Survivor: Giles Thompson | The Contender: Andy Minsker | Space Invader: The Phantom Dialer | The Red Menace: Ma Anand Sheela

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