Was Don North Murdered By A Serial Killer At Sea?

July 27, 2018
By: Catherine Townsend

Photo by: Don North [Investigation Discovery]

Don North [Investigation Discovery]

In North Carolina during the summer of 1991, Don North and his new wife, Janet Ord, were planning to fulfill a lifelong dream of sailing around the world on their new boat, The Windancer.

But their Caribbean fantasy didn’t last. By 2011, the couple had split — and Don had vanished without a trace.

The story of Don’s disappearance, and the hunt for a serial killer at sea are the subjects of the season premiere of Investigation Discovery’s “Dark Waters: Murder in the Deep.”

Photo by: Janet Ord with Don North [Investigation Discovery]

Janet Ord with Don North [Investigation Discovery]

Janet still remembers the first time she met Don.

There was an immediate connection there that was not going to be denied,” she said.

She said that she and Don found that they had a dream in common: buying a sailboat and sailing around the world.

So they bought The Windancer and started making plans for a great adventure.

She was beautiful,” Janet said. “It was exciting. We were both just elated and excited and scared and all those emotions rolled into one.”

“He liked being Captain Don. He took to that role quite nicely.”

Photo by: Don North with his dog Kuna in front of the Windancer [Investigation Discovery]

Don North with his dog Kuna in front of the Windancer [Investigation Discovery]

But being on the high seas had its risks. Don was becoming more and more afraid of piracy and other threats.

He brought a Glock handgun onboard to protect himself and his wife.

And the threats to Don’s marriage weren’t all coming from the outside: According to Janet, his temper was getting worse.

Then Janet met another man and told Don she wanted out of the marriage.

I tell him, ‘I’ve fallen in love with somebody else. I don’t want to be with you anymore. I want to go,'” Janet said.

When Janet left, Don was heartbroken. He felt that he had lost both his soulmate and his traveling partner. According to his nephew, Ezra North, after the split, his uncle’s mental state began to deteriorate.

Photo by: Don with his dog, Juna [Investigation Discovery]

Don with his dog, Juna [Investigation Discovery]

Don began communicating less with family and friends.

He began to rely more and more on his radio for company, which he would use to chat with the people on other vessels in the area.

But Don finally found his island paradise in the remote San Blas islands, located off the coast of Panama. Don fell in love with the untouched beauty of the islands and felt a connection with the Kuna Indians who lived there. During this time he got a dog named Kuna, who was constantly at his side.

In his last email to Ezra in December 2010, Don talked about severe storms that were hitting the region around Panama. So when his family could not reach him in early 2011, they became alarmed.

According to investigative journalist Don Winner, who re-traced Don’s steps with Ezra, during this time period Americans started disappearing from the region. Authorities began to suspect that a psychopath was stalking victims of the so-called “Cruiser” community at sea.

Was Don the victim of a serial killer? Did Javier, a man whose life Don had saved when Javier’s boat broke apart on a coral reef, play a role in Don’s death?

And who was the mysterious stranger who claimed that Don allowed him to use his bank card?

Watch the Don North story in the “Adrift” episode of Investigation Discovery’s Dark Waters: Murder in the Deep on Tuesday, July 31 at 10/9c!

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Read more: Panama-Guide.com