William Mark Alley, known to friends and family as simply “Mark,” had been the director of the Davidson County Museum of Art in Lexington, North Carolina, for five years when he resigned on the morning of February 2, 2000. His resignation came on the heels of confrontation with some of his co-workers who accused him of embezzling approximately $14,725 of the museum’s money.
At approximately 7:00 p.m. this same day, Mark’s wife, Jackie Alley, returned to the couple’s home on Becks Church Road and discovered her husband was missing. His red Jeep Cherokee was parked in its usual space in the driveway and inside was his checkbook and a receipt from Ingle’s grocery store for Tylenol PM. 
A note uncovered inside the home read “Jackie I love you[.] Luc I love you[.]“ but family members say it wasn’t uncommon for Mark to leave such notes for his wife and son so it’s never been considered a suicide note.
Mark’s father, Dale, was long adamant that his own son would not have abandoned his son and wife, who was expecting their second child at the time of his disappearance, nor did he believe his son had been responsible for the missing museum funds – which is echoed by longtime friends and other family members as well. 
Unfortunately, Dale Alley left this world before knowing what happened to his son. But not without putting putting up a fight alongside others dissatisfied with Davidson County’s leading law enforcement official.
Two weeks after Mark’s disappearance, a criminal warrant for embezzlement was issued and remains unserved as of this writing. While some questioned such an action, others felt it prompted the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office to continue searching for a man some believed had met with foul play. Unfortunately, it was publicly revealed in 2003 that, after Dale Alley had placed a sign in his yard for then-Sheriff Gerald Hege’s opponent, a leading investigator was told to spend less time in the search for Mark. 
On September 15, 2003, Hege was charged with 15 felonies and suspended from office. The charges were five counts of embezzlement by a public officer, five counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of endeavoring to intercept oral communication, one count of aiding and abetting to endeavor to intercept oral communication and one count of aiding and abetting to obtain property by false pretenses. He eventually accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to three years probation.
Rumors have long abounded that Mark absconded to Mexico or California but there has never been any proof of such. Since the date he disappeared, Mark has made no contact with any of his family. It’s as if he simply vanished off the face of the earth.
When searching for a missing persons case to feature today, this one particularly stood out to me. I read so many pleas from family and friends who sincerely believe Mark met with foul play and possibly as a result of something in relation to the embezzlement allegation. It’s just my opinion, for what little it’s worth, but I find it difficult to believe someone would give up so much (wife, son, a baby on the way, loving parents and siblings) over the piddly sum of $15,000 which, even charged criminally, would have likely only resulted in restitution and probation. Mark seems to have been much too level headed for such behavior.
So what could have happened? It’s a question on many minds.
It has now been more than thirteen years since William Mark Alley disappeared but those who knew Mark still want to know what happened to him – most likely including his son, who was only two at the time of his disappearance.
If you have any information about William Mark Alley, regardless of how insignificant you believe it may be, please contact the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office at 336.242.2123.
1. Family, Friends Use Balloons To Aid In Search for Mark Alley; The Dispatch; February 4,2003.
3. Sheriff Endangered Public, Deputies Say Affidavits Accuse Hege of Racial profiling, Obstruction of Justice, Reckless and Dangerous Conduct; Winston-Salem Journal; September 16, 2003.