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MO BRENDA DUNHAM: Missing from Alton, MO - 10 May 1985 - Age 26

Discussion in 'Missing 1980 to 1989' started by Akoya, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2017
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  2. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    NamUs MP # 15080
    Brenda Dunham
    Oregon County, Missouri
    26 year old white female

    Case Report - NamUs MP # 15080

    Case Information
    Status Missing
    First name Brenda
    Middle name Louise
    Last name Dunham
    Date last seen May 10, 1985 00:00
    Date entered 06/21/2012
    Age last seen 26 to years old
    Age now 58 years old
    Race White
    Sex Female
    Height (inches) 68.0
    Weight (pounds) 120.0

    City Alton
    State Missouri
    Zip code
    County Oregon
    Brenda Dunham was reported missing on May 10, 1985, after she failed to report to her job at a shoe factory in West Plains, MO. Family members believe foul play may have been involved. Brenda was married with children when she disappeared and family believes it highly unlikely that she would leave her children behind.

    Hair color Blond/Strawberry

    Left eye color Blue
    Right eye color Blue

    Scars and marks
    Discoloration on abdomen; Mole on head

    Clothing and accessories are unknown

    Jurisdiction County
    Agency Oregon County Sheriff's Department
    Address 1 P.O. Box 265
    Address 2
    City Alton
    State Missouri
    Zip code 65606
  3. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  4. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  5. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    ALTON, MO - (KOLR) For three decades, there have been a lot of questions about what happened to a mother of two children from rural Oregon County, Missouri. When she went missing, it shook up people for miles around.

    "On a Saturday, everybody would come to town. Everybody knew everybody," says Frances Hollis, Alton, Mo. resident.

    "Its a peaceful quiet little town. I love it here, it's home to me," says Bonnie Rankin.

    In a small southern Missouri town, there's a three decade-old mystery still looming.

    "I think they will eventually find her or find what happened," says Hollis.

    Brenda Dunham, a mother of two young children, disappeared on May 10,1985. She vanished from rural Oregon County.

    "She disappeared," says Chief Deputy Eric King.

    The case went cold until Dunham's sister, Debi Lawson, did her own investigation.

    "I decided I wanted to find my niece and nephew and I did. That catapulted me into the realization [that] I wanted to know what happened to my sister," says Lawson.

    The case caught national attention, landing on "Cold Justice" last week. The episode ended with the prosecutor saying what the family has been waiting on for years.

    "I think I'd like to take the time to process it all. She had a terrible life, victim of domestic violence. He's making these threats and then she is missing."

    When Dunham went missing, people thought she was running from a bad relationship or small town Missouri life. But her family says she wouldn't do that to her two kids and that's when they knew something went wrong.

    King says without the resources the show provided, this case may never be solved.

    "We were able to put an investigator on this full time so he has been able to have the extra person."

    "I'm the only investigator that works here so our caseload is pretty high and to be able to dedicate that time to this case, we were excited," says Oregon County investigator Dustin Kirkpatrick.

    Kirkpatrick says new leads come up when they unlock the file. "You follow one all the way to the end and whenever it dries up, you pick up another one."

    Time is playing against them.

    "You can pretty much rule the fact out that she just run away. She had too much to leave behind," says Kirkpatrick.

    Lawson believes she know what happened to her sister.

    "We know what happened to her, we just don't know the details. We don't know where she is at, we don't know where her body is," says Lawson.

    After waiting and waiting, the family may be one step closer to closure.

    "The town and the community is worried about it for 30 years, wondering what happened to her," says King.

    "Back when it all happened and everything, there was a lot of talk about this one did it, that one did it," says Bonnie Rankin, Alton, Mo. resident.

    King hopes they will be able to move forward soon on charges against the person responsible for the disappearance of Dunham.
  6. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Cops search old well for clues in 1985 cold case
    Thursday, February 9, 2012
    Linda Greer, Staff Writer

    On May 9, 1985, Brenda Louise Johnson Dunham, a 26-year-old rural Thomasville wife and mother of an infant and toddler left her job at the now defunct International Shoe Factory in West Plains and was never seen again.

    At Dunham's family's request, on Jan. 21, a team of cold-case experts and local law enforcement authorities searched an old cistern on an Oregon County farm for clues about Dunham's disappearance almost 27 years ago.

    "There were rumors for years about that well, but there was only one way to find out for sure, and that was to dig it out," Oregon County Sheriff George Underwood said Feb. 6.

    Underwood, who is originally from the area, but working at a Florida penitentiary when Dunham disappeared in 1985, said he had little knowledge of the case until recently when Dunham's family contacted him.

    Dunham's family members asked the property owners if the well, which had been filled in with soil and debris many years earlier, could be uncovered. The property owners agreed, Underwood said.

    Joe Marcello of Cabool and his cadaver dog, Missouri State Highway Patrol forensics expert Darren Jones and Oregon County sheriff's deputies searched the site, recovering a few items that are being studied.

    A home on the farm burned many years earlier, and the well was filled with junk, including a lawnmower frame, household garbage and a bone that turned out to be from an animal.

    Clothing found in the well was sent to the patrol's crime lab for DNA testing.

    After the search, the hole was refilled with soil, Underwood said.

    "There were a couple of things, but we're not sure yet if it will lead to anything," Underwood said.

    No suspects were charged in conjunction with Dunham's disappearance, which drew little media attention. If Dunham died or was killed, her body has not been found.

    The patrol's online "active missing adults" list states Dunham was listed missing from Alton on May 10, 1985. The site does not include a photo of Dunham.

    Dunham's younger sister, Debi Redricks of Owasso, Okla., spoke with authorities and television reporters at the dig site, saying her family "needs closure" regarding Brenda's disappearance.

    According to one report, Redricks said it was rumored that the cistern was filled with gravel a few weeks after Dunham disappeared.

    Redricks, who was given up for adoption at birth, never met Dunham and was found by an investigator six months after Dunham's disappearance. Redrick's and Dunham's birth mother hired the investigator to find Redricks, hoping Dunham was with her, according to posts made by Redrick on an online forum.

    "I have mixed emotions about digging this back up," Redricks posted. "I truly want to know what happened to my sister and give her a respectful burial."

    Redricks said she has mixed emotions, however, because she does not want to hurt Brenda's son and daughter, who are now adults.

    Results of the DNA tests from the clothing taken from the well are not yet available, Underwood said.
  7. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    3654DFMO - Brenda Louise Dunham


    Name: Brenda Louise Dunham
    Case Classification: Endangered Missing
    Missing Since: May 10, 1985
    Location Last Seen: Alton, Oregon County, Missouri

    Physical Description
    Date of Birth: February 13, 1959
    Age: 26 years old
    Race: White
    Gender: Female
    Height: 5'8"
    Weight: 120 lbs.
    Hair Color: Blond/Strawberry
    Eye Color: Blue
    Nickname/Alias: Unknown
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: She has a discoloration on her abdomen and a mole on her head.

    Dentals: Not Available
    Fingerprints: Not Available
    DNA: Available

    Clothing & Personal Items
    Clothing: Unknown
    Jewelry: Unknown
    Additional Personal Items: Unknown

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Brenda Dunham was reported missing on May 10, 1985, after she failed to report to her job at a shoe factory in West Plains, MO. Family members believe foul play may have been involved. Brenda was married with children when she disappeared and family believes it highly unlikely that she would leave her children behind.

    Investigating Agency(s)
    Agency Name: Oregon County Sheriff's Department
    Agency Contact Person: Chief Deputy Eric King
    Agency Phone Number: 417-778-6611
    Agency E-Mail: N/A
    Agency Case Number: G0R850084

    NCIC Case Number: Unknown
    NamUs Case Number: 15080

    Information Source(s)
    Missouri Missing Persons Clearinghouse
    North American Missing Persons Network
    Oregon County Sheriff's Office

    Admin Notes
    Added: 11/26/2016; Last Updated: 11/26/2016
  8. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  9. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    TV show investigates 30 year cold case in Alton, MO

    Published: 2 years ago
    Episode of Cold Justice looks into disappearance of Brenda Dunham in 1985.

    to enforce what it believes is a contractual requirement for the county jail to accept municipal prisoners. >> an unsolved ozarks murder mystery gets national attention tonight. 30 years ago a young mother of two vanished from alton, missouri. christ drew douglas spoke with the woman's sister who is determined to get justice. >> reporter: debbie lawson was given up for adoption as a baby and never met her sister brenda dunham. >> i've never met my sister but learned who she was through her friends and my family and they both have different perspectives. >> reporter: although they've never med debbie feels close to brenda. >> what i know of my sister, she was a wonderful person, a good sense of humor. >> reporter: but in may 1985, brenda disappeared from her home near alton leaving behind a husband and two small children. >> she adored her children. i know she didn't leave those kids. i know she didn't. >> reporter: although murder was suspected, brenda's body was never found. >> i want to find her body. we need to put her to rest. >> reporter: she suspects brenda's husband killed her. >> we're fearful if we try to take him to court on circumstantial evidence we're not going to be successful even though we have extremely strong circumstantial evidence. >> reporter: solving the case has become an obsession for debbie. >> i eventually became a licensed private investor because of searching for her. >> reporter: debbie helped dig up clues at the bottom of a cistern. >> we found a pair of pants, a shirt and tennis shoe. that opened the case back up. >> cold justice, all new. >> reporter: now the tnt show cold justice is featuring brenda's case in a search for more clues. >> cold justice taking this case on has been the most awesome situation for us. they found a lot. >> reporter: debbie hopes hard evidence of the truth will come out. >> the best possible outcome is someone watches

  10. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  11. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

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  12. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Cold Justice’: Brenda Dunham Never Met Her Sister Debi Lawson

    by 2Paragraphs in Culture | August 14, 2015

    Still from "Cold Justice" Brenda Dunham's mother with sheriff

    When Brenda Dunham didn’t show up for work her boss reported her missing. That was in May 1985. The then 26-year-old mother hasn’t been seen since. There are several theories about Dunham’s disappearance, including one that she was a victim of domestic violence. Her husband Jeff told policethat she had taken her clothes and left home, leaving him with their two children, JJ, 4, and Jessica, 1. He said she had left before and usually returned in about two weeks. Did she find a way to escape or was she murdered?

    Brenda’s mother hired a private investigator to look for Dunham and during the investigation he found Debi Lawson, the daughter Brenda’s mother had given up for adoption. When Debi got to meet her sister’s children in 2008, she said, “It kind of catapulted me into trying to find out what happened.” Cold Justice will travel to Oregon County, Missouri, to look into the cold case on August 14 at 8pm on TNT.
    spike likes this.
  13. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    ALTON, Mo. -- A cold case from southern Missouri will be featured on TNT's show "Cold Justice" tonight.
    The 30 year old disappearance of Brenda Dunham was picked up after Oregon County Sheriff George Underwood reopened the case.

    Dunham went missing in May, 1985 from Alton, Missouri when she did not show up to work.
    Since she was last seen - rumors have spread of her leaving or being killed.

    "Cold Justice" detectives picked up the case and went around the country trying to solve the 30 year old mystery.

    Debi Lawson, Brenda's sister, says it's time to bring closure to the family and the community.
    "The interest is stirring. They're remembering things. Even tiny little things, it doesn't matter. A tiny little thing may lead us to the truth."

    "There's talk in town," says Chief Deputy Eric King. "The town and the community is worried about it for 30 years wondering what happened to her. So its been an ongoing question for 30 years."

    The show will air tonight at 7:00 pm on TNT.

    Dunham's family has organized a watch party to view the episode.
    It starts at 6:30 at Timeout on South Campbell.
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    Akoya Bronze Member

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    Akoya Bronze Member

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    Akoya Bronze Member

  17. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

  18. Searching4Truth

    Searching4Truth New Member

    This case makes me sick. Jeff Dunham is absolutely 100% GUILTY. His ex-girlfriend, is a lying witch. She just decided all the information she provided, maps, statements, signatures, meh, irrelevant.
    Brenda will unlikely get Justice. This poor, precious woman who was severely abused, knew she'd never make it out alive. I don't agree with everything Kelly does, but I've always agreed with her statements about not rewarding a violent murderer for hiding and disposing of a body to well.
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    guess who Bronze Member

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  20. Searching4Truth

    Searching4Truth New Member


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