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Calls from a Killer – Dorothy Jane Scott

“When I get you alone, I will cut you up into bits so no one will ever find you,” said a threatening male’s voice down the line to Dorothy Jane Scott in early 1980. 1

For several months, Dorothy had been receiving extremely alarming phone calls from an unknown man. Not only did this elusive figure on the other end of the line threaten Dorothy with extreme violence but he also warned that he was watching her. He was able to describe where she was and what she was doing in great detail. On one occasion, Dorothy received a phone call telling her to look outside because he had left her a gift. On the windshield of her car was a dead rose. 2

Before these calls began to consume her every waking moment, Dorothy lived a routine and predictable life. She was a 32-year-old mother who lived in Stanton, California, with her aunt and 4-year-old son, Shanti. During the week she worked as a secretary at the Swinger’s Psych shop in Anaheim while her doting parents looked after her Shanti at their home which was just a couple of blocks from place of employment. Each evening, Dorothy would pick her son up and drive back where she would cook dinner and then watch cartoons with Shanti or read him a book. She very seldom dated, her father, Jacob, would later say.

Her main focus was on creating a good life for her son. When it became evident that the disturbing calls weren’t going to cease any time soon and as they became more threatening in nature, Dorothy decided she would take karate lessons. She thought that if this stalker was serious, then she needed to know how to protect herself if ever the situation presented itself. These lessons were futile, it would unfortunately transpire.

 

Dorothy and her son. Credit: http://crimeblogger1983.blogspot.co.uk

May the 28th, 1980, started out just like any other day. Dorothy dropped Shanti with her parents and drove the short distance to work. Once there, she attended an employee meeting with her colleagues. One colleague, Conrad Bostron, exclaimed that he hadn’t been feeling too well and had a large red mark on his arm. Taking one look at the arm, which appeared to be inflamed, a concerned Dorothy told him that she would drive him to UCI Medical Center to get it checked out. She was a mother, after all, and she knew that if it was left untreated, it would just get worse. Another colleague, Pam Head, accompanied the duo.

As it turned out, Conrad had been bitten by a spider. Thankfully, it was nothing serious and Dorothy and Pam read magazines in the waiting room as Conrad was being seen to by the nurses. When Conrad appeared in the waiting room at approximately 11PM that night, ready to leave after being treated, Dorothy said she would go and fetch the car from the parking lot and meet them out front. Conrad and Pam briefly waited out the front of the building for their friend to return with the car. When she didn’t show up, they decided to start walking back to the car park.

Then out of nowhere, the duo saw Dorothy’s white 1973 Toyota station wagon speed out of the car park and turn around the corner, speeding away from them. The headlights were on full beam so they were unable to catch a glimpse of who was behind the wheel. “We waved our hands. There was no way she could have missed us. The car made a right. We started running after it and it sped up,” said Pam.

When Dorothy didn’t return home that night to collect her son, her father, Jacob, and her mother, Vera, called the police to report her missing. In the early morning hours after her inexplicable disappearance, Dorothy’s burnt out car was discovered in an alley in Santa Ana. Things weren’t looking good.

As the investigation into her disappearance was underway, police told her parents to play it close to the chest and to keep the details surrounding her disappearance private. This is quite a common tactic of police when it comes to unsolved disappearances and murders so that when a suspect is brought in for questioning, they have not read any details regarding the crime in the newspapers.

Within days, the telephone at Jacob and Vera’s home started to ring.

“Are you related to Dorothy Scott?” the caller asked. “Yes,” said Vera. “I’ve got her,” the unidentified male exclaimed before abruptly hanging up. Could this have been the same man who had been tormenting Dorothy before her disappearance?

Fed up of keeping quiet, Jacob called the Register newspaper in Santa Ana which subsequently ran a story on the disappearance of Dorothy. The same morning the story ran, managing editor for the Register, Pat Riley, received an ominous phone call. “She was my love… I caught her cheating with another man. She denied having someone else – I killed her,” the voice on the line sobbed. Pat said that the caller knew details about Dorothy’s disappearance that weren’t included in the newspaper article. For example, he knew what she had been wearing on the night she disappeared and knew that she was at UCI Medical Center.

For four long and torturous years, Jacob and Vera sporadically received taunting phone call after taunting phone call. These mostly came when Vera was home alone. It was evident that the sadistic caller thrived on the sorrow and fear he was instilling in Dorothy’s parents. Police decided on tapping the phone but this attempt to identify the caller was unfruitful. Each time he called, he didn’t remain on the line long enough for police to be able to identify where the call was coming from.

Sometimes, the caller would claim that he still had Dorothy and that she was still alive. Other times, he would laugh and tell them that he had killed her. As it would transpire, the latter was true.

On the 6th of August, 1984, Jacob and Vera’s greatest fears were confirmed. A subcontractor for Pacific Bell stumbled across human bones while preparing to dig for laying cables under Santa Ana Canyon Road. Alongside the human remains was a woman’s wrist watch as well as a turquoise ring. The remains were transported to the Orange County coroner’s office where they were identified as Dorothy Jane Scott’s by Dr. Robert Kelly. “Eight molars were present… they matched exactly with the dental records,” he concluded. 3

The pieces of jewellery that were found with the remains were identified as belonging to Dorothy. Within days, it was announced that Dorothy was a victim of homicide. However, due to the severe deterioration of the bones, a cause of death was impossible to be determined. What is known, though, is that according to police, the mysterious caller who had tormented both Dorothy and her parents was the man who killed Dorothy of that fateful night.

After the news of the grim discovery wended through the city, Jacob and Vera received one last phone call:

“Is Dorothy home?”

Both Jacob and Vera went to the grave without knowing the identity of the man who made Dorothy fear for her life on a daily basis before finally ending her life.


 

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Footnotes:

  1. Daily Breeze – 20 August, 1984 – “Caller Torments Family with Claims that he Killed Daughter”
  2. Statesman-Journal – 20 August, 1984 – “Daughter’s Killer Terrorizes Parents”
  3. The Los Angeles Times – 17 August, 1984 – “Remains Confirm Family’s Fears”

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