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A Killer Calls: The Unsolved Murder of Dorothy Jane Scott

Soon after her disappearance, Dorothy's family began receiving chilling calls from an unidentified caller. 

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  • Photo Credit: Crime Vault / YouTube

“When I get you alone, I will cut you up into bits so no one will ever find you,” the man’s voice said on the phone. It wasn’t the first such call that Dorothy Jane Scott had received from the unidentified caller—someone whose voice she seemed to recognize but couldn’t quite place—but it was perhaps the most unsettling and, tragically, among the most prophetic.

Since early in 1980, Scott, a single mother with a four-year-old son named Shawn, had been receiving the threatening calls at her aunt’s home in Stanton, California, where she and Shawn lived. At times, the caller was fawning, professing his love for Scott and making romantic overtures. Otherwise, he was vitriolic and threatening, saying that he was going to harm her in unspeakable ways. In both modes, the caller made it clear that he was watching Scott, recounting details of her day-to-day life and, in one instance, telling her to go outside because he had something for her. When she went to her car, she found a single dead rose placed on the windshield.

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The calls unsettled Scott and her family, but no one was quite sure what to do about them, so they went unreported. Then, on the night of May 28, 1980. Scott dropped her son off with her parents in Anaheim so that she could attend a staff meeting where she worked. During the meeting, she noticed that one of her coworkers, Conrad Bostron, didn’t look well. She offered to take him to the hospital. He took her up on her offer, and another coworker, Pam Head, accompanied them. On the way, Scott stopped off at her parents’ house to check on her son and, while there, switched the black scarf she had been wearing for a red one.

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  • The hospital is one of the last places Scott was seen alive.

    Photo Credit: Crime Vault / YouTube

At the hospital, it was determined that Bostron had been bitten by a black widow spider. He was treated while Scott and Head waited around until he was ready to go home. According to Head, Scott never left her side during the evening. When Bostron was released, Scott went out to the hospital parking lot to get her car while Head and Bostron waited to fill a prescription. When Scott didn’t return right away, her two coworkers walked out to the parking lot. There they saw Scott’s car speeding away, the headlights blinding them so that they couldn’t see who was behind the wheel.

Related: The Unsolved Killing of Georgette Bauerdorf 

Initially, Bostron and Head assumed that some emergency had come up involving Scott’s son, but when they still hadn’t heard from her a few hours later, they reported her missing. At around 4:30 the following morning, Scott’s car, a white Toyota station wagon, was found in an alley in Santa Ana, about 10 miles from the hospital. The car had been set ablaze, but no one was inside.

It was only about a week later that Scott’s mother, Vera, received the first call. “Are you related to Dorothy Scott?” the voice on the phone asked. When Vera said that she was, the caller simply added, “I’ve got her,” and then hung up.

It was the first such call that Scott’s parents received, but it wouldn’t be the last. Though police installed a voice recorder at their residence, they were never able to trace the calls, as the caller never stayed on the line for more than a short time.

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Shortly after the mysterious calls began, Scott’s father approached the Santa Ana Register asking them to run a story about his missing daughter. The story ran on June 12, 1980, and that same day Pat Riley, the paper’s editor, received an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to be Dorothy Scott’s killer. “She was my love,” the caller said. “I caught her cheating with another man. She denied having someone else. I killed her.”

The caller provided details that hadn’t been included in the newspaper story, such as the color of Scott’s scarf, and the fact that her coworker had been treated for a black widow bite that evening. The caller also claimed that Scott had called him that night from the hospital, though Pam Head insisted that Scott had never left her side that evening. As far as anyone in her life was aware, Dorothy Scott had no serious boyfriend at the time of her death. Still, police believe that the man who called the Santa Ana Register was probably her killer.

Related: Cruelly Slain: The Brutal Austin Yogurt Shop Murders of 1991 Remain Unsolved Decades Later 

During all of this time, Scott was still missing. It was nearly two months later, on August 6, 1984 that construction workers would discover charred bones near Santa Ana Canyon Road. The bones included human and dog remains side by side. Authorities believed that they had been there for some time, as a brushfire had swept through the area in 1982 and likely explained the charred condition of the bones. Though no cause of death was able to be established, a turquoise ring and watch were both found with the remains, and the bones were identified as Scott’s through dental records.

Though the strange phone calls to Scott’s family stopped in April of 1984, they resumed after Scott’s remains were found in August. In spite of the killer’s taunting calls, however, Scott’s murder remains unsolved to this day.

All photos: Crime Vault / YouTube