Who Killed Dorothy Jane Scott in 1980?

Dorothy Jane Scott vanished outside a California hospital in 1980. Her remains were found four years later, but her murderer has never been caught.

About the Case

Dorothy Jane ScottDorothy Scott was a 32-year-old single mother to a four-year-old son, named Shawn. They resided in Stanton, California with Dorothy’s aunt. Dorothy worked as a secretary for Swingers Psych Shop, a 2400 sq. ft. store located at 517 S. Brookhurst Street in Anaheim, about a mile south of the Santa Freeway. Zena Hair Salon and Ocean Breeze Cleaners occupy the space today.

By all accounts, Dorothy was a devoted mother who rarely went out on a date and preferred to stay home with her family.

On the evening of May 28, 1980, the young mother went to a 9:00 p.m. employee meeting at work. While there, she noticed a nasty red streak on fellow co-worker, Conrad Bostron’s arm.  Dorothy convinced Conrad to let her take him to UCI Medical Center. Another co-worker, Pam Head, tagged along.

While Conrad was being treated, Pam and Dorothy read magazines and chatted with one another to bide the time. Turned out, Conrad had suffered from an infected spider bite. When Conrad was finished, the three headed to the hospital pharmacy to get Conrad’s prescription. As they stood in line, Dorothy offered to pull her car around front, so Conrad did not have far to walk. When Pam and Conrad were done, they went outside to wait for Dorothy.

A few minutes passed but Dorothy had not shown up yet. Then, Pam and Conrad spotted her car driving towards them at a high rate of speed. The cars headlights blinded them so they could not see who was driving. They frantically waved their hands but the driver ignored them and sped on.

The two ran after Dorothy’s car. The car’s headlights suddenly went out, and then the car exited the parking lot.

Pam and Conrad figured something must have happened with Shawn so Dorothy had to leave.

After and hour or two of waiting, the two called UCI Police, but police did not see cause for concern. Pam then called Dorothy’s parents, who were watching Shawn while Dorothy attended the meeting,  but they had not seen her all evening.

A few hours later, Dorothy’s car was found burning in a Santa Ana alley. Dorothy was not inside. Police then began treating this case like an abduction and possible murder.

Police advised Dorthy’s parents, Jacob and Vera Scott, to not say anything to the media. They interviewed Shawn’s father, but he had an alibi – he was in Missouri at the time. They questioned employees of Swinger’s twice. Because Dorothy worked in the back office away from the public eye, her kidnapper most likely was not a customer as far as the police were concerned.

The Mystery Caller

Prior to her abduction and murder, Dorothy was harassed by an unknown male who would make calls to Dorothy at work. Dorothy told Vera the voice sounded familiar but she couldn’t quite place it. Sometimes the caller was kind, other times he was angry and aggressive. He told Dorothy he was following her, how much he loved her, and that he knew everything about her daily routine. He once left a single red rose on the windshield of her car.

During one call, he told Dorothy he was going to kill her, and then chop her body into pieces so nobody would find her. Dorothy began taking karate lessons and considered buying a handgun.

Not long after Dorothy disappeared, Vera started receiving phone calls every Wednesday from an unknown male and always when she was home alone. The caller would either ask for Dorothy, say he had Dorothy, or that he had killed her. Police believe he was the one who took Dorothy.

The phone calls went on until 1984 when a call came in at night and was answered by Jacob.

Vera was not the only one to receive a phone call. On June 12, 1980, an unidentified man called the Orange County Register, claiming he killed Dorothy. She was his love and he caught her cheating on him, so he murdered her. He knew about the spider bite and that Dorothy was wearing a red scarf that night. These details had not been released by police at that time. The caller also said Dorothy telephoned him from UCI Medical Center. However, Pam Head disputed this by saying Dorothy was with her the whole time, except when she went to use the restroom.

Discovery of Dorothy Jane Scott

On August 6, 1984, a construction worker discovered skeletal remains –  a pelvis, an arm, two thighs, and a skull – in some brush off Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim. Along with the remains were a turquoise ring and a watch, which had stopped at 12:30 a.m. on May 29, 1980, approximately one hour after Pam and Conrad last saw Dorothy.

Vera identified the ring as Dorothy’s, and a week later, the remains were positively identified as those of Dorothy Scott. An autopsy could not identify cause of death.

Dorothy’s case has never been solved and her killer never arrested.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

This case intrigues a lot of true crime fans because of the circumstances surrounding it. Sad to think her killer might still walk among us.

I think the caller-stalker was probably her killer, of course. He might have been either a fellow employee or customer. I know the police did not believe it was a customer because Dorothy worked in the back of the shop, but maybe a customer saw her at some point while visiting Swinger’s. Maybe she was leaving for a break or going to lunch, or she stepped up front for some reason.

Dorothy didn’t go out much so I don’t know how this could be anyone not associated with Swinger’s. Police interviewed the employees twice but I found nothing on WHY they interviewed them twice. It could have just been standard procedure.

Dorothy told Vera that the caller’s voice sounded familiar but she could not recognize it. Obviously she came in contact with her stalker-killer at some point before she disappeared.

Whoever it was had been following her that night because she was abducted the first moment she was alone. I do not believe Dorothy called her stalker. This was a great moment of opportunity for her killer because Dorothy was not alone very often, especially after she knew she had a psycho after her.

It does strike me as a little odd that Dorothy walked alone to her car at the hospital knowing some weirdo was harassing her. Why didn’t she take Pam with her? It was late at night and there probably wasn’t many people in the parking lot at that time of night.

Burning Dorothy’s car was a way to destroy any evidence that might have been in the vehicle itself. It’s strange her killer chose not to put Dorothy’s body in the car. So, was she alive for a period after the car was burned? Her watch stopped at 12:30 a.m. on May 30th so this leads one to believe this is when her murder occurred, although we can’t be certain, of course.

The stalker-killer theory makes the most sense and it is probably what happened here. I just hope that there will be justice for Dorothy one day.

I found Dorothy’s son, Shawn on Facebook and he still lives in the L.A. area.




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Author: truecrimediva

True crime blogger