Unsolved Wyoming Murders, DNA, and Justice

Unsolved Wyoming Murders, DNA, and Justice

“the earth shall disclose her blood and nevermore cover her slain”

Alcala and Christine Ruth Thornton

The popular game show known as the ‘Dating Game’ and hosted by Jim Lange ran from 1965 to 1986. In addition most of America had seen it on a regular basis. But one contestant on the show appeared on it while at the same time committing a crime spree of murders that to this day is unprecedented. Many of the murders are unsolved and remain a mystery.

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Above Slideshow related to this article. Note ‘Dale Wayne Eaton picture is not worth showing’, The cover of book ‘The Murder of LIL MISS’ is Fair use found here.

The serial Killer who appeared on the Dating Game is now a ‘convicted Serial killer’ and is at California’s Corcoran State Prison facing a death penalty. The now 73 year old convicted killer is believed to have as many as 130 victims across the US.  No one knows for sure. The actual number is unknown. With so many murders it can be understood that even the serial killer probably doesn’t remember them all.  It is a maze of murder, mayhem, and blood. This is the man who had the audacity to appear on the Dating game during his crime spree and now faces another murder charge.

Authorities believe that during the summer of 1977 Alcala murdered Christine Ruth Thornton, 28, of San Antonio, Texas and disposed of her body in a remote area northeast of Granger, a small rural community in western Sweetwater County.

In April 1982, Thornton’s remains were located by a local rancher, but would remain unidentified until 2015 despite efforts by the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office and Wyoming State Crime Laboratory to identify the remains. Source: Sweewaternow.com

It was through a cold case that Detective Jeff Sheaman took over that brought it to light. Tissue remains with DNA evidence was submitted to the NamUS database. Meanwhile Alcala was convicted of four murders in California and sentenced to death. Through it all the young woman who was missed by her family could not be identified. Her family continued to search for her not knowing the body had been found. They looked through the photo’s that was connected to Alcala’s case and saw a picture of Thornton. Thornton’s family contacted the Huntington police about this. In addition Thornton’s siblings submitted their DNA into the NamUS database. Then in July of 2015 the Sweetwater country detectives were contacted by the NamUS database and alerted to the possible identification of the body they had.

The body that went so long in being identified had finally been reunited with the family that had been looking for her for so many years. This took 34 long years of investigative work. The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office and the County Attorney’s office, have filed charges against Rodney James Alcala, 73 of California in the death of Christine Ruth Thornton.

Eaton, Lisa Kimmell, and Amy Bechtel

However in the whole scheme of murder and mayhem Wyoming has had its own share of such characters. Such is the murderer by the name of Dale Wayne Eaton who kidnapped, raped, and then murdered Lisa Kimmell. He buried her car whole in the desert patch he called home. It lay about a half hour from Shoshoni Wyoming. Eaton like Alcala was connected through DNA eveidence. The investigation stalled until 2002 when the car of Kimmell was found on Eaton’s property. Eaton now sits on death row, but questions also surround this murderer. Did he kill anyone else?

The investigation stalled until 2002, when DNA evidence linked Eaton to the case while he was in prison on unrelated charges. Investigators unearthed the missing car on his property. Authorities say Eaton kept Kimmell captive in a run-down compound in Moneta, west of Casper, and raped her before the killing. Source Billingsgazette.com

There are questions today and just like the Alcala, Eaton had a past. He is no stranger to making threats, throwing people through walls, and doing as he pleased. He like Alcala has a penchant for murder and young women.  Eaton and Alcala both should be dead today, but the appeals processes make justice slow and at times more than blind. It makes Lady Justice inept.

Here let us mention the case of Amy Wroe Bechtel. She disappeared while jogging the Loop Road between Lander and South Pass on July 24th, 1997. Her car was found parked along the road and she has not been found since.

There have been other missing cases or unsolved murders of women in Wyoming. Yet Amy Bechtel is one that Eaton very well could have done. He lived within driving distance, near Shoshoni Wyoming. He is well versed in Fremont County and in Lander as well. His roots put him in Riverton as well. As it is reported in the Casper Star Tribune, Eaton was in the area where Bechtel disappeared.  The article was published in March of 2013.

“The brother of Dale Wayne Eaton told us this past summer that he was in the area at the time Amy disappeared,” Zerga said. “He told us that Eaton told family members that he was going fishing at some beaver ponds in the Wind Rivers at a spot where they always set up their elk camp, in Burnt Gulch. He was also specific as to the time when Eaton said he would be there.” Zerga said Eaton’s brother “swears up and down that he was camped up there when she disappeared.” Source: Archive.county10.com

He knew the Loop Road and had used it. Although his childhood was spent in Colorado, his ties are to Wyoming and the area in Fremont County. Simply put, Dale could have easily been at a spot on that road and seen Amy or even come across her in Lander and then followed her to the spot where she started jogging. Regarding Bechtel, this is a hunch. Let us believe that someday these murders will be solved. If Eaton has done any other murders let him confess to them. The dead maybe buried, but their spirits are restless and calling for justice.

As with many, if the justice system on earth fails to find true justice then the Lord God will bring justice when he comes and all murders will have their part in the lake that burneth with fire!

AMEN, So be it!

Isa_26:21  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain

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  1. Thanks Watchman…just when you think that you’ve heard it all, you can still plumb knew depths of depravity. This is very bizare! There are so many people frustrated by man’s “justice”. We often feel badly for the victims and their families. But you are right, TRUE justice will be dispensed by our Lord on His thrown, in His court. It is a fearful thing, to fall into the hands of an angry God. It’s starting to get cool for you there; all is well with us here. Peace and the love of our Lord for you and Tower…Amen.

    • Yes George justice is slow and these cases and killers are due justice. These cases were among a number of them in this area. With the latest information, it was time to bring things up to date.

      It is getting cooler and the end of summer; fall is here and we sure do not look forward to winter. Still we look for a good fall, these are some of the best times in Wyoming; the fall! shalom and peace to you and yours; Watchman n Tower