Transcript: 202. The Stalking Murder of Dorothy Scott | USA

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“Okay, now, you’re going to come my way and when I get you alone, I’m going to cut you into bits so no one will ever find you.”
Imagine hearing that uttered on the other end of a phone line as you sit at your desk at work. Dorothy Scott heard that along with countless other frightening and threatening sentences while she was sitting at her desk at work, trying to do her job.
On a regular basis, the secretary was harassed with mysterious messages from an unknown caller claiming to know her, love her and sometimes, see her. She had no idea who was on the other end of the line.
His voice was familiar, but she couldn’t pick it out or fully recognize who it may have belonged to. In 1980, caller identification was far away from becoming a reality. She had no way of knowing where the calls were coming from.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t end with harassing phone calls.
One night, Dorothy drove to the hospital with two friends, one of which had a worrisome mark on his arm. After a typical evening in the ER consisting of waiting, talking, and reading magazines, the trio was finally ready to leave. But when Dorothy left to go get the car, she would never be seen again.
Her friends saw her car peel out of the hospital parking lot and speed down the street. Later that night, her car was found. It was engulfed in flames ten miles away from the hospital. And Dorothy Scott was nowhere to be seen.
Southern California, the land of palm trees, celebrities, and Disneyland. Being surrounded by both mountains, deserts, and ocean, makes it one of the most desirable places to live in the country.
Home to the California Angels baseball team and the Mighty Ducks hockey team. Locals can go to a Disney Park or Knott’s Berry Farm on any given weekend. Surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding are some of the most popular ways to cut loose and the weather is perfect and sunny more times than not.
Anaheim, California is located approximately one hour southeast of Los Angeles. In 1980, it had a population of just over 200,000 and was the picture-perfect place to raise a family, with its open space and pleasant climate.
Dorothy Scott lived in Stanton, a smaller town just west of Anaheim, with her four-year-old son Shawn. Dorothy was born April 23, 1948, and was the daughter of Jacob and Vera Scott, who lived in that same area. She was very close with her parents and lived with her aunt, Shanti Scott.
The Scotts was a church going family, devoted to their faith and committed to their family unit. They helped each other out, as demonstrated by Shanti allowing Dorothy and Shawn to live with her.
Dorothy worked as a secretary at two different shops. They were located next door to each other, which made it easy for the single mother to pick up both of her shifts at the joining shops. 
Swingers Psych Shop, located on 517 S Brookhurst Street, was a psychedelic paraphernalia store that sold items such as lava lamps, love beads, posters, and various other popular pieces from the 60s and 70s hippie heydays.
Her other workplace, Custom John’s, was a head shop, similar to Swingers in selling all kinds of drug-related knickknacks. Despite working at such colourful establishments, Dorothy, according to friends and family, never partook in the same lifestyle as the customers who visited her work.
She was a devout Christian and regularly went to church with her family. She didn’t do any drugs and never drank alcohol. One friend was adamant that she wouldn’t have even known what cocaine looked like if she saw it.
The single mother spent all of her time either working, going to church, or being with her son. She wasn’t hanging out with friends in clubs or frequenting bars. She didn’t have a known boyfriend and wasn’t seeing anyone, at least according to family and friends. One friend described her as being as “dull as a phone book.”
While she was at work, her parents, Jacob and Vera took care of her son. They only lived a mile away from where Dorothy worked so it was easy for her to drop him off or stop by and check on him. She had a routine. She was able to provide for her son and give him a life surrounded by people she loved and trusted. Her life was good.
In the months leading up to her disappearance, Dorothy was receiving concerning phone calls at work. These calls came from an unknown person who would sometimes confess his love for her, and other times threaten her with violence.
He claimed to be following her wherever she went and told her detailed descriptions of her daily activities. His voice sounded familiar to Dorothy. He didn’t seem to be making an attempt to disguise it, making him a callous predator exerting the power of intimidation over his victim.
According to Dorothy’s mother Vera, the man on the other end of the line threatened Dorothy, saying:
“Okay, now, you’re going to come my way and when I get you alone, I’m going to cut you into bits so no one will ever find you.”
Dorothy was deeply disturbed by this threat. She thought about buying a handgun to protect herself, but never made the purchase. She signed up for a self-defense class and started karate lessons one week before she disappeared.
She was on edge and worried about the person behind these mysterious and threatening phone calls. In 1980, caller I.D. wasn’t around and therefore she really had no clue where these calls were coming from. They could have been coming from inside her workplace, from across town, or even from somewhere across the country.
However, Dorothy told her mother a chilling account surrounding one of the many phone calls. One day the caller told her to go outside because he had something for her. When she tentatively obliged, she found a single dead rose was placed on her windshield.
Perhaps, this mystery man wasn’t far away, but lurking in the shadows right behind her. Was this man someone she knew? Was this someone her family would have known?
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Dorothy Scott had a rather uneventful life, according to those who knew her. Friends lovingly described her as boring. For all intents and purposes her life was utterly uneventful. So, receiving a string of threatening and mysterious phone calls seemed extra ordinary.
But this isn’t the type of action anyone wants in their life. Dorothy stuck to a routine, making her a potentially easy target for a stalker. They could rely on her sitting at her desk, answering her phone, and then driving right home at the end of the day. Her mundaneness might have been one of her greatest downfalls, sadly.
She was a loving mother who devoted her life to taking care of her son. She worked two jobs in order to support him. Why would anyone want to harm her? What prompts someone to make threatening calls? Especially since she was known for being kind and giving.
May 27, 1980, on her last day at work, a typical Tuesday, she demonstrated her kindness. While attending a work meeting with several of her co-workers, she noticed one of her colleagues looking uncomfortable.
They all noticed a large red mark on his arm and began to grow concerned. Pam Head, fellow co-worker, and Dorothy decided to take Conrad Bostron, the man with the growing red blotch, to the hospital.
On their way, they stopped by Dorothy’s parents’ house so she could check on Shawn and tell her parents that she was heading to the hospital to help Conrad. For some reason, Dorothy decided to change a piece of her wardrobe.
She was previously wearing a black scarf all day at work, but her mother urged her to wear a red scarf for the rest of the evening.
Then Dorothy, Pam and Conrad drove to the UC Irvine Medical Center Emergency Room in Dorothy’s car. This would be the last time Dorothy’s parents and son would ever see her.
At the hospital, Conrad was diagnosed with a black widow spider bite. Dorothy and Pam patiently waited in the waiting room. They chatted, paged through waiting room magazines, and watched television.
According to Pam Dorothy never left the waiting room, except to go to the bathroom one time. Dorothy was never seen talking on the phone or speaking with anybody at the hospital. Nothing in her behaviour hinted that anything was wrong.
At 11pm, Conrad was finally discharged and Dorothy offered to bring the car around to the front to pick up her friends. On her way out, she used the restroom again, and then headed to the car as Conrad and Pam waited in line at the medication window.
They filled Conrad’s medication and continued to wait for Dorothy to pull up to the front. After another few minutes, the pair decided to walk outside and wait for her there. As they approached the parking lot, a set of high beams rushed towards them.
They recognised the vehicle as Dorothy’s but to their surprise, the car quickly sped by them and abruptly left the parking lot. Neither Conrad nor Pam was able to see who was driving the car, but they identified the vehicle as Dorothy’s Toyota station wagon.
Pam said she and Conrad waved their hands to get the attention of the driver. As she told investigators: “There was no way she could have missed us. The car made a right. We started running after it and it sped up.”
The car drove straight toward them before making a sharp turn out of the parking lot and darting down the street. Conrad and Pam were left puzzled by the actions of their friend. It was uncharacteristic of her to leave without them or to not notify them that she needed to leave.
They thought she must have had an emergency come up and didn’t have the time to tell her friends. Perhaps she didn’t see them waiting outside the hospital when she sped by. They both knew Dorothy was a reliable person, so they assumed that she must have needed to deal with an emergency, most likely involving her son.
Conrad and Pam waited at the hospital another two hours, hoping Dorothy would eventually return after tending to her emergency. But she never came back. Starting to get worried, they called Dorothy’s parents, Jacob and Vera, and alerted the UCI Police that Dorothy was missing.
For the next several hours, Dorothy’s friends and family were left completely bewildered about where Dorothy could have possibly gone. Her son was at home, she wouldn’t have just left him. She didn’t mention anything to her mother when they stopped by before the hospital. Where could she have gone to?
And at 4:30 am that morning, her family was hit with devastating news. Dorothy’s white 1973 Toyota station wagon was found burning on Townsend Street in Santa Ana, approximately ten miles from where she was last seen. Fortunately, Dorothy was not in the car, and there was still no sign of her. But her family knew she was in trouble.
Since no body was found at the scene of the car burning, the case appeared to be an abduction and was investigated as such.
A week after Dorothy was last seen, the phone rang at Jacob and Vera’s house. Vera picked it up. On the other end of the line a voice asked, “Are you related to Dorothy Scott.?” Vera responded “Yes.” The caller then said, “I’ve got her,” before promptly hanging up.  She immediately called the police.
They told the worried couple not to release any details about Dorothy’s disappearance or call the media. This was an attempt to gain the upper hand, should the abductor reach out again.
The hope was that he would call to make a ransom or maybe even release her somewhere if they were lucky. They also hoped the silence would help them steer clear of any false confessions.
But a week went by, and no progress was made. Dorothy was still nowhere to be found. The police looked into sex offenders in the area but came up short, finding no concrete leads.
Staying silent wasn’t easy, especially when your daughter is missing, and no one knew about it. What if someone saw her but didn’t know she was missing? The instinct in a missing person’s case is to put up flyers, broadcast it on radio, TV, shout it from mountain tops…
Her father couldn’t simply sit back and wait to see if the police’s plan would work, every moment without knowing where his daughter was, was torture.
Unable to remain silent, a week after that phone call, Jacob contacted the Santa Ana Orange County Register out of desperation. The Register ran a story about Dorothy’s case on June 12, 1980.
The article omitted key details regarding Dorothy’s wardrobe and whereabouts the night she went missing. There was no mention of her being at UCI Medical Center with two co-workers or the nature of the visit.
The same day the story ran, Pat Riley, the managing editor of the Register, received a call. The anonymous caller was a man claiming to be the person who had kidnapped and killed Dorothy Scott.
According to Riley: “The caller said he met Miss Scott at the medical center and asked her about another man. He said she denied being involved with any other man, but he insisted she was. He indicated to Riley that he had pictures to prove his claim.”
The man reportedly said that Dorothy was his love. But that he had killed her. The caller explained why, in a matter-of-fact manner: “I caught her cheating with another man. She denied having someone else. I killed her.”
The caller somehow knew details about Dorothy’s last night. He knew about Conrad’s spider bite and that Dorothy was wearing a red scarf. Both of those clues would indicate that the caller saw Dorothy sometime after her stopping by her parents’ house on the way to the hospital.
Neither of those details were published in the paper, which made the managing editor of the paper and Dorothy’s family believe that the caller was not bluffing.
The Los Angeles Times featured a story on Dorothy’s case on June 14, 1980, three days after the Santa Ana Orange County Register received that call. According to that article the man on the phone claimed to be a betrayed lover who killed her.  
“Police now believe that she may be dead.” …the article stated, expressing the bleak outlook on the single mother’s fate.
According to the caller, he spoke with Dorothy while she was at the hospital. However, Pam insists she never saw Dorothy talk on the phone that night, nor did she speak to anyone in person. They were together in that waiting room all evening.
Dorothy went to the bathroom one time but did not behave in a way that would indicate she was hiding anything, or that she was upset, either before going to the bathroom or after. If she received a phone call while at the hospital, it would have had to have been on a pay phone.
Of course, cell phones did not exist at this time and so in order to take a call at a location, the caller needed to know that that person was there. Did someone know she was at the hospital? Or was the kidnapper inside the hospital watching Pam and Dorothy as they waited for their friend?
Jacob Scott said that his daughter “worked from morning to evening,” and that while Dorothy may have gone on an occasional date, she had no regular boyfriend that the family was aware of.
Co-workers and friends confirm that Dorothy was a hardworking homebody who divided her time primarily between work and caring for her son. Her family is adamant that there was no love interest in Dorothy’s life at the time of her disappearance. But there is no way of knowing for sure.
She did have relationships in her past, most notably with the father of her child. Dennis Terry and Dorothy dated in the 70s and they had a son together in 1976.
But Dennis Terry no longer lived in the same area as Dorothy. He was living across the country in Missouri at the time of her disappearance and was quickly ruled out as the perpetrator due to the broad distance between him and the events of the crime.
He had visited Dorothy and their son, Shawn a few days before she disappeared. He called her from Missouri on the same day she went missing. Dorothy’s father recalled calling Dennis later that evening and him answering it, indicating that he was all the way back home in Missouri at the time of the crime. There was no connection.
Her co-workers were questioned by the police, but no answers came to fruition. She wasn’t particularly close to many people and there seemed to be no motivation for anyone in her life to go to such extreme lengths. It would be impossible to question every customer that came into either of the shops where she worked.
But even if they did… Dorothy wasn’t front and center at work. She worked the back desk and was rarely seen by customers. Most people who ventured into The Swinger’s Psych Shop or Custom John’s Head Shop had no idea Dorothy was even sitting at her desk in the back.
She wasn’t the face of either shop, and she was not in contact with customers on a daily basis. This narrowed the list of suspects down for police. But it also made the case more mysterious. There wasn’t a lot of people to turn to for investigation.
Chief Michael Michell of the UCI police told the Los Angeles Times that he had little hope Dorothy was still alive. Referring to Jacob and Vera, he said
“They are probably reaching the point that we have reached – that we probably won’t find her alive… There is always a glimmer of hope, but it isn’t very bright.”
According to one source, Jacob and Vera consulted a psychic to help them find their daughter. After that psychic failed to produce any advancement, they consulted another one. The police even consulted their own psychic during the investigation, looking for any assistance in finding a break in the case.
Jacob and Vera tried to stay strong amongst the devastation. Scott tearfully told a newspaper:
“This far down the road… If we can just get the body, if that’s what he’s done to her (that is if he killed her) – maybe we could go on and live a normal life.”
Jacob hoped to appeal to the monster who took his daughter.
“I don’t know what the guy wants. If he really ever had any love or compassion for her, it just seems the decent thing to do – to give her body to us so she can have a Christian burial. That’s not too much to ask, is it?”
Of course, trying to appeal to a person who felt possessive enough of another human being to abduct and murder them seems futile. Whoever took Dorothy, based on the information the culprit gave police, felt as if Dorothy betrayed him.
He cited her being with another man and essentially breaking his heart. And his answer to her supposed actions is to retaliate by taking her life. There is no evidence suggesting Dorothy was in a relationship at all. The connection between Dorothy and her abductor was completely one sided.
What happened that night? Where was Dorothy Scott?
Every Wednesday afternoon, like a sick joke, Vera Scott received phone calls at her home.  Jacob was at work, but Vera was home being a victim to these devastating reminders of her daughter’s unsolved disappearance. All of the calls came from the same man, presumably the same man who called the local reporter.
His voice was soft-spoken and hidden underneath a disguise. Interestingly, Dorothy never described her mysterious caller as having a disguised voice. Why would he differentiate between Dorothy and Vera? Is it because Vera knew him, and he didn’t want her to recognise his voice? This of course, is mere speculation, but it certainly is a curious point.
He would constantly ask Vera if Dorothy was home, knowing full well that she would never be home again. He sometimes told Vera that he killed her daughter. For four long years the Scott’s were harassed and plagued by these awful phone calls.
Police planted a recording device in the Scott house and recorded all of the conversations between Vera and the suspected abductor. But the voice altering device meant that no one recognised the caller’s voice.
Police were unable to trace the calls to a specific location because they were so short and the technology wasn’t within reach during this time. In the 1960s, caller ID was utilized in telecommunications and was tested in the 1970s.
By the late 1980s, caller ID had only just been made public and various communication companies provided their customers with caller ID for LAN lines. At the time Dorothy and then her mother Vera were receiving calls, caller ID wasn’t a realistic technology for everyday citizens.
A New York Times article dated February 11, 1990 showcases the controversy of Caller ID. Headlined with “Caller ID Stirs Debate on Phone Privacy” the article quotes director of media relations for New Jersey Bell, Peter J. Vertimigilia, saying,
“We perceive it as the best technology for thwarting obscene and threatening and harassing phone calls.”
He further emphasizes the use of the technology to allow reports of intrusive or threatening callers to be called in to police. If Dorothy had caller ID on her work phone or if Jacob and Vera Scot had caller ID for their LAN line, would the police have been able to find out who was making the calls?
The last call was made in April of 1984. Two months later, human remains were found on Santa Ana Canyon Road, not too far from where she was last seen. A Macco Construction Company foreman named Jesse Loza found a skeleton around 7:15 in the morning on August 6, 1984.
He and his crew were preparing to lay pipe for Pac Bell telephone lines. The remains were only partially submerged in dirt and buried beneath dog bones. The remains included a skull, pelvis, arm, and two thigh bones. It was an incomplete skeleton.
At first, the coroner Richard Rodriguez thought that a woman must have been walking her dog when something terrible happened to them both. The cause of death was deemed ‘questionable” until they concluded no relation between the human bones and the dog bones.
With the skeletal remains, police found a turquoise ring and a watch. The watch, eerily enough, stopped at 12:30 am May 29th 1980, the night Dorothy disappeared. Dorothy’s mother Vera identified the turquoise ring as her daughters and within a week, dental records would conclude that the human remains did in fact belong to 32-year-old Dorothy Scott.
A devastating blow for her family and friends. Any hope that Dorothy was still alive was swiftly extinguished. Despite the years, her family held on to the idea that she might still have been alive. After finding her remains, the only comfort they were given was the fact that they had the opportunity to lay her to rest.
Experts were unable to determine the exact cause of her death. The bones were charred which did offer a small clue. The charring on the bones indicated that they had been there for at least two years. In 1982, a fire swept through the area. The bones were apparently there at the time, as indicated by the char marks.
The respite from the calls didn’t last long. Dorothy’s brother Allen was at his parents’ house when they were dealing with funeral arrangements for their daughter. While at home, there were two phone calls – both from the murderer, again asking tauntingly if Dorothy was home.
On August 22, 1984, Dorothy’s family held a memorial service for her at Forest Lawn, where she was laid to rest. Dorothy’s other brother Jim gave a beautiful eulogy: “To me, she exemplified the word, give. She’d just give and give and give, no matter what it cost her … she spent her last hours giving and being concerned about others.”
On her last day, she exemplified that giving spirit by helping out a friend by taking him to the hospital and dutifully waiting while he was being treated.
While one cannot possibly know everything that’s going on in someone’s life, Dorothy’s routine did not allow for much time alone. Her parents claimed that their daughter wasn’t dating anybody or never went out, however, it is hard to take that as the definitive truth.
People keep secrets and Dorothy may have had some, even from her parents. She might have had a relationship that went bad, and she was afraid to talk about it. She might have met someone who became obsessed with her, but could have been too embarrassed to talk to people about it.
He may have been waiting for her in the parking lot and when she arrived at her car, he knocked her unconscious or forced her into the back seat of the car, driving away and passing her two friends.
They didn’t see who was driving and most likely, it was the killer. Was she already dead? Was she tied up in the back seat? Was she drugged? Did she leave willingly? Was she lied to?
Perhaps, she thought her son was in danger, so she left. There could have been a note on the car threatening a member of her family, causing her to leave abruptly. But maybe she was stopped. Or he was hiding in the back seat as she quickly left but made himself known along the way. Her father Jacob Scott commented:
"Dorothy would never leave anybody like that at the hospital. If she took them there, she would not leave them. She would take them back even if she had something to do, she would take them back...or take them with her. She wouldn’t just up and leave them, that wasn’t her way. She was the most caring person I’ve ever known."
There are hundreds of possibilities, which makes it all the more frustrating that we will never know the answers to what happened that night. What small events could have changed the course of Dorothy’s life? Was the killer hiding in plane site? Why did they decide to kidnap and murder her when he did? Why that night? And why when she was with two of her friends?
Although the investigation provided some closure when Dorothy’s body was found in 1984, it still remains unsolved. Her murderer has never been caught and his identity has never been verified. The police and Scott family never really had any decent suspects. Every lead they followed turned up empty. Investigators do believe in the connection between the caller and the killer, but there is no way to definitively prove that they are the same person.
Jacob Scott died in 1994 on Dorothy’s birthday. Vera died eight years later in 2002. They both died never knowing what happened to their daughter. Plagued by horrific phone calls and unanswered questions, the Scott family mourned the death of a daughter, sister, mother, and friend.
According to one source, Dorothy’s son Shawn gave an interview in 2017 shedding a little more light on a possible suspect. He named Mike Butler, the brother of one of Dorothy’s co-workers.
Those that knew both Dorothy and Mike claimed he had an obsession with her. Shawn only became aware of Mike years later through one of his mother’s friends in Missouri. Mike Butler was known to be unstable and even involved in cult activities.
Some people theorize that the dog bones buried over Dorothy could be connected to animal sacrifice or the occult, but that seems to be a bit of a stretch.
Dorothy’s father Jacob was the previous owner of one of the shops where she worked, and he was familiar with the place and he knew most of the people who worked in the shop.
If Mike came in the shop to visit his sister and spend time with Dorothy and other people in the shop, perhaps Jacob knew Mike. And maybe that was the reason the caller disguised his voice when he spoke with Vera. Maybe she did know him.
Law enforcement knew of him during the time of their investigation but were unable to gather any evidence that connected him to the crime. There is no indication that his name was brought up again when Dorothy’s remains were found.
Mike passed away in 2014. Could he have been involved? Another mystery that will most likely remained unsolved.
At this point, a majority of the theories that people have gathered over the years are only speculation. The truth seems almost impossible to uncover save for substantial physical evidence of the murder.
Dorothy Scot was only 32 years old. Her four-year-old son was forced to grow up without his devoted and loving mother. Vera didn’t change their home phone number in hopes that her daughter’s abductor would call and allow them to speak to her.
Jacob and Vera Scott remained fairly quiet about their daughter. They didn’t conduct interviews or go on national television in the aftermath of their tragedy. They tried to move on after Dorothy’s body was found and they were able to say goodbye to their daughter who was gone far too soon. As Jacob Scott said:“We’ve buried the grief. Now we’re going to start living like people ought to.”
There isn’t much information about the Scott family. Despite living with extraordinary circumstances and being thrust into the southern California spotlight for that brief period in 1980 and again in 1984, they lived a quiet life. Like their daughter, known for being quiet and introverted, they seemingly embodied her sprit until the end of their lives.
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