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A Sore Spot from Belmont, California

Updated on December 28, 2012

In July 1985 Charles Ng and Leonard Lake monopolized the media with numerous grisly murders in Calaveras County, California. Other things were going on in the area, too, perpetrated by 24-year-old Jon Scott Dunkle.

As a Youth

Dunkle was an oddball with few friends and kept to himself growing up. In some ways he was highly intelligent, as long as it didn’t tax his dyslexia. He was definitely an underachiever who was unable to organize tasks. When he had difficulty performing, he either became violently angry or resorted to tears. However, this seemingly sensitive young man admitted that he had thoughts of murder at the age of 12.

In 1977, a shy youth was introduced to the Davies family by their older son, Jimmy, at Belmont Baptist Church. He practically became a member of the family, allowed to come and go at will. In 1980, he received a white Honda civic from his father on Christmas, and couldn’t wait to show his second family. When Jimmy graduated and left home in 1980, Jon befriended their younger son, Mark. Then came his younger brother, John. Then John Davies disappeared from home in 1981, without even a pair of shoes, as did Jon Dunkle This was odd, as Dunkle practically lived with this family over a four year period. The local police cleared him from having anything to do with the disappearance.

The Crimes

In January of 1982, Dunkle slammed a 2 x 4 into the head of Monti Hansen, but he got away with it, even though it was reported to the police. It was treated as a simple fight.

In November of 1982, Steve Murphy, a diabetic, was struck by a car. He was then placed in the car and dumped over an embankment. He survived, as he was found crawling out of the area and rushed to the hospital for surgery.

In October 1984, young Lance Turner’s body was found. Dunkle was suspected, and the composite drawing was identified as him.

Sean Dannehl disappeared on the evening of July 2, 1985. He was found six days later in undergrowth, with his bicycle in the general area. The body was hard to recognize due to extreme heat, but there was a telltale sign that it was him, a cast on the left arm. There was also a 2 x 4 with a nail that was discovered to be the murder weapon, a trademark of John Dunkle.

The Investigation and Current Information

Finally, an undercover female police officer was used to pose as Dunkle’s girlfriend, and he committed a burglary while she was in the area. Two children lived in the household, and there was evidence that he had been in their bedrooms. Through the actions of a tail officer, harm to them had been avoided.

Several organizations for lost and exploited children came into being due to some of these cases. California was pushed hard by its citizenry to pass laws to protect children, and that finally happened, but well after the fact. Both Mr. and Mrs. Davies fought very hard for organizations. They were finally able to have a memorial service for their son, John, on October 18, 1986. Their son had been missing for five years.

Due to the work of Jon Dunkle’s cellmate, a good deal of information of discovered about the whereabouts, as well as the actual details of the deaths of these missing children. He made many admissions about these crimes, including maps of where John Davies remains lay.

Originally, Jon Dunkle received a death sentence, which was later commuted to life without the possibility of parole on the Dannehl case. Not only was he determined to psychologically be a psychopath, a question was brought up whether or not he was possibly afflicted with multiple personalities.

Additionally, in 2002, it was learned that Dunkle is on death row. He is seriously mentally ill and had a guardian appointed. He still remains a problem to the system, as California law states that a mentally ill criminal cannot be executed.


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Samet, I truly believe that you are correct in that valued assumption.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I can't comment on the aaucrccy or context of your quotes but I will remind you that the Republicans have tried to suppress the vote of college kids, and if the eight kids you mention are full time students in Wisconsin then that's where they would ordinarily vote, not at their parent's address in Minnesota. This kind of confusion is precisely what the GOP hopes for; the integrity problem is not with the students, it's with the Republicans like Senator Sheila Harsdorf who benefit greatly from the new voter ID law. Former Dem, if you honestly care about integrity in government you will vote for Shelly Moore on Aug 9.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      More than lost, KoffeeKlatch Gals, downright diabolical. It is a frightening dark side of how people can really be.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Wow. You can see the disintegration of this person as his viciousness increased. How sad - another lost soul.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Beckie, that's the keep you reading. Maybe I'll publish my collection in one book.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Extremely interesting and extremely disturbing. It makes you wonder who shares our society with us.

      Another hub that kept me enthralled.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You're welcome, Alicia. Thanks for reading. This is another reason that the government must step in and keep people away from our schools that don't belong there.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Globetrekkermel, all these people are scary. You just never know where they might turn up. Most of them prefer to kill strangers, very few harm the people that they know in the scheme of things.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting, scary and very sad story, Deb. I have never heard of this person before. Thank you for the information.

    • Globetrekkermel profile image


      7 years ago from CALIFORNIA

      I remember this case back then in the 80's.It was all over the paper as I live in Northern California .It was scary .

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jim. The sad thing is, this guy knew exactly what he was doing when he did it.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      7 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Another scary one. I think it is the law pretty much all over the US that mentally incompetents can't be executed, and will grudgingly agree that it is a good law.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Martin. I'm sure that the Belmont area made it newsworthy for a couple of years or so.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I vaguely recall this.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are so welcome. The frightening thing is that there really are so many.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Never heard of him, either! Thanks for the info!


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