Prosecutor: Decades-old Oregon cold case solved; killer died in prison in 2002
By The Associated Press
Gerald Dunalp, 1972 mugshot, and a sketch of the suspect sought in the killing of Janie Landers. (Photos released by Marion County District Attorney's Office)
Janie Landers, left, and her father Richard, Detective Steve Hinkle, and sister Joyce presented with a memorial brick from Fairview presented by Oregon State Police.
MARION COUNTY, OR (AP/KPTV) -
A Marion County prosecutor says investigators have solved the murder of an 18-year-old woman who was stabbed to death nearly 40 years ago.
Deputy district attorney Paige Clarkson says Janie Landers was a patient at the Fairview Training Center, a now-closed Salem facility for people with developmental disabilities. She disappeared March 9, 1979, and her body was found five days later.
Oregon State Police reopened the case in 2015 at the request of the victim's sister. Clarkson says blood on Janie's clothing contained the DNA of Gerald Dunlap, a convicted rapist who died in prison in 2002.
Clarkson says Dunlap worked at Fairview as a laundry worker until he was fired in 1983 for inappropriate behavior toward women.
Detectives noticed old photos of Dunlap closely resembled a composite sketch done at the time. Dunlap's ex-wife also confirmed the vehicle Dunlap drove in 1979 matched one seen by witnesses when Janie vanished.
"This case would never have been solved were it not for the dedicated work of the Oregon State Police Detectives, the persistence of a little sister who never forgot for nearly four decades, and the courage of a prior victim to report her abuser and withstand the rigors of a trial. It is because of her that Dunlap could never hurt anyone again and, most importantly for this case, his DNA was on file," according to Clarkson.
On Tuesday, Detective Steve Hinkle returned Janie's few belongings - two small hair ties and an earring - to her family.
"I'm really grateful and relieved that it's done. She can be totally at peace now because her case is solved," said Janie's sister Joyce.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation contributed to this report.