I Spy A Murderer

Dear readers, this post was originally published on my other website Word Hub. I am the sole writer and owner of this post. I have transferred this post onto Sincerely, D for I will be writing about conspiracies and unsolved cases again.

I am not a criminal profiler, a psychologist, or work for the law. My theories are all deductions based on logic and reasoning.

Before proceeding to read the rest of this post please refer back to Where'd Dorothy Go? so there isn't any confusion while reading this.

I was in the middle of pouring myself a cup of coffee when a thought had occurred to me about the Dorothy Jane Scott murder. Most writers who study cold cases spend their time telling the story of the murder in their own words. They would recreate what happened through creative telling but they never really focus on the theories or the clues. For a few weeks I have been asking myself: How will you write this without it being like other blog posts or articles?

It was the warm bitterness of my coffee that jump started my mind and an explosion of ideas took flight behind my eyes. Yes, I felt like dramatizing that for the hell of it. I had an idea. Aside from being passionate about writing and having an interest in history I had a fascination with psychology - abnormal psychology to be exact.

I would study it on my freetime and the information I gathered I would apply it to my stories and to my characters. It is a good way to have a fresh perspective whenever I write something new. So, what if I applied psychology to the evidence that the Scott murderer left behind and built a profile?

Of course, I am far from being a criminal profiler or having any credibility but it beats the same old ‘lets just retell the events and leave it at that’ conversation. When it comes to this discussion you and I will be needing to glance back at the previous piece I wrote, Where’d Dorothy Go? Time is an essence and a tool that we will be using to our advantage. Why? Well, the timeline gives us an indication of what kind of a man our murderer was.

Our John Doe was a patient man and quite possibly a planner too. How have I come to know this? It is just a simple deduction. The phone calls began in the Spring of 1980, correct? Correct. He continued calling her all through the summer.

Now, if he was impatient why didn’t he abduct Dorothy sooner? Why didn’t he abduct her during May or July? Why August? Yes, he began to lose his control over the phone calls but he hadn’t made his move sooner.

He not only waited a few months but he also stalked Dorothy everyday. He gathered information on her daily routines and took the time to drink up every detail of her appearance. This man even knew her family’s routines that he picked the right time to plant a dead rose on her vehicle without being detected by any of them or by the neighbors. Mr. Doe was not only patient but he was observant.


Speaking of roses, why would he plant a dead red rose on her vehicle to begin with?

According to Dena Przybyla, “The color is warm and makes our minds think of our physical needs and our will to survive. It has a strong masculine energy and can often be linked to strength and power.”

Sums up our John Doe, but not quite. He could have planted any type of flower of any color or painted a white rose red. He didn’t. He chose a red rose because in his mind it represents love and it being red, well, represents his, “...physical needs.”

But, why a dead rose? Dead can represent the beginning of an old chapter or something that no longer has an emotional/sentimental attachment.

The dead rose is not only a psychological message but a symbol, a metaphor and a foreshadowing. Symbolically, his love for Dorothy is dangerous and deadly. Metaphorically, it represents her untimely death.

These are devices that writers adore applying to their creative work not because of the anticipation but because of how it sets up the climax of the story. In Mr. Doe’s case, he either left it for Dorothy as a confession of his feelings or he left it to be sadistic. Either way, the murderer thought it through. He understood why he placed it and he understood the message behind it.


“It has a strong masculine energy and can often be linked to strength and power,” Przybyla’s idea of what the color red represents creates a clarity when figuring out who the murderer is. It is a strange thing when your interests and routines represents who you are as a person.

For instance, I’m sure a lot of you have made a prank call to a family member or the local pizza restaurant down the street and came up with the most ridiculous jokes that you could muster. We have all done it. I have done it many times and I’ll admit that I have grown out of it, but it was fun.

But, what made it fun?

For me it was the person’s reaction. As a prankster I love seeing how my family and friends react when I scare them or say the most absurd things. It makes me laugh when they get scared because they make strange faces or their arms flail when they jumped back. But, for others its that sense of control. They feel as if they are a puppet master and when you feed them enough reaction they make a show out of it for their entertainment. That is exactly what Mr. Doe was doing to Dorothy.

These prank calls weren’t pranks. They were threats.

Each call was meant to get a reaction out of Dorothy and they worked for his pleasure. He watched from afar while she reacted in fear and he enjoyed it. He enjoyed knowing that she felt hopeless and afraid. These were things that he wasn’t able to feel on his own because he was incapable of doing so. So, in order to fill in the blank spots emotionally he had mimicked another person’s reactions and feelings. He lacked empathy for Dorothy.

I can’t say he’s a psychopath, but perhaps Mr. Doe had a traumatic experience which affected his ability to feel empathy. Which explains why he chose Dorothy. She had a great amount of empathy towards those around her.

Let’s change course here. Why couldn’t Dorothy place the caller’s voice? She recognized it, but she couldn’t remember where she heard it first. We don’t know how it sounded because we weren’t there to hear the man speak. But, if his voice was a little hard to recognize or place or even hear because it sounded muffled then maybe he had a beard. Sometimes beards can muffle a man’s words. I’d know. My psycho Uncle had a nasty beard and no one could ever make out a single word he’d say. So, maybe he had a beard.

May 28th, 1980

This is where two of my theories come in. My first theory is that Mr. Doe worked with Dorothy and was at the staff meeting the night of her disappearance. He knew that she took Conrad to the hospital and so he followed them. Two things happened when he was there with them.

One, he did approach Dorothy when she went to the restroom or she did call him. I doubt that she did. Or he didn’t approach her and watched her go into the restroom. He followed her to her vehicle and then abducted her. The reason he burned her car is to, of course, destroy any evidence. Nearby somewhere he had left his vehicle parked and took Dorothy to it after destroying hers. That tells me that he had planned the abduction that night.

Now, my second theory is that he followed her to the meeting and waited for her to leave it. When he spotted her leaving with her coworkers, especially Conrad, he became angry. He was angry because perhaps Conrad was one of the men that he had warned Dorothy to stay away from. When they arrived at the hospital he again hid his vehicle somewhere and then returned to the hospital.

Dorothy’s Toyota was discovered in an alley 10 miles from the hospital. Therefore, the murderer had to park somewhere between the alley and the hospital. Question is, how did he move Dorothy without being detected by any civilians? Was she unconscious or conscious during the transport?

The murderer claims that Dorothy and him spoke on the phone at the hospital. If this were true then maybe he threatened Dorothy’s son’s life? He threatened her and told her to leave and to park in that particular alley, maybe? So, when she did he waited for her with his own vehicle. For a man who harrasses a woman and her family via phone is, in my opinion, a coward and is afraid of being found out. Therefore, if he were planning on abducting her that night then he had to take her when she was unconscious. Unless, none of it was planned and he acted out of rage. Which leads us to Santa Ana Canyon Road.

Santa Ana Canyon

For a man who supposedly is in love with Dorothy why did he dispose her remains the way he did? He abducted her and murdered her the same night, and then abandoned her body in a canyon. To top that off it was mentioned in several blog posts and articles that the remains of a dog had been left on top of her own or buried beside her. In 1984, when her body was discovered, Police had found her watch and a turquoise ring that her mother had later claimed to be Dorothy’s. The watch had stopped at 12:30 A.M..

He perceived Dorothy as if she was a toy that he could just throw out. Which again refers back to one of my earlier deductions. Mr. Doe is in fact unempathetic. He sees people, particularly women, as objects. He objectifies them and then gets rid of them as if their lives mean absolutely nothing.

After the discovery of Dorothy’s remains the coroner was unable to give an explanation of how she had died. It was ruled as an unknown cause of death, along with the dog’s remains. They were unable to determine the species of the animal, but they did find that the bones had traces of fire damage due to a brush fire that had swept through the area a while back.

We have spent so much time thinking about who around Dorothy could have committed this heinous act that we haven’t seen the entire picture. We are too busy gazing at what is directly in front of us that we haven’t studied what could be lingering in the background. Think of this case as a game of I Spy.

I spy a dead read rose upon the hood of white Toyota station wagon.

I spy an unempathetic man who gains the upper hand over his victims through a phone call.

I spy a murderer who despises those who feel what he cannot.

I spy that there was a serial killer nearby who fits the description of our John Doe.

Joseph James DeAngelo, also known as the Golden State Serial Killer, was notably around during 1980-1986.

He was known to break into homes, tie up the husband and children, and then rape the women. He murdered, robbed and raped and to top it off he murdered several dogs by bludgeoning them to death. DeAngelo was an honorably discharged Vietnam Vet who returned home and became a police officer in California. He had been removed from the line of duty when he was caught shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer.

He committed these murders from Sacramento to Orange County and countless other places, but it is Orange County that stands out for me. The Orange County Register was the very paper that Jacob Scott contacted on behalf of his missing daughter.

I wasn’t aware of the Golden State Serial Killer until my Mom did her own digging for the Dorothy Scott case. She stumbled across articles and blogs revolving around the arrest and the murderous trail that Joseph DeAngelo had left behind. It would be nice to slap a label on the man’s forehead and condemn him for Dorothy’s murder but this wasn’t just a random hit. This was personal.

There was a man who was infatuated with a woman and it was temptation that drove him to take a life. He was a deeply disturbed and heiness man, whether he is DeAngelo or somebody else.

But, the fingers are pointed at another man. Mike Butler, an honorably discharged Vietnam Vet, worked as a mechanic right next door to Dorothy's work. His sister, a singer for an all-women’s band, worked with Dorothy. A majority of those who knew Dorothy and Mike were aware of Mike’s feelings toward Dorothy. He was supposedly obsessed with her. Some claimed that he had an interest in cults and was unstable.

It all makes perfect sense!

Mike was obsessed with Dorothy therefore he would have known her daily routines and who she spoke to. He had her number thanks to his sister and maybe it was his sister who told him that Dorothy was taking Conrad to the hospital.

Being that he had an interest in cults he killed a dog and Dorothy for a ritual. But, all of that is just too obvious. We have a motive, evidence, and a suspect but the man who actually did murder Dorothy was too smart for all of that.

No, I don’t believe that Mike Butler murdered Dorothy but I do believe that him being unstable made him perfect to be framed. Some part of me believes that the murderer is closer to Dorothy than what everyone suspected. What if he was family?

For further readings:



Works Cited

Hare, Breeanna. “What We Know about the Golden State Killer Case, One Year after a Suspect Was Arrested.” CNN, Cable News Network, 24 Apr. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/04/24/us/golden-state-killer-one-year-later/index.html.

Przybyla, Dena, et al. “Red Color Psychology - Red Meaning & Personality.” Color Psychology, 8 Dec. 2019, www.colorpsychology.org/red/.

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