Dec 22, 2020 I Brent Swancer

A Phantom Caller, a Strange Disappearance, and the Mysterious Death of Dorothy Scott

Dorothy Jane Scott was for the most part an unassuming 32-year-old single mother who lived in Stanton, California with her 4-year-old son, Shawn. She was mostly well-liked by her co-workers and had no known enemies, so it was somewhat surprising when in 1980 she began getting a series of prank calls that ran the range between creepy to downright terrifying. Sometimes the male caller posed as a secret admirer saying that he loved her, yet on many occasions there would just be breathing or curses from the other end of the line. On other occasions there were very dire messages and threats, such as one call in which a male voice casually said “When I get you alone, I will cut you up into bits so no one will ever find you.” In another case the voice said he had left a gift for her, after which she had found a dried rose pinned to the windshield of her car. In every case it was the same man’s voice, which she seemed to recognize but could not quite place. As scary as this all was, it was just written off as a prank caller, and so Dorothy never reported any of the incidents to the police, even as she grew steadily more frightened. It is still unclear what connection these initial calls have to the dark events that were about to unfold in her life, but unfold they would. And so would begin a strange odyssey of phantom callers, a mysterious disappearance, and a strange death that has never been solved.

On the evening of May 28, 1980, Dorothy had to attend a meeting at work, so she dropped Shawn of at her parents’ house in Anaheim and headed off in her white Toyota station wagon. The meeting mostly went without incident until one of Dorothy’s co-workers, a Conrad Bostron, suddenly fell ill and developed an ominous looking red streak on his arm. Dorothy offered to take him to the hospital along with another co-worker named Pam Head, where he was found to have suffered a bite from a black widow spider, and he was treated and released at around 11 PM. As Head and Bostron went to get his prescription medication, Dorothy went out to get the car but didn’t come back. According to Head, she then went out to see what was taking so long and saw Dorothy’s car go speeding away from the parking garage into the night.

dorthy jane
Dorothy Scott

At first it was assumed that something had happened to Dorothy’s son, causing her to rush off to his aid, some kind of emergency, but according to her parents the boy was fine and they hadn’t seen or heard from their daughter at all after dropping him off. When nothing was heard from her for several hours, Head then reported her missing, and a police search found her abandoned car on fire around 10 miles from the hospital. Luckily, no one was in the vehicle, but of Dorothy Scott there was no sign. What was going on here? No one knew, and she could not be found anywhere. None of her friends or acquaintances had seen her, and as the search continued the phantom caller would rear his head again.

It started with a call to Dorothy’s mother, Vera Scott, with a man on the other line simply saying, “Are you related to Dorothy Scott? I’ve got her,” before hanging up. The sinister calls would continue, almost always on Wednesday afternoons, and always saying that Dorothy had been kidnapped and then going on to say that he had killed her. Police installed a voice recorder and tried to track the calls, but the mysterious caller never stayed on long enough to be traced and the voice could not be identified. The phantom caller would call others as well, such as a call placed to the editor of the Santa Ana Register, during which the stranger said “She was my love. I caught her cheating with another man. She denied having someone else. I killed her.” This was despite the fact that her family and friends claimed that she had not been seeing anyone at the time.

This would go on for four years, and then in 1984 the fate of Dorothy would be known when her remains were found in a remote area along Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim Hills. The skeletal remains, along with a turquoise ring and watch, were found to have been there for around 2 years, although no cause of death could be determined. Upon the gruesome discovery, the Scott family received one last call that simply said, “Is Dorothy home?” After this the calls stopped altogether. At this time the phantom caller was thought to be definitely connected to the murder, as he knew details about the case that only the police knew and which had never been published, but there was no headway made in finding out who he actually was. All of Dorothy’s friends, co-workers, and family were questioned and not considered suspects. She had had no known enemies, no jilted exes, no problems with drugs or alcohol, nothing. There was no reason that could be found at all as to why anyone would have wanted her dead, so it was presumed that this had been some anonymous stalker who had become obsessed with her and it had all derailed into murder. Dorothy’s family speculated that it might have been a man named Mike Butler, whose sister had worked at the same company as her, but there was never any evidence to pursue him. In the end there have never been any suspects, no idea who the mysterious caller was, and we have no clue as to what happened to this poor woman or why. As there have never been any further leads, it will probably remain that way for some time to come, with the only people knowing what really happened being Scott herself and the voice on the other end of that line.

Brent Swancer
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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