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Where I’ve Been, a Missing Man, and a Cult

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so afraid of being doxxed, if only so I could more specifically complain about the, um, challenges of working in the criminal justice system.

This would make it much easier to “Well, what happened was…” away the fact that I haven’t posted for three whole months

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Don’t get me wrong: I love not only my job, but also my blog. But, when my job consumes me, like a snake unhinging its jaw to swallow a frozen mouse whole, I struggle to dedicate my scant free time to producing true crime “content.” (Seriously, who the fuck decided to make “content” a thing?) It’s exhausting to identify, research, and write-up a case in one 24-hour period. I’m becoming increasingly aware that I’m more of a long-form kind of girl.

And, because I’m a long-form kind of girl, I feel obligated to say that I haven’t squandered the last three months. In fact, I’ve been balls-deep in my research into two cases.

Where is Dale Kelley?

Dale Kelley circa April 1981

One of the first cases covered on Pretty Death Seller was the 1981 of disappearance of Dale Eugene Kelley. The 21-year-old vanished on May 20, 1981, shortly after departing Sacramento en route to Los Angeles. While he never made it L.A., his orange 1976 Toyota Celica did mysteriously reappear in New Orleans. Kelley’s been missing for 37 years, and information about him and his disappearance is hard to come by.

Since I last wrote about Dale, I’ve begun corresponding with one of the missing man’s relatives. She’s helped bridge some of the informational gaps I previously lamented. I always hate it when a missing person’s biography is solely related to how they disappeared. It’s painful from a human perspective. But, honestly, it’s hard to present a case in narrative fashion when you’re working with a paragraph. And, I’m great with public records, but in this case, that’s a nearly useless skill, given that Dale Eugene Kelley was apparently an incredibly common name amongst white men in the late twentieth century. Without specific life details to weed out the red herrings, I’m essentially wading in a belching swamp of false leads.


That’s less of an issue now that I’m armed with the contours of Dale Kelley’s backstory, as well as what’s happened in the last 37 years. I don’t have much to report yet—I’m still running into more roadblocks than usual, but I also really haven’t had the time to swan dive into my research. (Thankfully, I’m four business days away from vacation.) Stay tuned for a thickened-up redesign of my original post on Dale.

The Religious Con-Man Turned Serial Killer

The second case that’s consumed me recently has been on my To-Write for a while. But, I’ve struggled to produce anything bloggable; the deeper I go into the research, the harder it becomes to summarize. Just like every rose has its thorn, every answer has at least two unanswered questions. I’m finally accepting that this cult-slash-serial killer-slash-missing persons case will necessitate a longer piece.

This is where I planned to include a brief look into this case. But, as I try to summarize this case, I realize that now is not the time. Even the abridged version is pushing 2000 words. So, instead, I’ll say this:

Stay tuned for a peek into story of DeVernon LeGrand.


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