Who Murdered Dorothy Jane Scott?

Dorothy Jane Scott was a beautiful thirty-two-year-old single mother living with her aunt in Stanton, California. Friends and family described the young churchgoing woman as kind, compassionate, and giving. A wonderful mother who preferred quiet nights at home with her four-year-old son over going out, dating, and socializing. Dorothy worked as a back-office secretary at Swinger’s Psych Shop and Custom John’s Head Shop. Both businesses were jointly owned and both were previously owned by Dorothy’s father who, after selling, continued to work there as a handyman. The shops were located in a 2400 sq. ft. space located at 517 S. Brookhurst Street, about a mile south of the Santa Freeway.

Sometime in 1980, Dorothy began receiving phone calls from an unidentified male whose voice she claimed to recognize but was unable to place. At times the caller was friendly and complimentary but also commented on her comings and goings throughout the day, as well as what she was wearing. During other calls, he was angry and menacing, threatening to physically harm or kill her. Understandably, these calls terrified Dorothy. She was obviously being stalked so she began taking self-defense classes and even considered buying a gun which she decided against for fear that her son might get hold of it. Stalking wasn’t taken very seriously by law enforcement in the 1980’s.

May 28, 1980

On this evening, Dorothy dropped her son off at her parent’s house in order to attend a staff meeting at the head shop. During this meeting, Dorothy noticed one of her coworkers, Conrad Bostron, looking ill. In addition, he had a large red streak on his arm that was becoming increasingly inflamed. It looked infected to Dorothy and she grew concerned. She and another coworker, Pam Head, offered to take him to nearby UCI Medical Center. While on their way, Dorothy made a pit stop to her parent’s home to check on her son and inform her parents of the situation.

It turned out that Conrad had been bitten by a black widow spider. Dorothy and Pam waited waited while while Conrad was treated, Dorothy leaving Pam’s sight was once to make a quick stop ti the restroom. After Conrad was released with his prescription, Dorothy offered to get her car and drive round front while Pam accompanied him to the pharmacy to have it filled. When he was done, Conrad and Pam walked outside, expecting to see Dorothy’s 1973 white Toyota station wagon waiting for them but her car was nowhere in sight. The task should have taken Dorothy only a few minutes. Confused and concerned, they waited patiently for her arrival. Suddenly, her car was barreling towards them at a high-speed, the headlights blinding them. The driver drove right by them, made a right turn out of the parking lot at full speed, then turned off the headlights. The duo wondered if there was an emergency involving Dorothy’s son and, in panic, momentarily forgot about them. They waited at the hospital for a couple of hours then decided it was painfully obvious that Dorothy wasn’t coming back for them. Pam phoned Dorothy’s parents, Vera and Jacob Scott, and asked if they’d seen her but they hadn’t seen her since she stopped by earlier. UCI police were notified but found no reason for alarm.

Several hours later, Dorothy’s car was found abandoned and set on fire in an alley about ten miles away in the city of Santa Ana. However, there was still no sign of Dorothy. Law enforcement began investigating and advised Jacob and Vera against speaking to any reporters. A week later, Dorothy’s mother, Vera, received a frightening phone call:

A male voice asked, “Are you related to Dorothy Scott?”

“Yes.” The nervous Vera replied.

“I’ve got her.” The male said, then hung up.

Dorothy’s father, Jacob, took action and contacted the Santa Ana Register who ran a story about Dorothy’s disappearance. The same day this piece came out the editor, Pat Riley, received a phone call as well. The male voice on the other end informed the editor: “I killed her. I killed Dorothy Scott. She was my love. I caught her cheating with another man.” In addition, the caller provided details that only the responsible party would know; information that was deliberately withheld from the public, like the fact that she’d been wearing a red scarf and the reason for her visit to the hospital. The man on the phone knew about the spider bite and said that Dorothy had called him from there. According to those who knew her best, Dorothy wasn’t dating anyone at the time, and, according to Pam, the only time Dorothy had been out of her sight, prior to getting her car, was when she used the restroom. No one had seen Dorothy make any phone calls. The father of Dorothy’s son, who lived in Missouri, was thoroughly investigated and questioned but had an airtight alibi and had been nowhere near California. Dorothy’s coworkers were questioned numerous times.

The Discovery

Approximately three months after her disappearance, a construction worker came across something startling along Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim. At first, he discovered the remains of a dog, but underneath the dog was a human head, pelvis, two thighs and an arm. A week later, authorities would confirm that these were the remains of Dorothy Scott.

Every Wednesday, for four years, Vera received calls from the menacing stranger. The Scotts had their phone tapped so that the calls were recorded but the perpetrator never stayed on the line long enough for them to be traced. The calls would come in while Vera was home alone and the caller would taunt her by asking, “Is Dorothy home?” Other times he would say he had her then hang up. The calls finally ceased one day in April 1984 when Jacob was home and answered the phone himself.


In a blog I read regarding this case, Crimeblogger1983 had the opportunity to speak with Dorothy’s son and was given a name of interest: Mike Butler. Dorothy’s son became aware of Mike Butler through some of her old friends in Missouri. Butler knew Dorothy through his sister who also worked at the shop and, according to those who knew Dorothy, he was obsessed with her. Butler passed away from health complications in 2014. He was a writer who was often published in Stars and Stripes News. After graduating from Fullerton Union High School in the early 1960’s, he attended California State University, majoring in English. At the age of twenty, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Butler lived around the Santiago Mountains and was known to be very unstable and involved in cult activities. Law enforcement was well-aware of him but did not have sufficient evidence to take action.

Crimblogger1983 and I have done a little research to figure out who Mike Butler’s sister is but will refrain from mentioning her name. She is, however, a well-known local singer in Orange County and Los Angeles. Dorothy’s son has made several unsuccessful attempts to speak with her. As Jacob was a familiar presence around the shop, Butler most likely crossed paths with him and knew he was Dorothy’s father.

My theory is this: I believe Mike Butler is involved. Whoever killed Dorothy followed her to the hospital and waited in the parking lot in the hopes that she might emerge by herself. Enraged that he saw her in the presence of a man (Conrad) he confronted her when she went outside to retrieve her car. His delusion led him to believe he had a relationship with her and by being in the presence of another man, she was being unfaithful to him. Frightened and confused, she explained that she brought a coworker to the hospital because of a spider bite, but things quickly escalated. Whether he disabled her, threw her into the vehicle and drove it away himself or threatened her to get behind the wheel and drive, only he would know. Pam and Conrad were unable to distinguish who was behind the wheel as they were blinded by the headlights.

Jacob and Vera Scott passed away in 1994 and 2002, respectively, without the opportunity to learn who took the life of their beloved daughter. This case has not only made an impact on me but I have come across many others, online, that are drawn to it and would love nothing more than to provide answers for the Dorothy’s family.



Brenda Thornlow is an author, animal advocate, and certified Reiki Master from New York. Her books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

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Brenda T

Brenda Thornlow is an author, animal advocate, and certified Reiki Master from New York. Her books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.