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Kevin M. Sullivan

How terrible it is when a child is snatched away to be sexually assaulted and murdered. You would think that after hearing enough stories, most parents would "get it", but many times they don't. It's like most of them walk around with their head in the clouds, believing such things could never happen to their kid. They don't understand that evil is out there, -- all the time-- just waiting to take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself. Remember the young girl in Florida, who was walking to her friends house, and had apparently taken a short-cut through a closed car wash? Well, it was all captured on their video camera: Here is this guy,who was also cutting through the car wash, he spots the young girl, makes a quick decision,(based on the opportunity presenting itself)takes the girl by the hand, leads her away, sexually assaults her, and then, of course, kills her.


Most parents DO 'get it', but there is a very thin line we have to tred at all times. I am always in a constant battle with my husband about how long we should let the leash go and at times I feel as if I only ever see danger lurking for my children.

I cannot protect them from everything. I can try to stand in the way of danger but I also have to teach them to be equiped as confident, trusting human beings. I do not want them to constantly fear their world but have to try and find a balance between being aware yet not afraid.

Parents make mistakes but most of us try as hard as we can to get it right and for sure when things go wrong we will be the ones to carry the burden of those mistakes for the rest of our lives.

Kevin M. Sullivan

Let me elaborate here a bit. In my work, I'm constantly covering past cases of missing and murdered children and adults. In dealing with murdered children, say, from the age of 2 to 14, most of these terrible things happen while under the care of a parent or another care giver; that is, the child was allowed to walk somewhere alone, or ride their bike alone, or in the case of the above story, a 12-year-old was allowed to venture off by herself. After encountering the men who abducted her,she was too terrified to speak up, even at Nuby's. At first the Mom didn't want her to go, but the kid insisted. That was a no,no!
I could go on, and on, and on, about unlocked car doors, unlocked front doors, High-risk area's, how could this happen in my neighborhood, who would want to harm someone so sweet,she was just playing twenty feet from my front door when she was taken, all the things I've heard directly from the families of victims. They never dreamed their kid could be snatched from their own yard on a beautiful day, when the rest of the family was only feet away. This is why I say, most parents don't "get it", because they don't.


We get it. Parenting involves balanced judgment -- do you keep such a short leash on children that they never mature, and grow up terrified and paranoid, or do you take the chance that the child will be abducted?

Tough choices -- parenthood isn't for the faint of heart.

But to say we don't "get it", because sometimes a parent makes the wrong call -- sorry, no. To say as you apparently do, that no child should ever be allowed to walk anywhere alone, indicates a rather unrealistic view of child-rearing.

Kevin M Sullivan

Well, lets try this again. First, who out there is taking things so personally? If you allow your young children to go places alone, I don't have a problem with it. Everyone needs to raise their kids the way they see fit. However, every time you allow your minor children to venture out alone, (especially very small kids, to middle teen years,) you're taking a chance. Perhaps a small chance, but a chance nevertheless. Now, when you are talking about females, as they grow older, their chances of becoming a victim rise, while the chances of the male decrease. Why is that, you ask? Well, predators are generally male, and their targets are female. So, no matter, Bob, how much you let you kids stroll alone, if they return home to you, its only because a predator didn't see the opportunity. Believe me, I wish the world was different: I wish it were peaches and cream all the time, but you may not know what I know; and then again, perhaps you do. In any event, the facts speak for themselves. P.S. A fourteen year old girl was snatched from an alley behind her home, in an inner-city neighborhood in Tacoma, WA on July 4. The family heard a scream, and the father ran outside to see an older model van leaving the scene. A follow-up story said the kids in the immediate area can't come out to play for awhile. One mother told her son it would be two weeks before he could return to the alley to play. Do you think she "gets it", Bob?


Do you get it that not all danger can be avoided, and being excessively cautious can turn children into paranoids? Therefore, a wise parent takes a middle course, while being fully conscious of the dangers in both directions.

Kevin M. Sullivan

True, not all danger can be avoided, but a certain kind can be avoided altogether: you're child will never be snatched while she's walking alone, if you don't let her walk alone. Now, this is twice you have used the word paranoid. We have a daughter. She is now married with her own family now, and she is perfectly normal. However, she will never let her daughter walk anywhere alone, -until she's much older, of course. Why does she do this? Because she can see the potential for harm for isolated children in the public arena. This is how she was raised, and guess what, she's well adjusted. There is safety in numbers, so as children grow older, going places together in small or large groups is quite normal. But to try and defend the position of letting small children venture out alone, especially young females,tells me you need a crash-course in homicide 101. We have a duty as parents to keep our children safe. Until they are older, it all begins and ends with us. I'm surprised I have to explain this to you, Bob.


I'll return to the Stephanie Barron comments -- Steve makes a lot more sense.

miss fish

I'm with Kevin here.
I've known plenty of women whose greatest fear growing up was "getting raped" or where I come from especially, and most insultingly, "getting raped by a ****** (word for African-American)"!
Thank God my parents didn't raise me that way.
However, the summer I was 12, my older sister had gone to work in town, and instead of getting to stay by myself, I had to go to a babysitter's! I was livid, and my mother never actually said anything that would make me live in fear; she just used her judgement to do the best thing, without making me paranoid in the process.
Shasta Groene wasn't out running around by herself, now was she??


I had never heard of Dee's case, thnx for bringing it to the forefront to be read.

Why didnt the store clerk who noticed the little girl's uncomfortableness atleast get a tag number?

I wish people would be MORE observant of their surroundings.

Robert A. Waters


I wondered the same thing. I guess the clerk figured it was a domestic situation (i.e., daughter who was crying because her father disciplined her) or some such thing. But I still wonder if that was a true sighting. It may have been, but eye-witnesses are wrong so often it's hard to say.

I've often wondered how someone who committed such an act could live with himself for 30 years. But I guess if you're a psychopath, it wouldn't affect your conscience.



I think what some of the commenters failed to realize is the fact that this crime happened in the 70's. The world was a different place back then - and news stories of child abductions were extremely rare.

Of course nowadays when I hear of parents/guardians allowing there young kids so much freedom. I have to wonder if they have been living with their heads in the sand.


We'll never forget you Dee.

I know this is over a year later, but I'm Dee's eldest sister. When this happened in 1976 (I don't even know if you were born) there wasn't all the presence nor awareness on child abduction. But having said this, my parents had never let us go by ourselves at this age. This was a first because of a conversation my sister, Dee, had with my Mother a few weeks earlier. If you yourself had ever seen the way the old JM Fields, State Hwy Patrol, and bowling alley was set up at the time, you would be asking yourself, "how could this happen?" yourself. They all shared the same parking lot and it certainly was not a MALL at the time!!! So don't judge others. In fact my folks were ahead of the times when there were ones who left children in the cars or let them walk into town with their friends, mine didn't!


I rememeber this case very well. I was born and raised in Ocala, and I was 11 years old at the time. I lived about a mile from the JM Fields. I used to ride my bike around the Sears shopping center across the street from the JM Fields. I would ride my bike to school, I would ride my bike all over the neighborhood.....until Dee went missing! Back then we, my brothers and sisters, would walk or ride our bikes everywhere. We never thought about harm, we knew not to talk to strangers and never dreamed anything like this could happen so close to our home. After Dee went missing we were NEVER allowed to ride our bikes or walk outside of Mom's eyesight. When we went to the store, we were never alone at anytime. This really opened my parents eyes to what could have been. It also opened my eyes, because even at the age of 11 I knew that this could have been me. Times were different and things like this just didn't least not in our sheltered world; but it did happen, and it had a major impact on my teen years and the way I raised my children.

Kevin M. Sullivan

Hi Dee's eldest sister--

I'm sorry it took this long to respond, but I missed your post, even though I check out this site almost daily.

First let me say that I'm not judging anyone. If it came off that way, then I'm sorry (you can see from some of the above posts I was taken to task by certain folks). It's just that, in my writing about crime, (two books now plus articles) coupled with all that I've read over the last 43 years, (I'm 53 now, and I read my first true crime book at the age of 10)and the fact someone I knew well was murdered, it's hard for me not to express myself especially when it comes to murder, and particularly a child's murder. But believe me, I grieve for you and your parents because of the loss of Dee. It's so terrible and completely beyond comprehension. But we live in a world that has, and always will have, the predator who gets his enjoyment in life by killing children, and if God would provide me with a button to push that would kill all of these monsters, I'd do it the moment he provided me with one. Of course, this ain't gonna happen, as they say, so it is up to us as parents to protect our minor children from harm.

Darlene Basham

Hi Dee's sister. I knew this family and the hell that they have been through is unbelievable. It is me.......Darlene and believe me that I think of you often. God be with you all.


Think about it. Some guy in his 50's, 60's, 70's or even 80's (assuming he's still living) is walking around, going on about his life, respected by friends and neighbors, holding grandkids...and hiding a terrible, dark secret. It's like this with any missing persons' case, from this long ago. Older, respected people -- whom acquaintances would innocently vouch for, quite strongly -- are child rapists and murderers. What it must be like, to live like that, perpetually. Somebody, somewhere, knows SOMETHING about this case, and most unsolved cases.

Scott McCutcheon

I went to school with Dorothy in 1976. I always wondered what happend to her and if she was safe some where and doing well. I always check in from time to time to see if any progress has been made in her where abouts.
She was a good friend and I always think about her and miss her.
I hope you are well and safe Dorothy!!
Sincerely, Scott McCutcheon


I met Lena about four years after Dee went missing. It broke my heart for her and I have prayed for years that she will get some closure.
We lost touch but I still think about her and Dee often. I found this because I was searching and hoping to find information that the case was solved. My niece was abducted and murdered after she got off the school bus, they did find her but the murderer was never found. I hope that one day we both will have answers and closure.I agree with Rose, I also was born and raised in Ocala and it was never the same after Dee went missing.

Greg Skeels

Do not know why I went to this site tonite but I am sobbing uncontrollably. I worked with Joe at Palmers Beverage in Ohio before he went to Ocala. He and Paul Palmer were family and I had been to dinner at the Schofields in Hilliard and Joe called me "Weed Hopper". I remember when Joe Jr. poured the paraffin wax down the drain. Wrong. My own youngest is now 20 but I remember Dee like it was yesterday. Love you Schofields, very much and have thought of you a million times. Weed Hopper...Greg.

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