Woman dies without justice

Mother, 74, never knew who killed daughter

August 16, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,Sun reporter

Donna Dustin's mother died this week, without knowing who killed her daughter 35 years ago.

Two days after an investigator with the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office spoke Aug. 9 at a reunion of Donna Dustin's Bowie High School Class of 1973 in hopes of garnering new leads in the cold case, Dolores Dustin was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat.

Rather than keep her attached to machines, something she had said she would not have wanted, the family decided to let her go, said her husband and Donna's father, Joe Dustin. She died Thursday at age 74 at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

"I look at it the other way," Mr. Dustin said yesterday, of his wife's inability to obtain justice in their daughter's killing. "She's going to be with her now."

Donna Dustin was 17 on Nov. 16, 1973, when she went on an ice cream parlor double date while her parents were at Disney World. According to court documents, she dropped her date off about 1:30 a.m. and said she "wanted to get more beer and continue partying." She was later seen at a Bowie party talking with two men and is believed to have left with them.

Her nude body was found beaten in a deserted gravel quarry in Anne Arundel County the next day, about three miles from her home. Investigators believe she was assaulted at more than one location and that there are multiple crime scenes.

Over the years, investigators have questioned more than 200 people. Sixteen men have provided DNA samples, and a few witnesses have been brought before a grand jury. But no one has been indicted.

Capt. David Waltemeyer, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, said yesterday that the reunion visit by investigator David Cordle yielded "no new information" but did provide "additional names of some people we might want to talk to that we haven't talked to."

"Our goal is to give family members the answers. And when one of them dies before you do that, it's certainly upsetting. But it doesn't deter us from continuing to pursue the case," Captain Waltemeyer said.

Mrs. Dustin was born in Washington in 1934. She lived for a short time in Philadelphia and was raised mostly in Cheverly, in Prince George's County. In 1954, she married Joe Dustin. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Allen Dustin II; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A housewife, she struggled after the death of her daughter. She displayed a large photo of her daughter in the family room, and she talked about her often.

"There was almost never a day she didn't cry," her husband said.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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