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How To Solve A Crime: The Molly Dattilo Case #findmolly


I am a true crime junkie. This is a fact. I am obsessed with missing persons and trying to find the clues that police and detectives have missed. I position myself as a makeshift FBI agent who often gets caught up in the rabbit hole of crime solving. The deranged hearts of fictional characters like Hanibal Lector to the real-life criminal masterminds like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and The Unabomber hold an intrepid space in my legal brain.


In 1980-something, my tv viewing was subjugated to 5 networks.

Millennials, I hope you feel my pain.

We were served broadcasts that consisted of network-produced shows that left us addicted to The Cosbys, The Keatons, and The Conners. We were introduced to the rebel network Fox (sidebar: it is not the conservative Fox Network we see today). The Fox network gave us salty line-ups including the iconic show The Simpsons and irreverent programming like Married With Children. Amidst the programming coo that was 1980s Fox, I had my first dalliance with true crime.


The Fox Network rolled out a superstar. John Walsh, the host of America's Most Wanted. To date, the show has facilitated the capture of over 1000 fugitives. Walsh, whose story began with the disappearance and murder of his 6-year-old son, Adam. Adam Walsh, son of John and Revé Walsh was abducted on July 27, 1981, when he was six years old. What was so terrifying about this story was that it could have happened to anyone, in a department store, when Revé had been absent for only a moment. After searching the area, no one could locate the missing child. Adam was murdered; his severed head was found two weeks later, but his body was never recovered.





In 2004, the crime junkie in me hit close to home. My best friend in college was met with a nightmare. My friend, Keri Dattilo, was granted the unwanted position of championing her cousin Molly Dattilo's return. Along with Molly's family, they rang alarm bells and garnered media attention when the police ignored their pleas.


According to an article from the website UNCOVERED was a wonderfully sweet young woman who had a promising future ahead of her.


The Story of Molly's disappearance:

When Molly went missing

The day Molly disappeared—July 6, 2004—she attended classes and did some shopping before walking to a Wendy’s near her brother’s apartment around 7:00 pm to drop off a job application. On her way there, she ran into a friend of her brother’s, who spoke briefly with her. This friend would later recall that Molly had her cell phone with her at the time they spoke.


Later that evening, Molly attended a party at the Westlake Apartments complex, where she met a man named John E. Shelton. At some point, Molly and John left the party to take a rowboat out on the complex’s retention pond, then ate dinner at a nearby Taco Bell. Around 11:00 pm, they ended up at a Thornton’s gas station about 3 miles from the Taco Bell—but in the opposite direction of the Westlake Apartments.