The Mysterious Murder of Lisa Kimmel - Unsolved Mysteries

An 18-year-old woman is found dead in the North Platte River in Wyoming.

Lisa Kimmel

Lisa had a personalized license plate

CASE DETAILS

On a little-used suspension bridge outside Casper, Wyoming, residents reported seeing unexplained lights in the early morning hours of March 26, 1988.  Under the cover of darkness, a killer brought his victim to the bridge.  After stabbing her repeatedly, he threw her into the chill waters of the North Platte River.  The victim was later identified as 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell from Billings, Montana.  She had been sexually assaulted, then killed in a manner that suggested some kind of bizarre torture.  Lisa was last seen alive on the night of March 25th, and police believe that she was killed a few hours later.  But what complicates the investigation is that many people claimed to have seen Lisa Marie Kimmell, or her car, during a week when police believe she was already dead.

Her body was found on the river bank

At the time of her murder, Lisa Marie Kimmel was living in Denver, Colorado.  On March 25th, she left town and headed for Cody, Wyoming, to visit her boyfriend.  According to her friend Ed Jaroch, Lisa’s car carried the spunky license plate, “LIL MISS”:

“The plan was that she was supposed to leave Denver… and get to Cody to see me, sometime late that evening. I talked to her about 4:30, and she… thought she’d be in about midnight or something like that.”

Weather conditions were good, so Lisa should have made the trip to Cody in eight or nine hours.  She was expected at her boyfriend’s house late Friday night.  But by Saturday morning, she still had not arrived.  Ed Jaroch frantically telephoned authorities in three different states. Later, Patrolman Alan Lesco of the Wyoming Highway Patrol reported that he stopped Lisa for speeding the night she disappeared:

“I was patrolling southbound on March 25th  and I noted a small car northbound at 88 MPH, according to my radar.  I turned around and pursued the car.  I stopped her, near Oren Junction.  She was well-kept, kind of person you’d like to have for a daughter.”

Who was driving Lisa’s car?

Lisa’s signature on the ticket verified her identity.  It would be the last confirmed sighting of Lisa Marie Kimmell.  As the week went on without any word from her daughter, Lisa’s mother began to worry:

“The outlook was looking a little grim, but even if that, even if the outcome wasn’t as we hoped, we still needed to find her.”

On April 2nd, one week after Lisa disappeared, Greg Bradford, a mechanic who was spending his Saturday fishing on the North Platte River, brought the search for Lisa Marie to a sad end:

“When I stepped up off the side of the bank, I looked over my shoulder and I saw the lady in the water.  And then I remember when we were driving up from Cheyenne, they said this young girl was missing from Montana.  So, I looked again, and said, ‘Oh my god, it must be her.’” 

Dale Wayne Eaton

Police searched the area where Lisa’s body was discovered.  On an old highway bridge, one quarter of a mile away, they found blood that was the same type as Lisa’s.  Because the bridge is so inaccessible, and so seldom used, police concluded that the murderer probably lived in the area. Based on the eyewitness accounts of unexplained activity on the bridge, they estimated that Lisa was murdered early Saturday morning, roughly five hours after she was stopped for speeding.  But soon, authorities began receiving information that complicated their investigation.  Numerous eyewitnesses were reporting that they had seen Lisa’s car.  According to Sheriff Ron Ketchum of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department, some even claimed they had seen Lisa herself:

“We’ve had over a thousand sightings of this vehicle.  A lot of them from law enforcement officers. And we were deluged with them at the point that we thought they had gone to Canada.  We had some sightings in Canada.”

One of the most reliable sightings occurred roughly ten hours after Lisa was supposedly killed.  Donna Kirkpatrick, the wife of a local county sheriff, reported that she had seen Lisa driving her car in the city of Buffalo, Wyoming:

“It was Saturday at noon, and I noticed a little black sports car had pulled out right in front of me. Then I noticed the license plate.  It was a Montana license plate with ‘little miss’ on it… And, at that point I decided that I needed to see if the car went with whoever was driving it.  I am absolutely positive there was a young gal driving it… there’s not a doubt in my mind.”

Another eyewitness reported seeing Lisa more than a day after police believe she was murdered.  But this sighting was in Casper, Wyoming—more than 100 miles from Buffalo.  Diana Houston was driving through Casper when a car with an out of state license plate caught her attention:

“It was Sunday afternoon, and I saw a Montana license plate on a vehicle.  And being from Montana, it caught my eye.  So I looked, and the license plate said, ‘little miss.’  I went by I saw somebody with blonde hair driving, and had on a yellow sweater.”

Lisa was last seen at 9:00 PM on Friday night and was reported missing by 9:00 AM Saturday morning.  Yet she was reportedly seen twice later that day and once on Sunday.  If Lisa was alive, why hadn’t she showed up at her boyfriend’s or her parents’ house?  And if she had been killed early Saturday morning as police suspect, who was driving the car with Lisa’s distinctive license plates?

Update:

Fourteen years after Lisa Marie Kimmell was murdered, the Wyoming DNA database matched an inmate named Dale Wayne Eaton to the crime.  When police searched Eaton’s property, they found Lisa’s car buried underground.  Lisa had been held there for six days.  Eaton was tried for murder and other charges. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to death.  The sightings of Lisa Marie Kimmell were never explained.  Lisa’s parents were awarded Dale Eaton’s property in a civil suit and burned the buildings to the ground.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

 

10 Comments

  1. thinkingoutloud

    i agree with Unsolved Viewer, how was she held for 6 days if she was dead within a couple of hours? Did the police even confirm she was actually killed on March 26th, a few hours after she was last seen?
    the timing doesn’t make sense.
    @Unsolved – can you confirm this again please?

    I’m sure Lisa’s car was used by other people after she had been killed until he buried her car in his property, i mean they only solved the case 14 years later. any other female close to Lisa’s description could have been driving it around that time.

    the other part that baffles me is how he got her in such a short time tframe

    Reply

  2. Unsolved Viewer

    I don’t understand. The story says that Lisa was last seen on March 25th and then Dale was seen disposing her on March 26th. How did he have her for 6 days then?

    Reply

  3. Tammie Pierce

    This man lived on my property and my husband helped him find work for a year 1992 – 1994 in Victor Mt he drank daily said some crazy things had a daughter with him that I took care of. Now it makes sense some of the things he said while he was drinking. He was pretty scary. He dated a woman that was scared of him also she told me some really scary stuff to and I saw her very abused by him. I’m thank full that he didn’t hurt my family now knowing he was a murdering animal. I have no idea why he spared my family. We never knew he was this evil person capable of doing these things. When he talked while drinking we thought it was the alcohol talking when he would start talking about the women he was with. My husband actually ended up fighting with him in a bar I’m so thank full to be alive after finding out what he has done to these victoms. My family and I could have easily been his victoms also. I’m not sure why he spared us? Maybe because I took care of his daughter and my husband helped him? He actually put him in touch with a church who set him up with a drywall job who knows how a monster thinks I dont know only Dale can answer that.

    Reply

  4. Tammie Pierce

    This man lived on my property and my husband helped him find work for a year 1992 – 1994 in Victor Mt he drank daily said some crazy things had a daughter with him that I took care of. Now ut makes sense some of the things he said while he was driving. He was pretty scary. He dated a woman that was scared of him also she told me some really scary stuff to and I saw her very abused by him. I’m thank full that be didn’t hurt my family now knowing he was a murdering animal. I have no idea why he spared my family.

    Reply

  5. Leslie Rudolph

    I’m watching ID now and it’s sad these predators can get off death row…this animal killed Lisa cause she just happened to come through that town and to stab her several times…

    Reply

  6. Dale Smith

    Dale Eaton has many victims. He is a predator that needs to be eradicated. It absolutely digusts me he is still alive. I went to school with his sons and cannot fathom what those boys had to endure or witness. We can put a rabid dog down for a minimal fee…..why do we the tax payers have to support this sick & twisted animal!

    Reply

  7. jolie

    whoever is responsible for taking the death penalty off this animal, should also be executed. Are you ignorant or something? This family is wanting this man off the face of this earth… and you take the death penalty off? Your as mentally ill as that sick animal who murdered her.

    Reply

  8. Joplin Gal

    I called into the show when this first aired. I was surprised they did not ask for my name. I saw the car, or at least the license plate in Joplin, MO. My friend and I were at 7th and Rangeline Road. My friends young niece has the middle name of “Montana.” We thought it was a cute plate and wanted to see who was driving the car. We tried to catch up but could not with the traffic. My friend started calling his niece “Lil Miss” after we saw that and he remembered it as well. I always wondered if they ever found the evil person who did this to the poor young girl.

    Reply

  9. Traveler

    I remember when this first aired on Unsolved Mysteries. I used to travel I80 to Colorado from Nebraska and once went to Wyoming. I remember license plates of Lil Miss only on a Blue 2 door small car; a Blonde girl about 5’3″ are so. This was at a gas station along the interstate. This has always stuck in my mind. There did not appear to be anybody else in the car.

    Reply

  10. Dillon Tolman

    Update:
    Just recently Dale Wayne Eaton, Wyomings only death row inmate, was removed from death row. His sentence will be looked over once again.

    Reply

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4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.