Barbara was 21 years old when she was last known to be alive. On January 17, 1985, Barbara’s sister-in-law happened to see her as they were both walking along Main Street in Marion, Virginia. It was rather obvious that she was upset, as she was crying. At the time her sister-in-law wasn’t sure what was wrong, but later she found out that Barbara was supposed to report to jail that day as the local police were putting pressure on her to inform on her friends, and she didn’t want to. I’m not sure if this was out of loyalty or fear, or maybe both…
Later that day she was seen in a local bar called ‘Club Cafe’ which was also on Main Street in Marion. (I’m going out on a limb here and saying it’s long since been shut down since there’s absolutely no record of it when you try to search online.) Other patrons that were there at that time said that she appeared to be “doped up” and left with four other women, who subsequently returned without her.
That evening, her parents grew concerned and went looking for her, with no luck. She left behind a small child at the time of her disappearance.
In 1995 her boyfriend Roger Dale Dunford was arrested and charged with her murder, but the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision.
The entire time I researched what bits of information I could locate about this case, I kept coming up with questions. I want to know if the ladies who were seen with Barbara were ever identified and questioned? What did they say about her whereabouts? How did the circumstances of her disappearance go from being last seen with four women to LE charging her boyfriend with her murder? I’m assuming there was probably some form of questioning performed that brought them to that conclusion. Perhaps the women delivered her to Dunford the night in question, maybe he was aware of the attempts the police were making at have her become an informant? I mean something was said or uncovered that lead them in that direction and given his substantial arrest record, it could possibly be the right one, but I would really like to know what evidence (if any) was presented against him. If the jury couldn’t reach a verdict, I’d say it was most likely because the testimony was based mostly on circumstantial evidence and hearsay…
Smyth County Virginia Sheriff’s Office 276-782-4056 Case# SA97JC
03/21/2021 – no updates available.