There are a few new details made public in the 1995 murder case of Anne L. Barber Dunlap. I came across an article by KARE11. It is a fascinating read and I encourage you to read it. As they are the one who uncovered all this information, I am only going to point out a few points of interest. The rest you need to catch from them. They have pictures, clips, and documents.
Anne L. Barber Dunlap was found murdered on January 1, 1996. Cause of death: multiple stab wounds and cuts to her head and neck. Her husband Brad Dunlap told police that on Dec 30, 1995, Anne came home around noon from lunch with friends. She left again around 230pm to go shopping at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Police say that no witnesses can confirm that Anne ever was at the Mall on that day and around that time. Anne was supposed to return around 430pm. Based on her stomach contents, the medical examiner ruled that Anne died between 230-330pm. The murder weapon was never found.
KARE 11 Investigates has found previously undisclosed records with an enormous amount of information of which the public was not aware. The case files related to the 1996 lawsuit between Brad Dunlap and the life insurance company were unsealed in the Federal Court House. Life insurance companies can do their own investigations in people’s death before they pay out benefits especially when people were insured for large amounts. The Chubb Life Insurance Company did exactly that.
Anne was insured for $1’000’000 on a regular life insurance policy but also for $745’000 in a group life insurance policy that Anne got through her job at Pillsbury. On both those policies, Brad Dunlap was/is the beneficiary. That is one big motive. Read more about this in the Affidavit from Sergeant David Voss of the Minneapolis Police Homicide Division.
“The insurance company claimed that “Bradley A. Dunlap killed Anne Dunlap on December 30, 1995 as part of a plan to obtain the Chubb Life policy insurance proceeds.” Therefore, the insurance company argued the life insurance policy was “fraudulent” and should be “void.” On Sept 30, 1998 Brad Dunlap’s attorneys announced a settlement with the insurance company for an undisclosed amount.
Voss’ affidavit is crucial for another reason: Brad Dunlap was identified as “the only plausible suspect” since Jan 1, 1996 after Dunlap did a video taped interview with police. Read more on KARE11.
Anne’s parents have stood by their son-in-law since Anne went missing. And they have not wavered. It always puzzled me until I read the FBI Analysis. Maybe this section explains how they think and why in their mind, Brad could not be a suspect:
“In summary, DONN and LOUISE BARBER told the FBI that their daughter ANNE was a good student, a good girl, and a good and successful marriage with no major arguments. They added that ANNE got her way most of the time and that BRADLEY spoiled her in that regard. As an example the BARBER’S sighted the design and construction of their new house as totally under the control of ANNE. They described ANNE as meticulous in her life, no decisions were made quickly or precipitously. As an example they listed how ANNE DUNLAP went about selecting the design of her house. They also stated that when ANNE DUNLAP went shopping, she knew exactly what she wanted and where she would go, she never “just went shopping”. They stated ANNE was very organized and a perfectionist, and very career oriented.”
This is a point where I would like my forensic science friends to give their thoughts.
Anne had bruch with friends the morning that she was last seen. The medical examiner found food in her stomach that matched what she had eaten during that brunch. Now here is the point that needs clarification: since that brunch was still in her stomach he concluded that she died within hours of that brunch.
However, one of the experts hired by Dunlap did not agree that the presence of the brunch meant that Anne died within hours of consuming that brunch. He wrote that “the stomach contents are not determinate of a time of death. Attempting to ascribe a precise time of death based upon the appearance of stomach contents is not in keeping with good forensic practice.”
He points out that there “is a tremendous diversity in emptying times of stomachs among individuals, and variation within a particular individual given certain circumstances such as stress factors.” So what are average emptying times?
For me, this one is the biggest surprise: a bloodstained log. “In the garage, the police found a bloodstained fireplace log. A lab report says Anne’s DNA was on that log, too. In addition to the stab wounds, the medical examiner found evidence of a “blunt force blow to her head.” He concluded Anne was apparently hit with “something broad and flat.”
This could explain the absence of defensive wounds on Anne’s body. She didn’t feel threatened and may never have known in how much danger she really was. She is stuck, is unconscious, is murdered, lifted into her trunk, and then the car was placed in the public parking lot.
Second Crime Scene
If I read the documents correctly then there may have been a second crime scene. The garage from the Dunlaps had some blood stains but not the blood patterns that you would expect from arterial bleeding. So, if those dripped blood spots were not made from killing Anne, then maybe, before her body was lifted into the trunk, she was killed elsewhere or the garage floor was covered by something like a tarp.
The Murder Weapon
During the autopsy, “a broken knife blade tip from a pocket knife” was found. It is a stainless steel piece of a “sheepfoot blade.” I looked up that kind of blade. It is a sheepsfoot blade. It means that the knife has a straight cutting edge with a non-sharp curved back spine that bends down. Examples of this include a number of kitchen/chef’s knives. It can be a pocket knife but could also have been taken from the kitchen. Do an internet search with sheepsfoot blade and you will see the kind of knife that they were referring to in the reports. If it is ever found, it can be tested and compared to this tip.
On KARE11 you can find more information and the links to these documents:
- The sworn affidavit by Sgt. David Voss describing the police theory about the murder
- The Medical Examiner’s letter summarizing the autopsy findings
- A report describing the FBI’s analysis of the case
- A crime scene analysis done by a retired FBI expert for Chubb insurance
- A report by one of Brad Dunlap’s experts disputing the Medical Examiner’s time of death
- A report by another Dunlap expert about the blood evidence found in the garage