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Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting. ORS 419B.010 - 11/03/17

To: All Media
From: Walt Beglau, Marion County District Attorney

The Marion County District Attorney supports the Salem-Keizer School District's training of their employees as to Oregon's mandatory reporting laws. We firmly believe that mandatory reporters play a vital role in protecting children.

Oregon's mandatory child abuse reporting law was designed to protect children from abuse. Any mandatory reporter, which includes public school employees as well as other public or private officials, must make a report if they have reasonable cause to believe that any child was abused. There is no legal exception to this obligation, and failing to make a mandatory report is a Class A violation, punishable by a fine.

Legislative policy around mandatory reporting encourages voluntary reporting. To that end, the law provides civil immunity to those who make a report in good faith.

Oregon law currently defines a child as an unmarried person under 18 years of age. "Abuse" includes (among other situations) non-consensual sexual contact. Any person is considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act if that person is under 18 years of age. There is no age defense in these reporting circumstances.

Child abuse remains an under-reported plague in our community. Therefore, the Marion County District Attorney's Office encourages community conversation around protecting children. Mandatory child abuse reporting laws are part of that dialogue, including concerns about the law's current reporting obligations. We encourage any community member to engage in the legislative process to help us further protect children in this community.

Janie's Father, Richard, Detective Hinkle, Janie's Sister, Joyce, with a memorial brick from Fairview presented by the Oregon State Police
Janie's Father, Richard, Detective Hinkle, Janie's Sister, Joyce, with a memorial brick from Fairview presented by the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police Solve Cold Murder from 1979; Marion County DA Closes Case (Photo) - 11/01/17

The Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section in Salem has solved the 1979 murder of 18-year-old Fairview patient, Janie Landers.

Janie Landers was a mentally challenged patient at the Fairview Training Center formerly located in Salem, Oregon. Janie struggled with learning challenges and behavior issues that led to her residency at the now defunct state-run facility for individuals with significant mental disabilities. Janie functioned at about the level of an 8-year-old child. At 5 feet 1 inch tall and just 105 pounds, she was very small in stature but had a reputation of being unexpectedly strong and quite feisty. She went missing on March 9, 1979 and was initially regarded as having voluntarily walked away from the property. Despite this theory, police initiated an investigation in attempts to locate Janie. They spoke to several witnesses in the area. She was last seen by four people outside the main entrance to the Fairview Complex on Strong Rd. These witnesses were employed with Fairview at the time and were able to describe this man despite not knowing him or having ever seen him before that day. They further described a yellow or gold colored vehicle that they thought belonged to him. A composite sketch of the man was created by a Statesman Journal Newspaper employee who worked with the 4 witnesses at the request of detectives.

Janie Landers would not be found alive. Her body was discovered on March 14, 1979 by a nearby resident in the Silver Falls area. It was clear to detectives that this was not the location of her murder, but rather a dump site in a field off Highway 214 near mile post 23. Janie had been brutally beaten and stabbed multiple times. An autopsy revealed numerous defensive wounds and deep cuts to her neck area. The medical examiner found her cause of death to be blunt force trauma to her head. She had not been sexually assaulted. It was further determined through stomach contents that Janie had likely been killed on the day of her disappearance.

A full investigation ensued by the Oregon State Police at the time. Despite having very little physical evidence and few witnesses, detectives nonetheless worked tirelessly to generate leads. Those who knew Janie both in and out of the Training Center were investigated and eliminated as suspects. And the case went cold.

Over the ensuing years, the investigation would be resurrected by several detectives on multiple occasions. Most Fairview employees would eventually be contacted, scene photographs would be continually examined, hundreds of individuals would be reinterviewed, and stacks of police reports would fill numerous binders. But no strong theory of the case or clear suspect ever emerged. Every new lead would be pursued to no avail and the case would run cold yet again. But Janie's little sister, Joyce, who was just 13 years old when Janie was murdered, never forgot. She would constantly urge the detectives to reopen the case and look again. Most times that led nowhere. Until 2015.

In March of 2015, Joyce contacted the Oregon State Police yet again. She was now 50 years old and her 82-year-old father was beginning to show signs of slowing down. Joyce hoped that there might be a chance at justice for Janie while her father was still alive. The case was pulled from the cold case pile and assigned to Detective Steve Hinkle of the Oregon State Police. Despite having no new information or promising lead, Detective Hinkle poured over the hundreds of pages of police reports. He reviewed all the old physical evidence, autopsy findings, and scene photos. He recontacted those witnesses who were still alive and met with the prior detectives who had previously tried to solve this case.

The brutal attack on Janie made it likely that her killer had been injured in the process. Janie clearly fought for her life. Further, the wounds she suffered were likely caused by a knife without a hilt, making it a strong possibility that her perpetrator would have been cut as his hand tried to repeatedly manipulate the weapon. Working closely with the OSP crime lab forensic scientists, detectives were able to identify areas on Janie's shirt that could contain her killer's DNA.

In April of 2016, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab confirmed that a blood stain on Janie's clothing contained the DNA of a male. That male was identified through the Combined DNA Index System(CODIS) database as Gerald Kenneth Dunlap.

Dunlap had not been a suspect in any previous attempt to investigate Janie's murder nor had he ever been contacted by the police in relationship to the investigation. Detective Hinkle soon learned however that Dunlap was not a stranger to the criminal justice system. Dunlap had been convicted of a raping a woman during an armed robbery in Knoxville, TN in 1961. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 1973. His inmate information showed him as being roughly 5 feet 10 inches tall and he weighed approximately 190 pounds. Dunlap quickly moved to California where he was required to register as a Sex Offender but soon moved again to Salem, Oregon (where sex offender registration was not yet a statutory requirement) in 1974. Here, he got married to a woman who had a young son and began working at the Fairview Training Center as a laundry worker where he remained employed until he was terminated in 1983 for inappropriate behavior towards women. In 1974, nationwide criminal records were not common or reliable. It is probable that no employment background check would have been proficient at that time to identify Dunlap's violent sexual criminal history unless he self-reported.

Dunlap was convicted again of a sexual offense against a minor female family member in 1996 in a case prosecuted by then Deputy District Attorney Walt Beglau (Beglau has been the elected District Attorney of Marion County since 2004). Dunlap went to trial and was found guilty by a jury. Judge Jamese L. Rhoades sentenced Dunlap to prison where he died in January of 2002. The fact that Dunlap had been convicted of this felony sex crime is the reason that his DNA was on file in the CODIS database.

Despite the DNA confirmation and the fact that Dunlap's history made him a strong suspect, Detectives knew they could not yet close this case. Further information was necessary to determine whether Dunlap was the murderer. Confirming details about Dunlap's employment and his personal history proved difficult since Fairview was closed in 2000, and the case was now thirty-seven years old. Detectives were nonetheless able to locate payroll records from Fairview proving Dunlap was a laundry worker at the training center in March 1979 and would have worked the day of Janie's disappearance. They also confirmed that Dunlap's job was to sort laundry prior to washing and thus it was highly improbable that any incidental, innocent DNA transfer that might have occurred between Dunlap and Janie's clothing could have survived the washing process for later DNA comparison. Dunlap further was not otherwise assigned in any manner that should have brought him into professional contact with Janie.

Detectives contacted the Tennessee Department of Corrections and were able to obtain two photographs of Dunlap from November 1972 shortly before his parole. This photograph was the only one of Dunlap that detectives could locate taken close in time to Janie's murder. That photograph was compared to the composite sketch completed in 1979. The resemblance was difficult for detectives to ignore.

Detectives next created a photo line-up using the 1972 photograph of Dunlap. Two of the four witnesses from 1979 that helped create the original composite sketch were still alive and were recontacted. Though 100% certainty eluded them due to the passage of time, both witnesses picked the photo of Dunlap out of 5 other similar-looking men and noted he looked like the man they saw talking to Janie on March 09, 1979.

Detectives located the former manager, supervisors, and a co-worker from the laundry at Fairview. His termination for inappropriate contact with female patients was confirmed. One witness further remembered that Dunlap would sometimes leave a shift early unannounced and not return, while another remembered Dunlap would loiter near the bus stop on Fairview where patients would wait for transportation and would offer them rides.

Detectives also interviewed both Dunlap's wife, who remained married to him after his incarceration in 1996 and up to his death, and his step-son. Both confirmed that Dunlap drove a vehicle in 1979 that matched the vehicle seen by witnesses on the day that Janie disappeared. That car no longer exists for evidentiary purposes. Dunlap's stepson also recalled that they hiked frequently as a family in the Silver Creek Falls area, and thus Dunlap would have been familiar with the location in which Janie's body was found. Neither Dunlap's wife nor stepson had any further knowledge of this crime and detectives do not believe they had any involvement.

Marion County Deputy District Attorney Paige Clarkson was assigned to this case. After a full review of all the reports and evidence, the Marion County District Attorney's Office has determined that Gerald Dunlap is solely responsible for the Murder of Janie Landers in March of 1979. Prosecutors theorize that Janie's small stature and immature appearance would have made her a perfect target for a sexual predator like Gerald Dunlap. He likely offered her a ride and, given Janie's intellectual disabilities, she was easily convinced. Once in the vehicle, Dunlap likely threatened Janie with a knife and attempted a violent sexual attack. Janie's unexpected level of strength and resistance however, would have both surprised and frustrated Dunlap who resorted to killing her when his sexual attack was thwarted. Janie was ultimately outsized and overpowered by the murderous rage of Dunlap. If Dunlap was alive, the District Attorney's Office would have filed a Murder charge in this matter. His death in 2002 means that no further action can be taken in this case.

Clarkson said, "This case would never have been solved were it not for the dedicated work of the Oregon State Police Detectives, the persistence of a little sister who never forgot for nearly four decades, and the courage of a prior victim to report her abuser and withstand the rigors of a trial. It is because of her that Dunlap could never hurt anyone again and, most importantly for this case, his DNA was on file."

On October 30, 2017, Detective Hinkle was able to return the few belongings of Janie's back to her family. An earring and two small hair ties were all that remained from that day in 1979. Detective Hinkle stated, "It's not much. But it represents the end to this case. We're grateful we could solve this. We're grateful we could do this for Janie. We're hopeful her family can find some closure to this horrific chapter of their lives."

Janie's sister, Joyce, stated, "I'm really grateful and relieved that it's done. She can be totally at peace now because her case is solved."