Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who Murdered Dana Lenell Stidham?

No Leads in the Case of Dana Stidham 

23 Year Old Mystery Still Has Investigators Wondering 

By: Jennifer Bland, CCS Contributor

Find A Grave
At the age 18, Dana Lenell Stidham was already an academic leader who graduated from Gravette High School, Arkansas class of 1989. She was born on March 8th, 1971 and lived in the nearby town of Hiwasse, Benton County, Arkansas. Dana had been employed by the former Phillips Grocery Store, now Harp's Grocery Store in Bella Vista, Arkansas. On July 25, 1989, Dana left to run an errand at a nearby grocery store in Bella Vista, and she never returned home.

At around 9:30 AM the next morning, Dana's brother, Larry, called the Bella Vista Police sub-station to report that his sister hadn't come home. He sensed something was wrong. Early that morning her car, a gray Dodge Omni, was found in the Northbound lane on Highway 71 N. The rear tire was low, the keys were still in the ignition, but there was no sign of Dana. Was she forced off the road, or did a "good Samaritan" stop to help her with the tire, and other questions remain a mystery. The lone piece of the investigative timeline was a receipt found in her car that was time stamped 3:17PM.

On September 17, 1989, a squirrel hunter found the remains of a young women buried in a shallow grave, scraped out of a dry creek bed. The location was in a wooded section of the County, that only a few people would know. That body turned out to be Dana Lanell Stidham. The Arkansas State Medical Examiner's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas said Dana died after being stabbed in the neck - the manner of death was Homicide, but the cause of death could not be determined. The body was badly decomposed and efforts were made to determine if she had been sexually assaulted. Her clothes were found strewn nearby. Dana's purse was found in nearby in the area of Chaucer and Hanover Roads in Bella Vista. Personal items, including her check book, driver's license and other items were found a few miles North of where her car was found along Highway 71 N.

To add insult to injury, her gravestone was stolen in December 1989 by a former classmate of Dana's, Michael Earl McMillan. He was convicted of the offense and paid a fine. However, he has retained a lawyer in the matter, so police will unlikely be able to get a crack at him and what he knows and why he stole the gravestone.

There is a $20,000 Reward offered in this case largely from family, friends, businesses and concerned donors. Tips and leads are needed to solve this case. Please contact:

Crime Stoppers 1-877-842-8200

Benton County Arkansas Sheriff's Office:
1-479-271-1008 or 1-479-271-1009 

(all information you give is Confidential).

*Other links to Dana's Case:

About the Author
I was born in 1966 and currently live in Missouri where I research true crime stories after being intrigued with the murder of actress Sharon Tate. I write to inmates and receive letters daily from such people as Douglas Clark (The Sunset Murders-California's Death Row), & Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker-California's Death Row). I have letters from Micheal Skakel (The Martha Moxley Murder) and two letters from jail inmate Lucious Foster (Actress Jodie Foster's Father) & many others. I own a library of true-crime books & DVD movies ranging from The Alphabet Murders to The Zodiac Killer. I have been to The Eldorado Kansas Department of Corrections, where I visited with Dennis Rader in 2011.I have started Petitions online to help solve cold-cases/unsolved crimes, to gain public attention by media and T.V. sources  including America's Most Wanted, Nancy Grace, & TruTV.

Jennifer can be contacted by mail:
Jennifer Bland
P.O.Box 1223
Noel, Missouri 64854


  1. When searching for answers don't ever give up, just know when you feel your not getting anywhere, you haven't DUG DEEP ENOUGH - KEEP GOING - THERE IS AN ANSWER! *Jennifer Bland cold case digger*

  2. Relative of Dana contacted me and asked me to review the case. Were their any leads from this article?
    Howie Comen comendetec@aol.com

  3. Jennifer how can I post a pic of Dana? I came across an old pic of her from when we dated. I keep noticing that the only pictures they use are her senior pics.

  4. I would try and talk to the guy to stole the grave stone. Seems very unusual and that he is hiding a deep grudge and hatred for her.