July 21, 2021

Jane Morton Antunez and Patricia Dwyer

Jane Morton Antunez and Patricia Dwyer

Jane

Patricia, left, with her uncle and sister

POS Arthur Martinez in 1970s and 2010s

Sources:

19 Apr 2019, A1 - The Tribune at Newspapers.com

23 Nov 1977, 2 - Times-Press-Recorder at Newspapers.com

18 Jan 1978, 11 - Santa Maria Times at Newspapers.com

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office (slosheriff.org)

Arthur Rudy Martinez identified as killer in 1970s unsolved California cases - The Washington Post

Police: DNA match identifies killer in California cold cases - UPI.com

Who is Patricia Dwyer, victim killed in California cold case? | San Luis Obispo Tribune

Woman Brings Cold Cases to Light • Atascadero News

Unsolved

A Monterey man approaches 30 years in prison for a grisly murder he claims he didn’t commit. | Cover | montereycountyweekly.com

 

Where: Atascadero CA, pop 16k 1980. Halfway point from Los Angeles to San Francisco on U.S. Route 101. There's really nothing notable that comes out of the town except for our coverage here. BUT San Luis Obispo is the county Atascadero is in. And there is also a city in the county named San Luis Obispo. This is about 20mi away from our town here today…. and this is where Kristin Smart disappeared in 1996. So the area is well known in the TC community, but maybe not so much in pop culture. For our regular listens, we are in the county just west of where our Kern County Jane Doe was found, back in 1980.

So we’re going to start with Jane Morton, who was 30 when she was killed. Born on Jan 19, 1947 to mother Mary, father William, sisters Barbara and Elizabeth (Jane is the oldest of the 3 girls), and brothers David, Jeffrey, not sure when they came along, we have mom and dad and five kids.

Dad is a real estate agent, Mom works for the county as a technical services programmer - what is that? - and the family grows up in Atascadero.

Jane was very well liked and popular, by all accounts and she had a lot of friends.

Now some of these dates are murky, so bear with me here. By my trusty calendar calculator, Jane gets in a pretty tight spot before she even graduates high school.  She and her high school sweetheart Carl Antunez get pregnant during her sophomore or junior year, and Jane gives birth to their daughter Michele in 1963/64.

Yeah. Jean was an unwed teenage mother in the middle of the 1960s. Yikes. And I don’t mean yikes, like she deserved it or anything, I mean… yikes, it’s the 60s. Girls were hardly ever even allowed to be alone with the boys in that era. Why do we think drive-in movies were so popular back then, lol. This is the age when a pregnant teenage girl would … what did they call it? Go visit her aunt or cousin out of state when she mysteriously starts gaining weight, and then come back like six months later, all sad and depressed.  

For those of us who might not know, back in the day, it was the worst worst worst thing that could happen to a young woman, especially a teenager, who got pregnant out of wedlock. So pretty much right up until Roe vs Wade allowed women to legally have abortions, these girls  would be sent off to “schools” with other girls in the same predicament, and they would to put to work and lectured about their sluthood and wait out their pregnancies, have the babies, be forced to put them up for adoption, and then come home all nice and pretty and lady-like again. It was a horrible practice, as you can imagine, and there’s a ton of information out there about these schools, so definitely look them up if you’re interested.

For what it’s worth, Jane’s family did NOT send her off, so we are happy for her. I mean, that did mean the only other option was to marry Carl, but hey, it’s better than pregnant military school and having not right’s to your own child?

Jane’s family lets her go this other route, and marry Carl instead, and at least for them, they will be able to keep the baby. Jane was now in her senior year. Not sure where they live, or how they supported their little family, but she was able to complete high school on time, and she graduated Atascadero high school in 1965. It should be a high point in Jane's young life but it’s going to be overshadowed, because the same year,  her sister, 16yo sister Barbara, dies in a horrific car accident. 

We don’t know when Jane and Carl got married, but they were divorced by 1966. Jane will complete some college nearby at Cuesta College, but never graduates. I mean, kudos to her for at least starting college. Could you imagine? You’re a single mom to a toddler now, you’re back living with mom and dad after getting divorced… you’re one of maybe 4 kids living in the house? That’s a lot.  

But Jane’s not going to just throw in the towel on her life. By 1970, she started working for the local social services office as an eligibility worker. I guess one of the people who process your application for public assistance.  But by 1972, Mom had retired from her own job because of her failing health, and soon after it’s decided that Jane would quit her job too, so she could stay at home and take care of her. And it is around this time that Jane makes the tough decision to have Michele go live with Carl and his other kids up in Portland. According to mom Mary, this is because her own health was so bad, that most of Jane’s attention was on her. 

So that’s a rough start to adulthood. You’re a mother and wife before you graduate high school, and then a single mother having to give up your daughter indefinitely so you can take care of your ailing mother … and you’re not even 25 yet. But there is some sunshine in Jane’s life. She had found love again in a local construction worker, who worked for his dad’s business, named John Stanhope. They had started dating in 1971, and they were engaged to be married in early 1978. And now Jane, even with her mom still having those health issues, Jane had been talking to Carl about having Michele come back to live with her. 

And now we are in the fall of 1977. Jane is 30 years old, And your’s truly - me - I am 2 mos old. Elvis died 3 months ago in August, sorry to remind you, and Star Wars premiered in May, six months ago. Punk rock is becoming mainstream, and on TV, we are watching All in the Family, Three's Company, and The Love Boat. Also in 1977. In technology, Apple released the Apple II computer. This doesn't have the monitor and hard drive in-one yet, but you can still get it for $1300 (or $6k in 2021 money). And finally, my very favorite trivia for the year: the album Hotel California by the Eagles hits #1 on the Billboard charts the second week of January, just five weeks after it was released. So there’s some nostalgia for you… 

Jane and the family live on El Camino Real, a residential road parallel to US 101. Nowadays this road is hopping, all the foods and all the shopping and busy intersections. But at the time, it was a lot more empty - definitely not as bustling as it is now.

On the night of Thursday November 17, around 730pm, Jane leaves home, taking the family’s 1972 Datsun to go hang out with her friend Vicki... But Jane does not make it to Vicki’s house, and doesn’t make it home either. Later the next morning, brother David notices that Jane still isn't home from last night's outing, and goes looking for her. Finally, at around 2pm, and about a mile from home, off a dirt road, David finds the Datsun. This poor man - he finds his sister dead in the back seat. She was partially nude and her throat was cut.

For the initial investigation, police don’t find anything in or around Jane or the car that gives any obvious clues. They tell us she has no other wounds but the one cut it took to kill her, and the sexual assault she suffered, that they discovered at her autopsy. They don’t even see another set of tire tracks that would lead to another car being there… so the thought is that the killer must have left on foot.

Now, of course they are going to interview friends and family. Mom says Jane was terrified of picking up hitchhikers. She knew the dangers of making herself vulnerable to being raped or attacked, and she would never knowingly put herself in that position. Police do get a lot of tips coming in, but nothing seems to pan out. There is a possible witness though. Jane was seen picking up - or at least driving with - an unknown male. Sadly, nothing seems pan out there, either. However, when the family looks at the Datsun, they do tell detectives that the car has some new dings and dents on it. I’m thinking, forced by another car onto this dirt road where the car was found? I mean, what’s the other explanation? She hadn’t been beaten so the car wasn’t hit during a fight. IDK… 

Mail 250 fliers to local residents hoping for tips, the best they got is that one lady saying she saw a man get into the Datsun.

What about John? Umm, got nothing. I did look, since he was the fiance after all. But I couldn't find anything about the police investigating him. 

And then 7wks later, Atascadero is going to have another brutal murder...

Patricia Irene Dwyer, 28 when she was killed. Born November 13, 1949 to Beryl and Mr. Dwyer. I couldn’t find Dad’s name, yikes. Beryl was originally from England and met her husband, an American soldier, during WWII. They fell in love and got married, and decided to settle down on the east coast of California. Pat was the older of two girls, she had a younger sister, Anne. 

1976 - starts working at Atascadero State Hospital as a psychiatric technician…. What do they do??? Maybe help the doctors perform psychological testing? Not sure. 

Supposedly, she had an active social life and “known to have dated several men.” Her cousin tells us she once told him, ““I know I’m not pretty, I know I’m fat and all the rest of it, but I can still pull the guys.” lol that's awesome. Patricia had never married, not common for a woman in her late 20s in the 70s.  David, her cousin, tells us “She was a fun-loving girl and, you know, wherever we went she could talk to people, have a laugh, drink, smoke and that was Pat,” he said. “She loved life.”

And Pat’s niece Monica says that her aunt never had a problem being herself, and she didn't have a problem with other people being upset with her. Pat actually took Monica on a special date once, and got her ears pierced behind Anne’s back. Whoa… and Anne was not too happy about that. But Monica loved her new earrings and adored her Aunt Pat.

And at the time she was killed, Patricia wasn't dating anyone, but she did have a special love in her life - her dog Unit, a Siberian husky. She took him with her over to visit mom and Anne often and the dog himself was just as big of a presence as Patricia was. Pat is living alone in the house she was renting on Del Rio Rd.

Tuesday night, January 10, 1978. Patricia talks to a friend on the phone. “I’m not going out tonight. I've got some grocery shopping to do and this house is a mess. I’m just going to stay home; I need to clean this place up.”

Wednesday afternoon, sometime around 3:45pm, January 11, 1978. Patricia is discovered by a friend coming by the house to visit. She was laying on the living room floor, half-naked, just like Jane was, and there was a knife sticking out of her chest, and Unit was laying next to her, all red from blood, nudging Pat to try to wake her up.

During the initial investigation of the scene, police figured out the knife Pat had been stabbed with was from her own kitchen. Her autopsy also revealed that she had been raped.

When police interviewed friends, they said she would never let a stranger in. Was it someone she knew then? But then they found out she always kept a key under her front door mat. So maybe it was a stranger? Well, somehow, he got past the dog… so… And I hate to tell you, but yeah, Unit was never the same after that. He became nervous and jittery, and always seemed on edge. 

The whole family was devastated when Patricia was killed, and mom was so affected that she needed to be hospitalized because her grief was so unbearable.

And to make all this even worse, the police tell Anne that Patricia’s family photo albums were laying open on the table in the house… so she needs to stay alert and keep her family safe. It’s too much! I don’t know if I could do it. How do you continue to live this life here, thinking maybe this guy knows where you live, knows your face, and is coming to get you? I really think the first thing I would do, especially if I thought my family and I were in danger, is just pick up and leave. Pat’s family does exactly that. Her father had passed away at this point, but they decided to move back to Beryl’s home in England. They don't stay long, though and come back to San Luis Obispo county within the next few years. Monica was five when Patricia was killed, and remembers the loss of her aunt. She missed her so much, plus she wasn’t able to play outside and they couldn’t enjoy the nearby lake on day trips like they used to. Their family would forever have this cloud hanging over them…  “is he coming for us?”

So now we have two families in this town, two months apart, trying to make sense of the loss they are now facing. 

And the police have tough job ahead of them. The sheriff’s department beings to compare the murders: 

Jane and Pat are both from Atascadero. They did have active social lives and both often went to the local bar to party. This was the Tally Ho Tavern. My kind of place - I love pirates. The romanticized version at least. They actually had a lot of the same friends, but Jane and Patricia did not know each other from what we know. The closest tie they have is that Jane’s brother Jeffrey worked with Patricia. 

Autopsy results for both women put their times of death around midnight or early morning, both in the middle of the night. Both had their hands tied behind their backs… discuss? Both stabbed once, Jane’s was her neck, Patricia’s was her chest.

Part of the investigation, like we’ve seen in other cases, is the police looking into locals with criminal records. Who do we have in town that are known to be sex offender or other kinds of violent criminals? So they get a folder together and have the ladies’ families and friends look them over… no one recognizes any of these guys. 

There are rewards put up by the town… The owner of the Tally Ho Tavern sets a jug on the bar to collect funds as a reward for helping to solve Jane and Patricia’s murders. Within 3 weeks of Patricia’s death, jug had $200, which is a little over $800 now. These are people that knew Jane and Patricia. They were young women, regulars at the bar… I just think about the mood in that place in late 70s, and then in Jan and Feb right after Patricia was murdered. Like, is this guy targeting single women that go to this bar? “I’m a single woman… I come here a lot to hang out, unwind, get a buzz, maybe hook up…. am I next? I mean, they weren’t taken from the bar or the parking lot… they were by home and at home…. Am I safe at home? Is it too late for me, am I already on this guy's radar?” I wonder how many ladies decided to stop going out with their friends after this. Especially when you think about the fact that the bar is where you go to drink…. It’s where, when you leave, you’re likely not your sharpest self. And if you leave alone… Anyway...

The local Contractors Association also put up a reward, they are offering $500 for anything who helps solve the case. And that’s going to be about $2k in today’s money. I’m thinking this was initiated by Jane’s boyfriend John, remember, who was a construction worker. 

Then we get a man that comes forward who is a real character but he has the best heart… Marvin Cothan is old. He's a retired local businessman, and tells the local papers that he’s facing certain death in the coming months because of his diabetes. He says when he found out the total reward to date was only $700, he decided to put up $1k of his own money to weed out the killer. Marvin invites the killer himself to go to his house and confess. He’ll even give the $1k to whoever the killer wants afterward. I’m not sure asking a murderer to show up your house  - with the street named in the article - is the best way to get a murder arrest, especially when you’re not in the best of health, but more power to you Marvin! 

End of 1978, police questioned and investigated multiple possible suspects. The San Luis Obispo Sheriff Dept Detective Sergeant John Hastie tell the press that all but one have been ruled out. They had figured out that he knew both Jane and Patricia. He is never named, but he was 32 years old and he, too, worked at Atascadero State Hospital. Police tell us that they questioned him upwards or 30 hrs, but he never gave anything up, and they didn't have any concrete evidence - remember, DNA testing was non-existent in the 70s. Finally, police questioned themselves and started thinking they had the wrong guy, so they let him go.

And then, as it too often happens, both cases go cold. Police have nothing. And years go by… we start in 1978, past 1988 (which is when Die Hard comes out), past 1998… and into Feb 2005. DNA from both women’s crime scenes are compared and the cases are officially linked by the DNA - they were both killed by the same man. 

And then we have to sit on our hands again, and come all the way up to 2016. In June 2016, this lady named Charlotte Gibbon calls up the new cold case unit at the sheriff’s office and says, “I need a sit-down with a cold case detective.” And she sits down with Detective Clint Cole and talks his ear off for almost three hours about Jane and Patricia’s cases. Okay who is this lady? Seems that Miss Charlotte had made herself into an armchair detective over the past few years. She had grow up in the town, and as an adult, became intrigued by the Jane Antunez murder case. So she began rummaging through the stacks at the Atascadero library, the Historical Society, and whatever the police department would give her access to. And after months, years, I think - the source I found didn’t say - she finally puts together this war book of information and presents it to Detective Cole. And Cole, for his part, tells her he’ll go over all the work she’s done and get back to her. Probably the last thing someone wants to hear, right? It’s so cliche. I’d be sitting in my car in the Sheriff’s parking lot, muttering under my breath about being brushed off. 

But amazingly, in this case, Cole makes good on his word, and he actually starts digging into these murders that are now 40 year old. Thank you God! Detective Cole had decided it’s finally time to get some answers… and get some fucking justice, right?

In 2017, police are going to look into that one guy again; the one they questioned for like two days straight. And they call him in for some DNA, run the tests and finally he will be ruled out as the killer… he’s not a match.

Now in this case, the force isn’t calling up Parabon or Othram…. They are going to actually use the DOJ Forensic Laboratories to get somewhere. In March of 2018, Detective Cole sends a DNA sample from one of the scenes to the California DOJ Lab and asks them to conduct a familial search within the CODIS system. And soon enough, they tell Cole that they have a possible brother of the suspect locked up in prison. Now, this isn’t their suspect, because DNA is not a complete match, but they’ve got a pretty high centimorgan match count, so Cole should start looking into the inmate’s family.

On an April 17, 2019, The San Luis Obispo Sherriff's department announces that the 1977 murder of Jane Antunez and the 1978 murder of Patricia Dwyer were perpetrated by Arthur Rudy Martinez.

Who is Arthur Rudy Martinez?? Who is this piece of shit? Born 06/26/1948. In 1977, POS Martinez was on parole after serving time for attempted murder and rape - shocker. So, yeah, like many we’ve seen before, this POS was no stranger to the criminal justice system, diving right into violent acts against women as soon as he turned 18. 

He was 18yo and decided to rob a local store in his hometown of Selma CA. This must have been after hours for the shop, because once he got inside, he was caught off guard that the owner, a 48yo woman, was there. Instead of running off, he decided to make the best of it by tying her up and raping her. Afterwards, he shot this poor woman and then took off. The bullet went into her forehead, but the gun had been angled in such a way that it went right out, though the top of her head. Whew! Lucky. Of course, not lucky, in the grand scheme of things, but at least she wasn’t killed. 

It is also around this time that he attacked a 26yo woman on her front lawn, shooting her in the hip before taking off. 

For these attacks, Martinez was identified and picked up and charged. He pleaded guilty to both crimes in June of 1967 and got his first - yes first - prison sentence. He was sentenced to consecutive terms, not sure how long they were. But he was eligible for parole by 1977, just ten years later. I’m sorry? Two attempted murders and a rape? Just in ten years you’re up for parole?

We don’t know what link he had to Atascadero, he’s from Selma, and the cities are 120mi apart…. but this is where he told the parole board he’d live if he was let out. So they agreed, and Jane’ and Patricia will lose their lives for it. Once in town, POS Martinez gets a job as a welder at a local business…. And, although nothing I read says this, did he start hanging out at the Tally 

He had been living in the county for about eight months before he left his semen behind on Jane Antunez in the family car. A few months after he left his semen on Patricia in her house, he packed up and moved up north to Spokane, Washington.

Once in Washington, of course he doesn’t clean up his act. He will be convicted of multiple robberies and two more rapes. So that’s five sexual assaults that we know of now. For these convictions, Martinez was sentenced to life in prison, thank God, and was officially locked up again in November of 1978. And of course, we have the county sheriff 1000 miles south, scratching their heads and wondering if this guy is committing more heinous crimes. Well, he was, but fortunately for any possible future victims, Spokane had found him out and got him off the streets.

And here we have again - another POS rapist murderer - serving jail time for a violent crime, getting out on parole, and committing the same crime again within months of getting let out. Now, I will admit, hindsight is 20/20 for us here now, because the Washington courts didn't know Jane and Patricia were his victims just 10 months earlier. These are repeat offenders, seems only jail, old age, or death will stop them. 

Unfortunately though, he’s going to escape from prison 16 years later, in 1994. This is before Washington State took on mandatory DNA collection law for their convicted prisoners. Sooo… did Martinez know his time was coming? Or was the timing just right? And he goes on the lam, for pretty much the rest of his life. He got himself back to Fresno, California. In 2014, Martinez decided it’s time to turn himself in to Washington State police. Did he have a guilty conscience? At this point he was 65yo and had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. So since he has no health coverage, this is when he decided to call on the state for some help. WTFFF what a dick. After everything he’s done over the years, all the pain and suffering he caused so many people, this asshole actually calls up the police so HE can get some end of life care. I mean talk about rubbing salt in the wounds of the people whose lives he ruined. And the taxpayers! At the time, no one knew he had killed our California ladies, everyone thought he was just coming back to jail after being on the run for the last 20years. The fucking balls.  

POS Martinez died in jail in Washington state in June 2014, almost making it to his 66th birthday. How great would it have been for us to have this case solved while he was locked up for those few months? At least then Jane and Patricia’s families would have been able to give their victims statements in court and look this POS in the face.

Ok, so how did they actually get him? Well, when they zeroed in on him through his brother, police traced his steps and of course, found out he was dead. So that sucks. But they at least want to test his DNA against the evidence to be sure, because if it matches, they can put the case to bed and the families can finally get some answers. So they do some digging and get in touch with his last known girlfriend and talk to her. They ask about her life with him and probe for any clues to seal the deal, and just in case, they ask her if she has anything of his still…. Anything that might have his DNA on it? And she does! This lady goes looking through the house and comes up with a razor still sitting in her bathroom cabinet since before he turned himself in - five years ago! My husband has some issues with my housekeeping, but he should meet this lady lol. But hey, this is perfect for our purposes. So the razor is sent of the to lab, and it’s fucking match! Over 40 years, for these ladies. 40 for their family and friends. way too long... thank God for that old lady, right?

Could he have been caught? Yes. Police had a folder full of mugshots and photos during the initial investigation, and Martinex was in there. And they had that witness… but they never showed her the pictures!!! They looked this woman up again and went to her with the photos from back in the day and said, “Ma’am, is this the guy?” And she was like, “yup, that's the guy.” Hello? Where TF were the police asking her back in 1978? Aren’t witnesses supposed to look at pictures of possible suspects that the police have rounded up? Isn’t that what they are for? Am I crazy here? Or is it written somewhere that you can only talk to a witness once… you get one interview with them, and later on if you get other leads or clues, you missed your chance already.. You can’t go back to ask more questions? 

Here’s a lil tidbit… in a 1978 article about Jane and Patricia’s murders… Detective Sergeant Hasties tells us that the county had had 65 murders in the past 10 years. And all but 5 of them had been solved, with Jane and Patricia being 2 of the unsolved ones. ONe the face of it, this is a great track record. You’ve got a 92% track record. But… ummm. How were they solved if the sheriff’s department doesn’t do second interviews with their witnesses? Was every other murder in 1970s San Luis Obispo done in front of multiple eye witnesses? 

And if not back then, if they’d gotten to him to get his cheek swabbed before he escaped prison in 1994, then he would have ended up in CODIS at that point, and there would have been a hit before Y2K. In the end though, most of Jane’s and Patricia’s families had died before POS Martinez was discovered.

Can we explain Jane’s and Pat's murders? I think the best we can come up with is that he somehow talked himself into Jane’s car and Pat’s house and went from there. That bar they hung out at all the time - idk, i think it must have something to do with it. Maybe he was a regular. Maybe he stalked them, or at least knew them at the bar enough for them to get comfortable around him. So when the time came, they kind of already knew him, so they had their guard down. Hey, it’s Artie from the bar, can I get a ride? Hey, I didn't know you lived on this block, so does my friend. Nice dog, can I use your phone? And then I guess at that point, he had to skip town, because the bar and their ladies friends might start catching on if he did it a third time. 

I’m raising my hand here… does this guy have other victims that are not reported? He has 48yo and 26yo in Selma in 1967, Jane and Patricia in 1977/78, then a few months later multiple other rapes in Washington state. So that’s six, not counting prison time, that’s 6 rapes/murders/shootings in three years of free time. He escaped prison in 1994, putting him at 46yo. And I’m not gonna lie, this guys photos - they are mugshots - but they’re pretty scary. I’m thinking if he had the body to escape jail, he probably still had the body to rape and murder when he got out. Which begs the question… what kind of life was he living while was on the run? Was he associating with women who might have the strongest of family ties? Or maybe he made sure to hide these more recent bodies? Maybe his later victims' cases haven’t been solved yet.  OR he got clean when he got out. We know about that girlfriend at least. I guess we’ll only know if it ever comes out that another victim has been identified. But we’ll never be able to say for sure that he didn’t kill again. 

Closing Tribute:

Pat’s niece Monica: “It’s amazing we finally have the closure on it. I am sad to think he’s gone and he won’t stand trial, he won’t pay for his crimes. But at the same time, we have the closure now.”