Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Dexter and Vivian Stefonek

Real Name: Dexter William Stefonek
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Glendive, Montana
Date: November 19, 1985


Details: Dexter Stefonek was a sixty-seven-year-old widower and retired paper mill worker from Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Vivian, had been married for forty-four years when she passed away in 1984. After her death, he went to stay with his son and grandchildren near Corbett, Oregon. However, in November 1985 as the anniversary of Vivian's death approached, he decided to head home to Wisconsin. His son wanted him to stay, but he was anxious to return home.
Dexter left on the morning of November 18, 1985; he had made the two-thousand-mile trip from Wisconsin to Oregon many times before. Because he wanted to complete it as soon as possible, he told his son that he would not stop at motels, but to rest stops and sleep at them instead.
At 10am the next morning, Dexter's Plymouth Horizon was found ablaze in the parking lot of the Bad Route rest stop in Glendive, Montana. The inside was completely engulfed in flames. Barely a day had passed since he left his son's home in Oregon. After the fire was extinguished, it was clear that he was not in it. Investigators began searching the area for him; they suspected that he may have wandered off looking for help, and become overcome with the bitter cold. However, no trace of him was found.
An arson investigator determined that the fire had been deliberately set with gasoline. The driver's seat was also pushed back. Dexter, being a man of small stature, would have needed to set it up as far possible. Measuring the position, police determined a man who had a minimum height of 6 feet was driving the car. It appeared that someone had forcibly taken Dexter to another location, drove the car back to the rest stop, and set it on fire to destroy evidence.
The sheriff tried to determine the chronology of events leading up to the fire. At around 8am on November 18, custodian Fred Siegle arrived for work at the rest stop. He noticed a pickup truck parked there, but nobody was around. At 8:45am, Clyde Mitchell, a Montana state highway supervisor, arrived at the rest stop. He saw both Fred's pickup and the other one, which was a Chevy. He decided to get a better look at the latter. He noticed that it had Arizona license plates and was a four-wheel drive Chevy with blue trim and a cow catcher on the front. He left at 9:15am to complete his rounds.
At 9:30am, as Fred was about to leave the rest stop, Dexter's car pulled in. The unknown driver exited it, carrying two large plastic containers. Fred asked him if he needed any help, but he declined, saying that he had just run out of gas but was able to get some. Fred noticed that he was about 6'0", between 35 and 40 years of age, light-complected and clean shaven. Less than a half hour later, Dexter's car was discovered on fire.
Four months after Dexter's disappearance, a local couple named Bill and Cindy Shaw went to a remote landfill seventeen miles from the rest stop. While looking around, Cindy found a wallet; Bill suggested that it may have been Dexter's. They felt suspicious, so they decided to look around some more. They found several items of men's clothing and belongings. When Bill found a boot, he looked up and saw a man's foot sticking out from under a mattress.
The body was identified as Dexter's; he was shot twice in the head. He also had injuries on his head, hands, and throat. His suitcase was also found with large amounts of money inside, so it seemed that robbery was an unlikely motive. Also, the clothing that was placed around the landfill was his, and it appeared that it was placed there just days before it was found. However, his body seemed to be there since the day he vanished.
One week after Dexter's body was found, investigators discovered one final clue: a small line of graffiti written in pencil in the men's bathroom at the rest stop. It began with the words "Hot Jock" and there were other key words that seemed to refer to Dexter's murder. It was suspected that "Hot Jock" may have been a CB handle or nickname for his killer.
The sheriff has attempted to reconstruct Dexter's last hours. He believes that Dexter arrived at the rest stop sometime after 7am on November 19, and that his killer was already there. The sheriff theorizes that the man tried to ask him for help, but because he was hard of hearing, he was unable to figure out what the man was saying. The man may have then become furious and pulled out a gun on him. The sheriff believes the man then abducted Dexter, took him to the landfill, shot him, and then placed his body under the mattress. The man then returned to the rest stop and set Dexter's car on fire to destroy any evidence.
To this date, Dexter's killer is still at large. The main clues in this case are the description of his vehicle, his description, and the mysterious message that he may have left.

Dexter's killer's vehicle

Suspects: Witnesses recall seeing a light-complected and clean shaven man carrying two large plastic containers to Dexter's car. He was described as about 6'0", between the ages of 35 and 40 in 1985. This person could have been driving a white Chevy 4X4 with a blue horizontal stripe and a white camper shell with an Arizona license plate in a Phoenix license plate holder.
Investigators noted that the landfill was very remote. It was off a dirt road fifteen miles from Glendive. It was also used by very few people. This led them to believe that Dexter's killer was most likely familiar with the area.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the April 12, 1989 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Investigators later released the full message written at the rest stop: "HOT JOCK SHOT WAD FROM WISCONSIN 11/85 SATURDAY THE 3rd". However, no new leads came from it. Under hypnosis, Clyde Mitchell told investigators that the first three numbers of Dexter's killer's license plate were: 147. Investigators were able to narrow down his vehicle to less than sixty different owners. However, they were unable to determine if any of them were him. This case is still being investigated, but there are few leads.
Fred Siegle died in 1997 at the age of 81.