Two murders four months apart in 1985 shocked everyone in Clifton, Texas. Judy Whitley and Mickey Bryan were both victims of brutal killings that have raised many questions regarding the outcome over the years. Dennis Dunlap, a police officer who worked in Clifton when Judy was killed, was later believed to be her killer. Then, circumstantial evidence also pointed to him being possibly involved in Mickey’s death. ’20/20′ on ABC delves into how Dennis could have been connected to Mickey’s case. So, if you’re curious about what happened to Dennis, we’ve got you covered.
Who Was Dennis Dunlap?
Dennis Dunlap joined the Clifton Police Department just months before 17-year-old Judy Whitley was murdered. He had previously gone on a date with Judy’s sister, Patricia. Then, it was Dennis who broke the news of Judy’s death to her family. But Patricia suspected that Dennis had more at stake because he seemed to know a lot about the case despite not being the lead investigator. She later said, “He was always there. It seemed like he would just show up out of nowhere all the time. I felt like now that I look back on it, I just feel like he was watching.”
About a month or so after the murder, Dennis quit his job and left Clifton. Then, in October 1985, Mickey Bryan was shot to death in her bedroom, for which her husband, Joe, was later convicted. However, Judy’s case remained unsolved. Dennis, though, remained a questionable figure within the context of that case. It later came to light that he had confided in some of his associates regarding his involvement in Judy’s murder. Dennis seemingly had information that only the killer could have known. He talked about how he handcuffed her and listened to her struggling to breathe as she died.
One of Dennis’ ex-wives mentioned that he told her about some specific details of Judy’s murder. She also claimed that he was unpredictable and dangerous, stating that Dennis threatened to disfigure her and once shot her kids’ rabbits to death. Other women talked of his allegedly troubling behavior. A victim said he once tried to follow her home in his police cruiser. Another woman told the police that Dennis reportedly choked her when she refused to have sex with him.
How Did Dennis Dunlap Die?
On April 12, 1996, Dennis’ girlfriend alerted the authorities to his suicide. The 49-year-old had been living in Rosenberg, Texas, working as a maintenance man. Dennis had hanged himself in the garage of his home. His death precipitated the revival of the investigation into Judy’s death, with the authorities declaring in June 1999 that they believed he was responsible.
Furthermore, Joe Bryan’s lawyers also believed Dennis was a possible suspect in Mickey’s death. According to his ex-wife, he talked about dating Mickey and dropping her home on the day she was murdered. There was other evidence in the form of a police officer’s notes that pointed to Dennis being in Clifton around the time of Mickey’s slaying.
Read More: How Did Judy Whitley Die?