Dale Hay

Dale Hay, who was 34, lived in a small town in California with his son and girlfriend. Weldon is a peaceful town with fewer than 2,700 people. It is in the Kern Valley mountains. Weldon is busy and lively during the day, but at night it is quiet and empty.

On January 3, 2006, Dana Dostal, Dale’s girlfriend, was on her way home from her job at a bank in Lake Isabella. Dana was driving down a lonely part of Kelso Creek Road when she saw another driver acting strangely in their pickup truck. “I saw a truck that looked like it was stopped. It was moving slowly, but it looked like it had stopped, so I caught up to it. It wasn’t moving much, so I passed it. And as I started to go around some of the curves, I saw bright lights in my rearview mirror.”

The sun had already set, and there were no streetlights along the road, so it was hard for Dana to make out the face of the person driving. “All I can think of are the bright lights behind me… I couldn’t see, so I slowed down very slowly. The truck went around me and stopped in front of me. It felt like a game of “cat and mouse.” If I went a little faster, he would be right behind me. If I sped up, he wouldn’t be able to pass me. He just followed me.”

Dana got away from the strange driver because she was afraid for her safety. Dana thought for a moment that her plan to get rid of the driver had worked. She didn’t see the car again until she got home and pulled into her driveway. Dana walked quickly up the stairs to her home’s front door. Willie, Dale’s 9-year-old son, went outside to let Dana in by opening the front gate. Willie says that when they saw the driver, he drove away.

Once inside, Dana told Dale in tears about the scary experience. Their fears were put to rest, though, when they realised how safe their home was. In the meantime, the couple did their usual things at night. Dale was making dinner while Dana did laundry, and time went by. But later in the evening, a bright light flashed through the family’s window and ruined their quiet evening. The driver came back.

Dale went outside. At first, the driver took off quickly. Dana remembers, “He [Dale] said he’d seen the lights flashing in our front window, like the guy was making fun of the house. He said that they weren’t just blaring, but also flashing. After ten minutes, the driver came back again. The windows started to get lit up by headlights. Dale was angry, so he went outside a second time to talk to the stalker. Dana didn’t see Dale leave because she was still doing laundry. Willie had told her that Dale had left in his Jeep. Since the driver made a habit of leaving when someone from inside the house came out, it is likely that Dale followed the driver after he left.

Dana and Willie started to watch a movie together while they waited for Dale to come back. But Dana got worried when “too much of the movie had gone by” and Dale was still nowhere to be seen. Dana and Willie got in a car and went looking for Dale. Dale’s Jeep was stuck against a fence. Dana had only gone about a mile from her house when she found it. Dale had been killed by a shot to the face while he was still driving.

It is thought that the driver who started following Dana on her way home from work killed Dale. Dale didn’t have any known enemies, and he and his wife lived a quiet, peaceful life. Willie and Dana both agree that Dale didn’t say anything to suggest that he knew the person who was making fun of his family.

As was already said, Weldon is a lonely place. Bakersfield is 50 miles away and is the city that is closest. It doesn’t seem likely that someone would just happen to be in Weldon. Dana said, “That kind of thing doesn’t happen in a town where everyone knows each other. No one can leave. You can’t rob that bank because there’s an entrance and an exit, and you’ll get caught. I kind of thought that way, too. You can’t get out of the valley because it’s surrounded by mountains, so why would anyone want to break the law here?

The suspect’s car is described as a full-size, light-colored pickup truck with a camper shell that is also light in colour. The truck didn’t look like it was lifted, and the camper shell may have been taken off after the murder.

The case went cold, which is bad. Authorities looked into every possible lead, but nothing useful turned up. Dale’s daughter, Kelli Harrison, called the police 13 years later to try to find out what happened. Kelli was upset to find out that the case wasn’t being looked into right now and that nothing new had been learned about it since 2006.

Kelli and her siblings are still looking for answers as adults. They want to find out who killed their devoted and loving father. Dale’s kids will always think of him and keep looking for justice. Since then, Dana told Dale’s story in an interview with Bakersfield news for the first time in 13 years. Dana also hopes that Dale’s case will be solved one day. “Justice for Dale Hay,” a Facebook page, says that the case has been given to a detective in 2018.

Dale Hay’s case has not been solved as of 2023.

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