Kimberly Dunkin, the 30-year old Portland, Oregon, mother who went missing and was later found murdered in her car on New Year’s Day over two decades ago, is the next case to air on Motives And Murders: Cracking the Case.
The Investigation Discovery show spotlights cold-case crimes that have gone unsolved, until there is a major break in the case. In Thursday night’s episode entitled, “Somebody Knows,” police are on the trail of a killer after a mother’s night out to bring in the New Year, ends in her strange death. Kimberly Dunkin’s case will feature cold-case detectives, news reporters, and possibly family members to speak about her murder. The killer was pastor Brad Ballantyne, according to KPTV.
Kimberly Dunkin disappeared in January 1993. She was last seen at a party in Oregon, where she expected to celebrate the New Year. Her husband reported her missing after she failed to return home as planned. According to him, he stayed up all night waiting for her and feared the worst by day break. Authorities say he had every reason to fear.
Her body was found by a passerby in the 4900 block NE Skidmore St. in Portland early the next morning. The person originally believed that it was someone just taking a rest from a hard night of partying. However, when he saw the same car in the same position hours later, he contacted authorities. It was then that they discovered a white woman in her 30s deceased in the front seat of her vehicle. She had a gunshot wound to the head, an autopsy report would later confirm. The woman was later identified as 30-year old Kimberly Jean Dunkin.
In retracing the missing mother’s steps detectives learned from her husband that they had both been invited to a New Year’s Eve party, but that he was unable to go with her since he was recovering from a back injury. Kimberly Dunkin seemed like a woman who loved her children and her husband very much, but as a stay at home mom, she felt the need to let off a little steam. Mr. Dunkin told detectives that he had no problem with his wife going out, but that it was unusual for her to stay out all night without any word.
People who attended the party stated that Kimberly Dunkin left around 3:30 a.m. Police had been directed to investigate a man with mental issues as a person of interest, but he was eventually ruled out. Then, they thought that maybe a gang member had targeted her, since before her own death she had witnessed the death of another person who was killed by street thugs. Could someone have been seeking revenge? Police thought that angle was possible, but it never brought about any viable leads. After a few months, there were no suspects and no clues, and the case of Kimberly Dunkin had gone completely cold.
By 2008, the family wanted justice, so the police decided to take another look at the case. After a press conference was held to bring about more information, a new lead was brought before detectives. They learned that an inmate with a pending case was ready to tell who had committed the murder, if it would mean less time for him.
The inmate revealed that Brad Ballantyne had done it. Sure enough, when investigators delved into Brad’s background, they found that he was a violent and aggressive man who had engaged in a lot of fights and criminal activities, since his teens. But, 15 years later, they were looking at a very different man–a man who was now a minister and preacher at a local church.
Eventually, Brad Ballantyne was ready to talk to police about what transpired that night. In his confession, he revealed that during the early morning hours, he spotted Kim Dunkin at a convenience store. He also noticed that she was carrying a lot of cash, so he followed her to her car. Once Kimberly saw him, she felt annoyed and said something to him that Ballantyne thought was disrespectful, prompting him to take out his gun and shoot her. Kimberly Dunkin’s daughter and sister couldn’t believe that they had lost their loved one over something so minor. Brad Ballantyne was taken into custody and charged with the murder of Kimberly Dunkin.
To see how a deck of playing cards helped detectives solve the case of Kimberly Dunkin, check out Motives And Murders: Cracking the Case this Thursday, April 21 at 9/8 p.m. central on ID.
[image via Portland Police/Facebook]