Dana Rosendale died after she was found unconscious on a quiet street in Ohio more than three decades ago. Dateline NBC will bring you her story this weekend in the episode titled, “On A Lonely Road.” For years, Dana Rosendale’s daughter, Brittany Stork, had fought to find out what really happened to her mother that night. When her mother’s death was finally ruled a homicide, it put to rest her long-held suspicions that her death was no accident. Brittany will tell Dateline NBC her story, along with Northwood Police investigators who finally cracked the unsolved case. The killer, Russell Adkins, was convicted of the murder.
September, 1982: Car Accident or Murder?
A club bouncer knocked on a resident’s door begging for someone to call the police for a woman he found on the side of the road. After paramedics were dispatched to the location, they transported the victim, identified as 19-year-old Dana Rosendale, to the local hospital. She died days later.
WTOL retraced Dana Rosendale’s movements that night.
“Dana and her friend, Roxy Pelow, reaccepted a ride home from the club’s bouncer, Russell Adkins. What happened after that is unclear. The other woman (Roxy Pelow) was dropped off in Michigan and then Dana came back down here. Here was Dana’s apartment on the corner of Felt Street on Toledo’s east side. But Dana never made it there. Instead, she was found unconscious alongside Tracy Road. The call about Dana’s body came in at 3:23 a.m. as a hit and run.”
Russell Adkins, the man who alerted the neighbor to call for help, told police that he found Dana Rosendale at the scene, but later admitted that Dana was in his truck and had fallen out because she was heavily intoxicated after a night of drinking at the club.
A Death Undetermined
The cause of Dana Rosendale’s death was listed as blunt force trauma in the first autopsy. But how she received the injuries couldn’t be determined. The coroner found that the head injuries were inconsistent with those she would have sustained if she had fallen out of a vehicle.
These troubling facts gnawed at the victim’s daughter, who was just a baby at the time of her mother’s death. Brittany Stork had always heard that it was a freak accident, but somehow it seemed that someone was hiding the truth. She took up the investigation for herself and hounded investigators to reopen the case.
Her wish was finally granted and Dana Rosendale’s body was exhumed. A second autopsy made the determination that Dana Rosendale’s death was caused by homicide. The investigators’ prime suspect in the case was none other than Russell Adkins, the last person to see her alive. To police, his story never made sense and never lined up with the evidence.
Fifty-six-year-old Russell Adkins was eventually arrested and charged with murder. Friends and family members of the aging bouncer were shocked and appalled by the indictment. A Facebook page was erected to offer support for him. In 2016, more than 30 years after Dana Rosendale’s death, a jury convicted Russell Adkins of murder. He is currently serving a life sentence.
The sentence did bring closure to the case. Although Brittany Stork will forever be robbed of the memories that could have been created with her mother, Stork told WTOL.
“Do I remember her touch? No. Do I remember her scent? No. I have no memories of my mom but from a picture I keep of her on my mantle.”
The resolution of the case can be credited to the hard work of Northwood detectives and a loyal and loving daughter who never gave up trying to get justice for her mother.
For more information, watch Dateline NBC this Friday, October 7, at 9/8 p.m. Central. Each week, Inquisitr brings you the latest murder case to be profiled on Dateline NBC. The previous episode covered the case of Nick Hillary.
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