Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Troubling Disappearance of Air Force Nurse Nonnie Dotson


Nonnie Dotson, 33, was reported missing on Nov. 19, 2006, just three days after arriving in Littleton, Colo., from her home in San Antonio, Texas. According to her brother, Tony Dotson, she had spent the previous evening out with friends at the Grizzly Rose Saloon and Dance Emporium, where she had stayed until midnight before returning to his house.

Nonnie Dotson
Nonnie Dotson
Nonnie spent the following morning surfing the Internet, and in the afternoon she told Tony she was going to the Jefferson Village shopping center, just a few minutes away from Tony's home, to catch up with old friends. Nonnie left her 16-month-old toddler, Savannah, with Tony and walked out the door at 2:00 p.m. That was the last time anyone saw her.

On Nov. 24, 2006, CNN News' Nancy Grace interviewed Jefferson County Sheriff's Department media spokesperson Jim Shires about Nonnie's disappearance. Shires discussed the search for Nonnie's missing cell phone, which police had been able to trace to a field by C-470 and South Kipling Parkway. The field is located not far from Nonnie's brother's house and is on the way to the shopping center where she was supposed to meet her friends.

Jim Shires
Jim Shires

"We tried three or four times to, as they say, 'triangulate' where that cell phone was and we came up to the same location each time we did that," Shires said. "That field, that area where that phone was supposedly located at, and had not moved for three days until, we believe, (the) battery went dead, has been walked by our K-9 units, many of our employees here, investigators here [and] sheriff's deputies."

The following day, Shires told Crime Library that investigators had been able to pinpoint the last signal from the cell phone to a thirty-foot area within the three- to four-acre field. When asked how he thought the phone might have ended up there, Shires said the initial assumption was that it might have been thrown there.

In an interview with The Denver Post, Nonnie's brother, Beau Dotson, said he did not understand how his sister could have disappeared without a trace.

"I don't see how someone can disappear in the middle of the day going to the store," Dotson said. "Someone has to know something."

Dotson also did not believe his sister vanished voluntarily, especially without taking her daughter with her.

Nonnie with daughter Savannah
Nonnie with daughter Savannah

"She adored her daughter," he said. "She meant everything to her, she would never leave her behind."


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