Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Daniel Remeta: On the Road to Destruction

Daniel and Lisa

Daniel Eugene Remeta and Lisa Dunn met at a party in Traverse City, Michigan in December 1984. They moved in together shortly after their fateful meeting, although at first glance, they were an unlikely pair. Remeta was the product of alcoholic parents and had been maltreated much of his life, while Dunn was — until shortly before they met — a well-cared-for child of an apparently loving middle-class home who excelled in classes and seemed to be on her way to graduating high school, attending college and building a successful life for herself.

Lisa Dunn
Lisa Dunn

Remeta was first adjudicated as a delinquent when he was 13 years old, although there had been numerous run-ins with the law and authority figures before his first appearance in a courtroom. He was of below-average intelligence, had a violent temper and reportedly had only two goals in life: to kill a cop and to become a hit man. Whether it was heredity, environment or dumb luck, Danny Remeta was just plain bad. His first adult conviction came for felony breaking and entering, earning him a 4-year stretch in a Michigan prison. Slightly built, he was, pound for pound, a tough character who managed to earn enough tickets in prison to spend a majority of his first sentence in the hole at Marquette, Michigan's maximum-security facility.

Even before she met Danny Remeta, Lisa Dunn was uncomfortable with the role life assigned her as a college-bound honor student. Her grades slipped, she experimented with drugs and alcohol, and she ran away from home to Florida. Dunn managed to hold it together long enough to graduate from high school and was taking some college courses when she and Remeta hooked up.

He was 27 and she was 18.

Remeta quickly established control over Dunn. In prison, Remeta managed to become a leader of several prisoner protests, which attests to his apparently magnetic personality. In a profile of Remeta, the Detroit News likened him to Charles Manson, crediting him with the "ability to control vulnerable people."

"After he gets them in trouble, then he blackmails them to get them in further," the News quoted one of Remeta's former acquaintances.

Another of the "vulnerable people" who fell under Remeta's control in the cold winter of 1984-1985 was Mark Anthony Walter, the 18-year-old son of a northern Michigan farmer who had recently moved out on his own. Walter, a former altar boy, was well-liked by those who knew him and had never been in any serious trouble. He was a hard-working young man with a full-time job, and a friend of Lisa Dunn's from school.

When the three of them set out in late January 1984 for a Florida vacation, it is unlikely that even in their darkest nightmares did Dunn or Walter envision how the trip would end.

 

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