This week Gone examines the case of Dena Raley-McCluskey who went missing in 1999 and was never seen alive again.
Modesto, Cal., October 10, 1999, and 36-year-old Dena Raley-McCluskey goes missing from home she shared with her friend Russell Todd Jones.
Her boyfriend reported her missing a few days later and her car was found unlocked parked on a street in the town, her purse and keys were not in the car.
However, despite extensive enquiries and a widespread search the case eventually went cold and remained so for eight year. It was not until 2007 that a body was found buried in a shallow grave and identified as belonging to the missing woman.
Jones was soon arrested as the body had been discovered in the ground of his parent’s property and police suspected he was responsible.
When the case went to court in 2011 Jones and was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He’d originally been charged with murder but the body was so decomposed that the exact way Dena had died could not be determined. He told police that they’d had an argument over a $20 bar bill and he’d punched her.
When she’d died from the blow he said that panic set in and he thought nobody would believe him. Instead of seeking help or calling the police he dug a 3 foot grave, covered her body in a tarp and poured petrol on it to keep animals away. He also visited the grave every year to make sure it had not been disturbed.
The judge sentenced him to the maximum 11 years allowed for the crime and Dena’s mother told Jones (then 51): “I have buried pets better than you buried my daughter. You tossed Dena in a hole and poured gasoline on her.”
Gone airs on Mondays at 9:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.