’20 years is too long’: The tragic anniversary of Pamela Dunn’s disappearance

Local News

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) – It’s been two decades now since Pamela Dunn went missing from her home in Watertown. Her family, and investigators, are still hunting for answers.

A sign sits on Deb Tarnowski’s lawn in Watertown as a reminder of her sister.

“You know, 20 years is too long, you know, without answers, without closure. That’s all that we want,” Tarnowski, Pam Dunn’s sister, said.

In December 2001, investigators were sent to Pam Dunn’s Watertown home after she didn’t show up for work. Police found her car and her purse, but Dunn had disappeared.

“Somebody out there knows and can let somebody know where she is,” Tarnowski said. “That’s all we want.”

In 2007, Dunn’s ex-boyfriend, Dave Asmussen was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping her. But the question of where she is still remains.

“You know, I would really hope Dave would step up and take ownership in this and come forward with what happened and tell exactly what happened and let the family know, let us know where Pam is at,” Captain Chad Stahl, Watertown Police Department, said. “We can get resolution for them. I don’t know if he will ever do that. In domestic relationships and situations like that, it’s a power and control thing and that’s exactly what he’s trying to do is still hold power and control over Pam.”

Captain Chad Stahl with the Watertown Police Department says they still follow-up on any leads they get in this cold case. Just last year they got a tip about a well on an abandoned farm in Deuel County, however, the bones excavated did not belong to a human.

Tarnowski says the best Christmas present for her family would be answers.

“We need that closure. We need to find where her remains are so that, you know, we can have a proper funeral, memorial, whichever you want to call it,” Tarnowski said. “We need that and 20 years is long enough to wait. Like I said, if anybody has our answers, please come forward.”

In 2012, Tarnowski created a Facebook page called ‘In Memory of Pamela Dunn.’

She invites anyone who knew Pam to share their stories there.

And anyone who might have answers to what happened 20 years ago should contact the Watertown Police Department.

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