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Dawn Marlene Allen, 50, was reported missing to the Carroll Police Department in Carroll, Iowa, on May 4, 2011, after she failed to show up for work as a manager for a local Subway.
Allen’s boss said she had worked at the Carroll Subway for 21 years and had never been late or missed work.
Allen — who has brown hair but had it dyed blonde and wore it spiked — was last seen at her home on Wednesday, May 4, about 8:30 p.m. wearing bright blue knit pants and a multi-colored shirt. She was described as about 5 feet 2 inches tall, weight approximately 140 pounds.
Allen’s white 2001 Chevrolet Blazer was recovered in the parking lot of the Piranha Club — a nightclub in Carroll — the morning after she disappeared. Neither the vehicle nor her home revealed any sign of a struggle.
Officers obtained the Carroll woman’s cell phone records, which showed her phone had been used about 3:30 a.m. Thursday but then turned off a few hours later.
Police eventually focused on James Snovelle, a man Allen had been dating and who police thought might have information about her whereabouts. But then on May 9 as police closed in on Snovelle in rural Coffey County, Kansas, he committed suicide by shooting himself.
“There’s a very strong suspicion that he is involved or was involved,” said Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler. “We don’t have anything that would indicate there is any other explanation at this point.”
Police did not, Cayler said, believe Snovelle took Allen with him to Kansas. Instead, they felt Allen had been left somewhere in one of the seven counties because that was the route he’d taken when he drove from Carroll to his home in Rolfe on May 5.
Police said the 54-year-old Snovelle, who was married, had no records of violence in his past.
Allen’s son, Gregg Taylor, told KCCI on May 12 that the not knowing and wondering what happened to his mother kept him awake at night thinking about it. Another concern he had was how to respond to his children — including his four-year-old — who kept asking, “Where’s Grandma?”
Officials met on Friday, May 20, to discuss search strategies with a focus on the seven county region in western Iowa. In addition to law enforcement, those present included individuals from the respective fire departments, county conservation, the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Authorities in Carroll, Sac, Greene, Guthrie, Calhoun, Pocahontas and Palo Alto counties asked residents to look in wooded areas, waterways, ditches, buildings, and any other areas where someone may have hidden or disposed of evidence.
On May 25, Dawn Allen’s friends announced a prayer vigil was being planned for that weekend. The candle light vigil for Allen was set up at Graham Park at 8 p.m., where those attending prayed for Allen’s family and also prayed that searchers would bring home their friend.
Two months after Dawn Allen disappeared, police told KCCI in Des Moines there were no new clues in the case. Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler said they’d worked with the other law enforcement agencies throughout the seven counties and had conducted extensive searches for the Carroll woman.
Unfortunately, Cayler told KCCI, the searches hadn’t yielded any clues and investigators had exhausted all search options. The only thing left, he said, was to wait for someone to come forward with information or some kind of evidence that would lead to a break in the case. Otherwise, he said there was nothing more police could do.
Allen has three tattoos: one of her right ankle in the shape of a bracelet/charm; one on the back right shoulderblade of a Tinkerbell; and one on the front waistline. Her ears are double pierced in both ears.
She wore a silver watch with a black clockface and diamond at the 12 spot and a silver/white gold ring with a solitare diamond about 3 karats in size. She carried with her a large bright orange purse, and also was taking blood pressure medication.
If you have any information related to the whereabouts of Dawn Allen, please call the Carroll Police Department at 712-792-3536 or contact Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Laura Myers at 712-252-0507.