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The violent death of a beloved teenage pageant queen in her college room is a cold case that has rattled the small town of Russellville, Arkansas for nearly two decades.

Nona Dirksmeyer was beaten, bludgeoned, and stabbed to death inside her apartment days before her 20th birthday  in 2005. 

The beauty pageant contestant and soprano singer was attending Arkansas Tech University when she was found dead in her off-campus housing, Inglewood Apartments, when her boyfriend found her naked body in a pool of her own blood.

And, despite police establishing two main suspects and prosecutors conducting three full trials in a bid to pin down the killer, no one has been held accountable for her murder. 

Her murder is set to be examined in NBC’s Dateline new podcast, Murder in Apartment 12, which will be released on September 26.  

Nona Dirksmeyer was beaten, bludgeoned, and stabbed to death inside her off-campus college apartment days before her 20th birthday in December 2005 – however, no one has ever been convicted of her horrific murder

The first suspect was her long-term boyfriend, Kevin Jones, who was acquitted after a trial. They had been dating for four and a half years, and he was the person who found her body in December 2005

Gary Dunn was twice charged and tried in the murder case of Nona Dirksmeyer, but both times the jury was hung. He was a free man, until he tried to kidnap another Arkansas beauty queen and was sentenced to 15 years in prison

The first suspect was her long-term boyfriend, Kevin Jones, who was acquitted. 

The second suspect was Gary Dunn, her neighbor, whose two murder trials ended in hung juries. 

Dunn is now, ironically, sitting in jail for his unnerving encounter with a different beauty queen in the Arkansas same town. 

But justice for 19-year-old Nona has never been served. 

On December 15, 2005, a condom wrapper was found a few feet away from Nona’s bloodied, naked body inside her college apartment. 

The only clothing she was wearing was small, white socks. It was believed that her head had been smashed with a heavy base of a lamp lying nearby.

She had been punched in the face so hard it caused bruising on her brain, and she had shallow stab wounds all over her neck and shoulders. 

Nona had also been strangled to the point her hyoid bone in her neck was broken.

Her boyfriend Kevin Jones, who went to a different college and came to visit Nona in December, became worried when he couldn’t reach her that day. 

He went to her apartment with his mother, because the pair were about to head off to the mom’s Christmas party, and his friend Ryan. 

They saw her body through the sliding glass patio door, which had not been properly locked.

Dirksmeyer, a former beauty pageant contestant and soprano singer, was attending Arkansas Tech University was found dead in her off-campus apartment in 2005

Justice for 19-year-old Nona has never been served. She is pictured during her beauty queen days

Janice Jones, Dirksmeyer’s boyfriend’s mother, was the person to make the haunting 911 call. She said: ‘My son’s girlfriend. I think she’s dead. There’s been a terrible accident.’

In an audio clip, Kevin Jones can be heard repeatedly pleading: ‘I didn’t do it.’ 

Kevin and Nona had met at kindergarten in Little Dover and during their four and a half year relationship, Nona was ‘part of their family,’ his father Hiram previously told Dateline.

On the morning of her death, Nona had sent her boyfriend a text message: ‘Good morning cuddle muffin. I love you and hope you have a great day.’ 

It was later in the day when she stopped answering his calls that he knew something was wrong. He sent her a text: ‘You alive?’ 

When he made his way to her apartment to check on her, he saw her body and rushed inside. There was blood on her face and a puddle of blood underneath her head. Kevin desperately tried to perform CPR, and lifted her in his arms to hold her.

Nona’s mother Carol Dirksmeyer later said she wished she had found her daughter, so that she could have held her for the last time. 

When Carol arrived at the scene, crime tape was already up and the police investigation had started. 

Nona was a beautiful soprano singer – a skill she showed off at the pageant competitions 

Kevin Jones, left, walks with his parents, Hiram Jones, second from right, and his mother Janice Jones. He was put on trial – but was found not guilty – of murdering his girlfriend. His mother Janice was with him when he found her dead body, and made the 911 call

Carol, left, mother of Nona Dirksmeyer and her husband Duane Dipert speak to the media during a news conference, Friday, March 31, 2006

Kevin was called in for questioning twice, and the second time was subject to a polygraph test that the examiner said he failed miserably. 

He was then arrested on March 31, 2006 for the murder of his girlfriend. 

At first, police and prosecutors argued that it was Kevin’s DNA and fingerprints on the lamp that had been hit over Nona’s head – but this was soon debunked.

The defense also asked to see Nona’s cellphone, which had had the battery removed during the murder, as they argued there could be evidence on it.

But the state admitted that they had given the cellphone to Nona’s stepfather, Duane Dipert, who had completely erased its content. He denied it was done out of any malice. 

It also turned out that the ‘examiner’ who had administered the polygraph test on Kevin was not a real examiner, and the test was just to get him to confess to the crime. 

After an intense trial in 2007, and eight hours of deliberation, the jury unanimously decided that Kevin Jones was not guilty. 

Jones, Nona’s boyfriend, seen being interviewed by police on December 21, 2005, days after her death. He was subject to a polygraph test – which was run by someone who was not a certified expert

This photo, released by the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, shows Kevin Jones, then 20, in a police booking photo Friday, March 31, 2006. He was arrested for murder and went to trial – but he was eventually found not guilty because of the lack of evidence

Jones, speaking to Dateline, said: ‘I know exactly what it feels like to have people think you did something that you didn’t do, and I wouldn’t ever wish that on anyone else. 

‘I still sometimes have dreams with her in it… and it’s like she’s right there.’ 

After failing to convict Jones, investigators turned their attention to another person of interest – Gary Dunn. He lived in the same building complex as her, and had a criminal history. 

Prosecutors charged Dunn, and said that there was DNA evidence linking him to the crime. They said that he raped or tried to rape Nona, before killing her. 

But two separate trials ended with deadlocked juries – and Dunn was released. 

By chance, 13 years after the death of Nona Dirksmeyer, Gary Dunn was arrested again in December 2018 on charges of attempted kidnapping. 

He was on parole for a separate case at the time. 

Ironically, it was another Arkansas beauty queen that was harassed by Dunn who helped put him behind bars.  

Rylie Wagner, who was at Arkansas Tech University, the same college Nona had attended over a decade earlier, noticed that Dunn was following her in his car on day. 

Rylie Wagner, who was at Arkansas Tech University, the same college Nona had attended over a decade earlier, noticed that Dunn was following her in his car on day

This is the car that Gary Dunn used to stalk, block in, and try to kidnap two women in. It was later revealed that he had ropes and knives in his vehicle. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail for the crime

It was after Rylie Wagner and another woman reported Dunn’s behavior that he got put behind bars – but not for the murder of Nona 18 years earlier – instead, for attempted kidnapping

Wagner recalled to KATV: ‘I remember thinking to myself how absurd it was because of closely he was following me. And that’s when I started paying attention to the kind of vehicle he was driving and I noticed it was a man in the car. 

‘And I really just started observing everything because I had a feeling that something wasn’t right.’

He blocked her car into a spot in a parking lot and forced her to get out of the car. It was later revealed that he had ropes and knives in his vehicle.

She said: ‘That’s when he tried to force me out of the car and told me get out of the car. For a moment I froze and I wasn’t sure what to do because everything was happening so fast, it was so surreal. I was in shock.

‘And he kept trying to open my car door, but I had already locked it as he was approaching my vehicle.’  

She started calling 911 and he fled the scene, but just 17 minutes later, police received a second call from another woman who had also nearly been forced into a car by the same man.

Dunn was arrested for attempted kidnapping. He was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, but has only had to serve a third of that sentence.

Prosecutors decided to not to try to Dunn for a third time in the murder of Nona Dirksmeyer.

Her murder case is therefore still open, with no conviction.

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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