The Dana Rosendale Ohio cold case, and its reopening, three decades later, as a murder investigation, is one of the most famous in the state’s history. Now, NBC’s Dateline offers its own investigation into the fascinating case, including the reconsideration of details that didn’t add up after Rosendale’s death in 1982. The 30+ year-old crime would likely have never been solved were it not for intrepid findings of Brittany Stork, Rosendale’s daughter, who almost single-handedly got authorities to reclassify her mother’s death as a homicide.
To begin with, here’s a summary of the case, courtesy of the Ohio Attorney General’s office. Early in the morning of September 5th, 1982, 19-year-old Dana Rosendale was found unconscious and lying in the right-of-way on a residential street in Norwood OH, just outside of Toledo. Police were notified, at 3:32 AM, by a man who’d called them after asking to use the phone in the trailer across the street from where Dana was lying. The man, a bouncer from Toledo named Russell Adkins, told police he had given Dana and her friend Roxy Pelow a ride home from South Side Roxy, a Toledo rock club. Adkins dropped Pelow off in Michigan, then doubled back and headed toward Rosendale’s house. On the way, said, Adkins, Rosendale fell out of his car. Six days later, on September 11th, Dana died from her injuries. “The subsequent autopsy,” per the Attorney General’s summary, “revealed she died of craniocerebral injuries, due to blunt force trauma to the right side of the head.”