Murder of Dawn Magyar

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Dawn Magyar
Dawn Magyar.jpg
Born Dawn Lee Swan Magyar
(1952-03-28)March 28, 1952
Died January 27, 1973 (1973-01-28) (aged 20)
Cause of death
Gunshot wounds
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Known for Murder victim

The Murder of Dawn Lee Swan Magyar occurred on 27 January 1973. She had been abducted, raped, and shot three times.[citation needed] The case was resolved 28 years after her body was found.


Magyar was born Dawn Lee Swan on 28 March 1952 in Michigan, United States. She was married and had one child.[citation needed]


Magyar was abducted when she was grocery shopping on 27 January 1973. A day later, she was reported missing by her husband, and 4,000 people volunteered to search for her. The truck that belonged to Magyar was later found in a parking lot close to Owosso, Michigan on 28 January.[1] On 4 March of the same year, her body was discovered in Saginaw County, Michigan[1] shot three times in the head and back with a .22 caliber gun. A .22 caliber revolver was found in a nearby river in June 1974 and was believed to be the murder weapon.[2] The gun was traced to a pawn shop in Yuma, Arizona where a man named Robert Shaw purchased it in 1965 but was unable to be located. Magyar's wallet and identification were found in 1976 near the same river.[citation needed]


2005 mugshot of Jerald Wingeart

In 1994, police decided to reopen the case. DNA analysis was then performed from the sperm specimens found with Magyar's corpse.[citation needed] In 1998, The gun's owner was located, and told authorities that the gun had indeed belonged to him, but he claimed it had been lost many years before. He was later cleared by DNA testing. He was able to provide information that a man who his previous wife had known may have been involved in the murder named Jerald Leroy Wingeart.[citation needed] On 7 March 2001, Wingeart, aged sixty, was arrested and charged for the murder after analysis of his DNA matched that found at the scene of the crime was matched to saliva found on cigarettes he had used.[2] Wingeart had a prior arrest record: in 1961, Wingeart was convicted of robbing and raping a woman. He was paroled in 1967 and released on 7 December 1969.[3][1] It is also believed that Wingeart murdered and raped a sixteen year old girl in 1979. The case was dismissed due to errors in evidence retrieval.[1]

On 27 November 2001, Wingeart was found guilty. He was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.[citation needed]

In media[edit]

Magyar's case was detailed in TruTV's television series, The Investigators, titled "The Disappearance of Dawn".[2][4] Another television series, Cold Case Files also documented the story, titled "Snatched".[5] The 2003 film, An Ordinary Killer was based on Magyar's murder as well as other rapes in the area. The film has received negative reviews.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Hornus, Tony (8 March 2001). "Dawn Magyar murder suspect was arrested by police March 7". The Argus-Press. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Boston, Gabriella (24 August 2002). "Court TV Puts Case to Public; Forensic Choices on 'I, Detective'.". The Washington Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Cold Case: Dawn Lee Swan Magyar Murder". My Life of 14 September 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Investigators TV Guide Season 3". 
  5. ^ "Dawn Lee Swan Magyar Murdered". My Life of Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "An Ordinary Killer". Retrieved 18 April 2014.