Lake Sun Leader Archives

 

September 20, 1999

Woman drowns swimming off dock

By Ann Bucy

LAKE OF THE OZARKS - A woman swimming off a dock Saturday became the fifth

drowning victim of 1999 at Lake of the Ozarks.

Donna S. Dyal, 35, of Imperial drowned Saturday evening at the 8-mile

marker in Workman Hollow Cove, according to the Missouri Water Patrol.

Dyal was last seen by her husband at 5:15 p.m. near the dock where she was

swimming. Her husband left, returned an hour later and then couldn't find

her. The woman's towel and shoes were found on the dock.

Her body was found at 7:17 p.m.

According to information provided by the Water Patrol, her body was

discovered underneath a dock by divers from the Lake Ozark Fire Protection

District.

 

October 1, 1999

Just a few questions

By Joyce L. Miller

LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Police are still looking for the brother and father

of a Florida man charged with killing his stepmother at Lake of the

Ozarks. They want to question them about the incident.

Both have been implicated in the drowning death by a confession given to

police by Kevin Dyal of Merritt Island, Fla.

The father and second son have hired attorneys to represent them, but the

whereabouts of the men are unknown.

The Camden County Prosecuting Attorney's office filed murder charges

against Kevin Dyal Wednesday. He is also charged in Florida with

conspiracy to commit murder. The prosecutor declined to comment on the

investigation or the possibility of more charges being filed.

Gregory Dyal, 47, of Imperial, Mo. and Kenneth Dyal, 25, of Verde Vista,

Mo., failed to keep an appointment with investigators on Wednesday.

Kevin Dyal, 25, is expected to waive extradition today. Once that happens,

two officers from the Lake Area Major Case Squad will escort Dyal back to

Missouri to face capital murder charges in Camden County. So far, he is

the only person charged in the alleged murder scheme.

Dyal was arrested earlier this week after being taped by his girlfriend

telling the story of how Donna Dyal, 35, of Imperial, was allegedly

murdered at a lakefront home near the 8-mile marker off Bittersweet Road

on Horseshoe Bend. Gregory and Donna Dyal had been married for three years

and were visiting the lake with their 18-month old son and the two

stepsons celebrating their third anniversary.

Donna Dyal's death was classified as a drowning after her body was

recovered by Lake Ozark Fire Department divers. Dyal's husband reported

her missing around 5 p.m. on Sept. 18. Divers located her body not far

from where Gregory Dyal said he last saw his wife swimming.

Gregory Dyal told Water Patrol officers he had left the house for a few

hours and was concerned when he returned and couldn't find his wife.

Gregory, Kenneth, Kevin and the baby were at the house when the Water

Patrol responded to the 911 call.

Missouri Water Patrol Capt. Bill Swineburg said there were several pieces

of evidence that were not consistent with an accidental drowning.

While the Water Patrol followed up on the evidence and waited for an

autopsy report, the Brevard County, Fla. Sheriff's Department received

information concerning Donna Dyal. They called Jefferson County to ask

police there to check on her less than 48 hours after her body was

recovered.

Both Jefferson County and Brevard County then contacted the Water Patrol.

Brevard County arrested Kevin Dyal after the alleged murder conspiracy

came to light.

In the meantime, the initial autopsy results came back with notations on

possible trauma to the body that could indicate the victim fought or

struggled with someone.

Kevin Dyal's girlfriend, Lori Grounds, also of Merritt Island, Fla., came

forward with the alleged murder plot after Kevin returned to Brevard

County from the lake and shared the story with her. Dyal allegedly told

Grounds about a murder plan that was set in motion more than four months

ago through a series of phone calls between himself, his father and

brother.

Grounds taped Dyal describing how his stepmother struggled while she was

being held under the water "until she stopped breathing." After his

arrest, Dyal recounted the story to the sheriff's department.

Dyal's statement allegedly referred to a pre-arranged signal that was

given when it was time to grab the woman and drown her.

In statements to Brevard County officials, Dyal admitted to taking part in

the murder plot that on the surface appeared to be motivated by proceeds

from a life insurance policy. But, Dyal allegedly told police and his

girlfriend that his father had told him Donna was a "manic depressive" and

he was convinced she was going to kill him.

According to police, there is no evidence to support Dyal's allegation

although there were several incidents of domestic violence at their

Jefferson County home that involved the sheriff's department. No charges

were ever filed, no one was arrested nor were any orders of protection

issued.

On Thursday, police confirmed Donna Dyal was under a physician's care but

declined to give any additional information.

Exactly where the 18-month old baby was during the alleged murder is

unclear. The child has been turned over to a member of Donna Dyal's family

who is seeking legal custody.

 

October 5, 1999

Florida man arraigned for lake drowning

By Joyce L. Miller

CAMDEN COUNTY - A 27-year-old Florida man is behind bars in Camden County

on capital murder charges for allegedly drowning his stepmother during a

weekend outing to Lake of the Ozarks about three weeks ago.

Kevin Dyal waived extradition during a court appearance in Florida late

last week where he was charged with conspiracy to commit murder stemming

from the same case. Dyal was turned over to two officers from the Lake

Area Major Case Squad and brought back to Camden County where he is being

held without bond.

Dyal was arraigned in a Camden County courtroom late Monday afternoon. He

is expected to be represented by a public defender.

Dyal's father and brother are wanted for questioning after being

implicated in the scheme. Both men have hired attorneys and they both have

also missed a scheduled meeting with lake area police last week and

neither has been located.

Dyal was arrested last week in Florida after being taped by his girlfriend

telling the story of how Donna Dyal, 35, of Imperial, Mo., was allegedly

murdered at a Horseshoe Bend lakefront home near the 8-mile marker off

Bittersweet Road. She had been married to Dyal's father, Gregory, for

three years and was visiting the lake with their 18-month old son and two

stepsons.

Dyal's death was officially listed as a drowning after her body was

recovered by Lake Ozark Fire Department divers. Dyal's husband reported

her missing around 5 p.m. on Sept. 18. Divers located her body not far

from where her husband said he had last seen his wife. Gregory Dyal told

Missouri Water Patrol officers he had left the house for a few hours and

was concerned when he returned and couldn't find his wife. Gregory,

Kenneth, Kevin and the baby were at the house when the Water Patrol

responded to the 911 call. Several pieces of evidence caught the Water

Patrol's attention.

While the Water Patrol followed up on the evidence, information about

Donna Dyal surfaced in Florida that led to inquiries in Jefferson County

where Imperial is located. Eventually, that brought the Water Patrol and

Florida officials together working on the investigation.

In the tape turned over to police in Brevard County, Fla., and during

questioning, Kevin Dyal alleges the scheme to murder his stepmother was

set in motion by his father who convinced his son his wife was going to

kill him.

The plans were laid out over the course of several months through a series

of phone calls between the father and sons, he alleged.

The stepson went on to describe how Donna Dyal was held under the water

"until she stopped breathing."

 

 

 

 

October 7, 1999

Father, sons charged in mom murder

By Joyce L. Miller

CAMDEN COUNTY - A father and his two sons sit in lake area jails accused

of drowning the father's wife during a weekend visit to Lake of the Ozarks

three weeks ago.

On Tuesday more than a dozen officers from federal, state and lake area

law enforcement agencies arrested Gregory Dyal, 47, and Kenneth Dyal, 25,

at their homes near St. Louis. The two men have been charged with capital

murder in Camden County and are being held without bond for the drowning

of Donna S. Dyal, 35, on Sept. 18.

Donna Dyal's other stepson, Kevin Dyal, 27, of Merritt Island, Fla., was

arrested late last week in Brevard County on conspiracy to commit murder

charges. He was brought back to Camden County to face prosecution for

murder after waiving extradition in Florida.

All three Dyals face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

Kevin Dyal was linked to his stepmother's death after his girlfriend taped

him telling the story of how he, his father and brother plotted to kill

Donna during a family trip to Lake of the Ozarks. The trip was to be a

celebration of Gregory and Donna Dyal's third wedding anniversary. After

his arrest, Kevin Dyal confessed to the crime and implicated his father

and brother.

Less than 24 hours after the oldest stepson was arrested in Florida,

Gregory and Kenneth failed to keep an appointment with investigators in

Missouri. The day after the Dyals stood up investigators, they sought

legal counsel.

Divers from the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District recovered Donna Dyal's

body under a dock on Horseshoe Bend near the 8-mile marker about two hours

after her husband reported her missing.

Gregory Dyal told police the last time he saw his wife she was swimming

near the dock where her body was found. Her shoes and a towel were found

on the dock.

Dyal said he left the house for a few hours. When he returned and couldn't

find Donna, he called 911.

When the Missouri Water Patrol arrived, Gregory, Kenneth, Kevin were

waiting with the couple's eighteen-month-old baby for officers.

Donna Dyal's death was investigated as a suspicious drowning.

The murder charges were filed against Gregory and Kenneth Wednesday. Court

documents allege the Dyals conspired over several months to drown Donna

Dyal and laid out their plans over the phone.

Earlier this week, investigators visited Scott Air Force Base where

Gregory Dyal worked as a telecommunications officer. He was retired from

the Air Force but continued to work there as a civilian.

Donna Dyal was employed in the engineering field as a draftsman.

Investigators said coworkers described her as nice but said she appeared

to be strained and struggling with the relationship with her husband.

Officers did not release Donna Dyal's place of employment.

According to reports on file with the Jefferson County Sheriff's

Department, deputies were called to the Dyal's home on more than a half

dozen occasions over the last few years to settle domestic disputes.

In Kevin Dyal's statements to police, he said on the surface the murder

scheme looked like it was motivated by collection of a life insurance

policy. However, Kevin said his father convinced him and his brother that

Donna Dyal was a manic depressive and was going to kill him. Police have

found no evidence to support the idea that Donna Dyal was going to kill

her husband.

Police confirmed that Donna Dyal was under a physician's care but declined

to release any additional information about her medical condition.

The couple's baby is in the custody of Donna Dyal's family.

 

 

January 4, 2000

'We held her under until she quit breathing'

Son charged with stepmom's drowning tells tale of conspiracy, intrigue and

murder

By Joyce L. Miller

CAMDEN COUNTY - A father and two sons accused of murdering the father's

fourth wife spun a tale of family tragedy during hearings in Camden County

court Tuesday.

After several hours of testimony that sometimes became emotional, Gregory,

Kevin and Kenneth Dyal were bound over to face capital murder charges and

the possibility of the death penalty for the murder of Donna Dyal, 35, of

Imperial, Mo., on Sept. 18, 1999. She was allegedly drowned by Gregory

Dyal and his two sons during a weekend stay at Lake of the Ozarks.

Donna Dyal's body was recovered in about ten feet of water under a dock at

a lakefront home near the 8-mile marker by divers from the Lake Ozark Fire

Protection District.

Kevin Dyal, 25, formerly of Merritt Island, Fla., confessed to the murder

and implicated his father and brother. He took the witness stand Tuesday

to recount how the alleged murder scheme was carried out.

Kevin said he loved his father more than anything in the world but at the

same time he hated him for what he alleges the three men did to Donna

Dyal.

"I am tired of hiding and I will never be the same person because of what

I had to do, I am a lot better off now because I am able to get it off my

chest," the youngest Dyal told the court after being questioned about his

motives for confessing to the crime. "I want to tell the family that I am

terribly, terribly sorry. Lying isn't doing any good."

Kevin told the court his father mentioned marital problems between his

fourth wife and himself in a series of phone calls as early as January of

1999. Several months later, Kevin alleges his father said he didn't think

he could get out of his marriage without harm coming to him or his

two-year-old son.

Donna Dyal was the stepmother of Kevin and Kenneth and according to

testimony, her behavior toward the children from Gregory Dyal's previous

marriages was strained and she preferred not to have them around.

Kevin claims his father started talking about murdering Donna Dyal several

months before it happened. Gregory allegedly sent Kevin plane tickets to

come home the weekend Donna Dyal was killed. His brother was aware of the

plan and the two briefly discussed it when they met at the St. Louis

airport.

According to testimony, the final plan was set in motion when the Dyals

were all gathered at the lake. Each son was told what they were supposed

to do when the father gave the signal, Kevin alleged.

"We held her under (the water) until she quit breathing," Kevin told the

court. "She was dead. She wasn't breathing, she was face down in the

water. After that I helped my dad drag her over by the dock. Then I went

inside with Kenny and Eric (the baby) to get dressed."

Donna Dyal's body was recovered in the general vicinity that Kevin

described in his testimony. Her sandals and towel were on the dock near

where Gregory Dyal told officers from the Missouri Water Patrol he had

last seen his wife swimming. The initial cause of death was listed as an

accidental drowning.

Shortly after returning to Florida the day after the drowning, Kevin Dyal

told his live-in girlfriend about the trip to Lake of the Ozarks. She

contacted police who then arrested Kevin. During questioning in Brevard

County, Fla., he admitted to his role in the alleged crime and implicated

his brother and father.

Kevin claims his father was going to give the two boys part of a $50,000

life insurance policy he had on Donna Dyal.

Kevin had a difficult time speaking when asked to identify his father in

the courtroom. The two sat less than 15 feet apart during the hearing. It

was the first time the father and son have seen each other since their

arrest in October.

Before the preliminary hearing got underway, Kevin and his brother,

Kenneth, 25, waived their right to a preliminary hearing.

The Camden County Prosecuting Attorney's office declined to comment on why

the two sons waived their preliminary hearings at the last minute.

However, according to attorneys in the lake area, waivier of a preliminary

hearing is not necessarily an admission of guilt. Defendants can opt to

bypass the hearing process if they do not wish to appear in court to hear

the evidence the state has to present to the judge.

 

January 04, 2001

Dyal gets life, no parole

Pleads guilty to lake drowning of wife

By Joyce L. Miller

CAMDEN COUNTY - A man who planned and carried out his wife's murder

pleaded guilty to the crime Thursday and will spend the rest of his life

in jail.

Gregory Dyal, 48, admitted that he, with the help of his two sons, held

his 35-year-old wife under water until she quit breathing on Sept. 18,

1999 while staying at a lakefront rental home.

Dyal was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or

probation. Dyal's guilty plea saved him from the possibility of receiving

the death penalty. He had been scheduled to go to trial Jan. 16.

Dyal told the court he knew what he was doing was wrong but that didn't

stop him from killing his wife. When Judge Mary Dickerson asked Dyal why

he murdered his wife, he said he couldn't give a reason. He said he has

thought about it a lot but doesn't have an answer.

Dyal said he had discussed the murder plan with his sons for nearly a year

before they carried out the killing.

Donna Dyal was told the family was coming to the lake to celebrate their

wedding anniversary. Donna Dyal was Gregory Dyal's third wife and the

stepmother of the two sons who helped carry out the crime.

Dyal, formerly of Imperial, Mo., has been in jail since his arrest in

October of 1999. Dyal's son, Kevin, 26, of Merritt Island, Florida, turned

his father and brother, Kenneth in after confessing to his role in the

murder. Kevin and Kenneth took part in Dyal's plan to murder his wife of

three years and collect the proceeds from a life insurance policy.

Dyal said the couple had a difficult marriage with a history of domestic

problems.

Donna Dyal's body was recovered in about 10 feet of water under a dock

near the 8-mile marker by divers after her husband reported her missing. A

two-year-old son of the Dyals was present at the time of the murder.

Kevin and Kenneth Dyal face trial in the killing later this year.

 

March 29, 2001

'Until she quit breathing'

Man pleads guilty to stepmother's drowning; father doing life, brother's

murder trial pending

By Joyce L. Miller

CAMDEN COUNTY - A Florida man has pleaded guilty to drowning his

stepmother during a weekend visit to Lake of the Ozarks in 1999.

Kevin Dyal, 26, has spent more than a year in jail awaiting trial for his

role in the murder of Donna Dyal, his 35-year-old stepmother.

On Thursday, he appeared before Judge Mary Dickerson and pleaded guilty to

second-degree murder. He faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Dyal, along with his father and brother, were charged with first-degree

murder when they were arrested in October of 1999.

As part of his plea agreement, Kevin Dyal agreed to a guilty plea to the

lesser charge. Dyal's testimony during his plea was nearly identical to

what he told the court during a preliminary hearing.

Dyal told the court he regretted the murder. He said he wished he stood up

to his father and not gone along with the plan. He said at one point he

tried to back out but allowed his father to persuade him to go forward. He

said he blamed himself for ruining his relationship with his father and

destroying both his and his brother's lives.

Dyal said the murder has haunted him.

Dyal told the court he blamed himself for killing his stepmother. He said

if he had stayed in Florida, he doesn't believe his father would have been

able to kill Donna. He told the judge he accepted full resposibility for

what happened. Before being returned to jail, Dyal addressed his

stepmother's family and said he was sorry for what happened.

Dyal's brother, Kenneth, 25, is scheduled to go to trial later this year.

Dyal was linked to his stepmother's death after his girlfriend taped him

telling the story of how he, his father and brother plotted to kill Donna

during a family trip to Lake of the Ozarks. She turned the information

over to police.

At the time of the murder, Dyal was living in Florida. His father,

stepmother and brother lived near St. Louis. The older Dyal apparently

came up with the plan and discussed it over the phone with his son.

Dyal said his father and stepmother had a troubled marriage. Police had

been to the Dyals' home several times to handle domestic problems when the

two fought. He said his father described his stepmother as a manic

depressive. The plan was to split a small life insurance policy after the

murder.

Donna was the older Dyal's fourth wife.

Dyal said the family, including the Dyal's then-18 month-old baby, were

staying at a rental house on Horseshoe Bend near the 8-mile marker to

celebrate Gregory and Donna Dyal's third anniversary.

Dyal said the family was swimming together when they murdered her. He said

they held her down "until she quit breathing." The three had a

pre-arranged signal that was given when it was time to grab Donna Dyal.

She apparently struggled with her husband and two stepsons while they held

her arms and legs down.

It appears that the brother carried the baby to the other side of the dock

and left the baby there while they killed the mother. After hiding the

body under the dock, the three men went to the house, changed clothes and

left to go pick up a pizza.

When they returned to the house, Gregory Dyal called police to report his

"missing" wife.

Her body was found under the dock about two hours after she was reported

missing. The Missouri Water Patrol investigated the drowning as

suspicious. Police in Florida contacted the Water Patrol after getting the

tape of Dyal's confession.

June 13, 2001

Last of mom murderers gets 10 years

Second stepson joins brother and father doing life in jail

By Joyce L. Miller

CAMDEN COUNTY- Three members of one family are now behind bars after admitting to drowning their 35-year-old wife and stepmother.

Guilty pleas have been entered by a father and his two sons for the October 1999 murder of Donna Dyal. She was drowned near a dock at a rented lake home.

In an emotional plea, Kenneth Dyal, 25, said he knew killing his stepmother was wrong.

For his part in the murder scheme, Dyal will spend the next 10 years in prison.

Kenneth, the younger of the two Dyal brothers involved in the murder, was originally charged with first-degree murder. He and his father were arrested together at the Dyal's home near St. Louis.

The charge was later amended to second-degree murder.

Kenneth Dyal appeared to show the most compassion for his 18-month-old half-brother who was present when Donna Dyal was killed.

Kenneth Dyal admitted that he carried the baby to the other side of the dock and left him while the three killed the mother. He said they didn't want the baby to see his mother dying.

Dyal, along with his father and brother, were arrested several weeks after Donna Dyal's body was recovered by divers under a dock on Horseshoe Bend near the 8-mile marker.

The Dyals, including Gregory and Donna's then 18-month-old baby, were visiting the lake to celebrate their third anniversary.

Gregory Dyal, 47, pleaded guilty earlier this year to deliberately planning the murder of his wife. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Kevin Dyal, 26, also pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The three had discussed the murder numerous times before coming to Lake of the Ozarks and decided on a pre-arranged signal.

After the signal, the three men grabbed Donna Dyal and held her under the water until she stopped struggling.

After making sure she was dead, the three men hid her body under the dock.

They then went to the house, changed clothes and left to get a pizza. When they returned, Gregory Dyal called police to report that his wife was missing.

Kevin, the oldest of the two Dyal sons, was responsible for breaking the murder investigation open when he confessed to his girlfriend. He later outlined the conspiracy to police in Florida, where he was living at the time of the murder.

He was arrested after his girlfriend turned over a taped conversation detailing how the Dyals set the murder up and carried it out.

During Kevin Dyal's plea he said he accepted responsibility for the murder. Kevin told the judge he didn't think his father would have committed the murder if he hadn't gone along with the plan.

Kevin's earlier testimony supported the fact that Kenneth had taken the baby away from where his mother was being held down so he couldn't see what was happening.

Gregory Dyal claimed his wife had mental problems that were were disrupting his life. Donna was his fourth wife.

Gregory Dyal was a retired military officer and worked as a communication specialist at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

 

Copyright 2000 The Lake Sun Leader. All rights reserved.