Mo. man charged with child sodomy found dead in Virginia

Monday, September 15, 2008 | 4:32 p.m. CDT

POPLAR BLUFF - A southeast Missouri man who fled a year ago after being charged with child sodomy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities in Virginia where his remains were found.

John Dunivan, the former Butler County clerk, was accused of sodomizing a young girl.

Remains found earlier this month near Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Va., were positively identified through the use of dental records as Dunivan, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Phil Gregory said.

Highway patrol investigators had been asked to forward forensic information to the chief medical examiner's office in Roanoke to either identify or exclude Dunivan after a human skull was discovered Aug. 31 by hikers on private property near a remote area of the park.

The skull, according to authorities, was located about a mile and a half from where Dunivan's truck was found along Interstate 81, on the western edge of Virginia near Marion. The truck had been found there July 20, 2007 by a Virginia State Police officer, who was checking on an abandoned vehicle.

The rest of the skeleton was found Sept. 1 by investigators under several layers of brush in what appeared to be a "makeshift survival shelter," Smyth County sheriff's investigator Bill Eller said.

A revolver and a passport, later identified as belonging to Dunivan, were found near the remains, Eller said.

Dunivan was 61 years old when he was charged in July 2007 in neighboring Ripley County with first-degree statutory sodomy involving an 11-year-old girl.

According to a probable cause statement by a highway patrol officer, the girl told investigators that she had oral sex with Dunivan "too many times to count" at numerous locations, including at Dunivan's Ripley County property, in Poplar Bluff and at a motel in Jefferson City.




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