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I am going to try and stop by Tunnel Camp this week. I will bring my Paher book and see if I can get some photos from similar perspectives. 

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The missing woman, Nan Cecile Dixon, is my grandmother... and I, and I alone, am still searching for her remains.  Please feel free to contact me at :  findnandixon2013@gmail.com.  I took on the investigation myself 7 years ago, but still have one detective in Nevada that is cheering me on.  I don't care how big that desert is... I will find her, and bring her home to family.  Thank you for keeping her memory and case alive.  One correction from all the web articles:  The note found in the car was not a suicide note - it was  ONE HALF of a note, stained in blood... that stated she would not, under any circumstances, take her own life - as her captors were instructing her to do.  The half of the note that names those captors has never been recovered, but we have a very good idea who that person/persons were.  The prime suspect died some time ago.  We are currently attempting to rule out a set of remains found 7 miles as the crow flies from where Nan was killed, but must find family members with the proper mitochondrial DNA for comparison (only carried through females, and Nan only had sons - my father and uncle).  A letter is going out today, seeking Nan's nieces, and then their help.

 

Again, thank you.  I was delighted to stumble upon your forum.

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The missing woman, Nan Cecile Dixon, is my grandmother... and I, and I alone, am still searching for her remains.  Please feel free to contact me at :  findnandixon2013@gmail.com.  I took on the investigation myself 7 years ago, but still have one detective in Nevada that is cheering me on.  I don't care how big that desert is... I will find her, and bring her home to family.  Thank you for keeping her memory and case alive.  One correction from all the web articles:  The note found in the car was not a suicide note - it was  ONE HALF of a note, stained in blood... that stated she would not, under any circumstances, take her own life - as her captors were instructing her to do.  The half of the note that names those captors has never been recovered, but we have a very good idea who that person/persons were.  The prime suspect died some time ago.  We are currently attempting to rule out a set of remains found 7 miles as the crow flies from where Nan was killed, but must find family members with the proper mitochondrial DNA for comparison (only carried through females, and Nan only had sons - my father and uncle).  A letter is going out today, seeking Nan's nieces, and then their help.

 

Again, thank you.  I was delighted to stumble upon your forum.

Mona, welcome to EF. I hope that you find your missing grandmother and bring her home and find some resemblance of peace and closer for your family.

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Thank You so, so much for your acknowledgment and reply... sometimes I think it's Nan, herself, putting that constant monkey wrench into the works... strong in death as she was in life!  :)

 

I do believe that, the more minds/hearts Nan's situation enters, the better chance we have of finding her... a needle in a haystack can be found with one's bare feet quite easily.  <3

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Welcome to the site Mona, I sure hope you find your grandmother and we will do our best to help you as well. Any more information you can give us on the case, location where the vehicle was found, etc, would be very helpful. 

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This does sound like a very interesting case.  But with the amount of time that has elapsed it is going to be difficult to find much.  Here is more that I found on the Dixon case.
 

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/d/dixon_nan.html

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I agree Jack, sounds like it's been a long time, and would be very hard to find any remains, but it's a very interesting case and I would love to hear more. 

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Are you sure about that DNA? 23andme sure ID'd my grandson and I as grandparent/grandchild without mt dna. It also gave me my maternal DNA haplogroup group.

It seems if DNA is found in some remains, and are compared to yours, they should be able to tell you if you are related within some fair degree of accuracy. Then later zoom in for the mt identifier.

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Welcome to the site, Mona. Hopefully your tenacity and dedication will pay off, allowing you to put your grandmother to rest with respect and dignity, as well as giving closure to her family.

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The amount of extractable DNA depends on the degradation of the remains.  The set of remains from which only mitochondrial DNA could be extracted, known as "Imlay Jane Doe", were found in a garment bag in the desert - in October 1978.  Collection and storage of evidence was not nearly as precise as today.  My DNA is all fine and good, but mitochondrial is only passed down matrilineally, but only to females.  It is destroyed in the process of reproduction of males; Nan had only sons, thus it's a no-go from my gene profile.  However, Nan had a sister, and yesterday, after years of searching, I found her, and her daughter, in one fell swoop.  Today is a surreal day in my world, indeed, trying to process it all.

 

There are voluminous details regarding this case; my own, personal case file is over 700 pages at this time.  The only way to efficiently communicate the bones of the story is to boil away every detail, or I'll be here for the next week typing.  Here's my grandmother's story, in extra-brief:

 

Nan planned a trip from her home in Grass Valley, CA to visit her brother, my great Uncle Harry Leighton and his wife, Lula Leighton, who resided in and mined the tailings of Tunnel Camp in the Seven Troughs area. (see http://www.scribd.co...ne-1978-January, scroll down to page 32, "Dolls in the Desert" written by Alvin McLane, 8 months before Nan disappeared there).  She wanted to settle an older mine deal that had gone bust years earlier when Harry talked her into investing in his prospecting hopes; she felt he owed her money, and as she was getting older wanted to have at least a little something put away for her boys (my dad and uncle) when she died.  She called my mother the morning she left to let us know her plans to visit Harry and Lula, and her voice sounded firm and flat, as my mother recalled.  There were no cell phones in 1978, for the general public anyway, and no phones whatsoever out at the lease. (For photos taken by our private investigator in 1979, see '?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>> )

 

That's the last time we heard her voice.

 

Nan made it to Lovelock, as evidenced by a gas charge ticket obtained from the local gas station (which had been deliberately "hidden" for six months until it arrived in the mail at Nan's address).  We believe she made it to the lease.  According to evidence that I'm not free to discuss here, there is every reason to believe that Nan saw/stumbled into something she was not supposed to see... and knowing my Nan, she would not have kept quiet about it.  There was only one way to keep her "quiet", and it was done, her body then easily hidden anywhere in that landscape.

 

Searches were conducted by both land and air, yielding nothing.  Her car had also vanished into thin air.

 

Four years after her disappearance, her car turned up in the middle of the desert in an area that had previously been searched... having been carefully driven down an embankment and parked.  The tires still held air, and the car was in good condition.  A coyote hunter found the car, and, thinking someone had just abandoned it there, he contacted the local tow guy to come out and get it.  I spoke with this very coyote hunter on the phone just a few years ago, and he had some very, very interesting things to say.

 

All the evidence collected from the car... disappeared from the evidence room.   The car itself, blood stains and all... disappeared... when the Sheriff's Dept. sold it at auction shortly after it was impounded and processed. The prime suspect in her murder died several years ago.  However, there were at least three others involved at the very least with the situation that are, according to my research, still very much alive and kicking in Nevada.

 

Justice will never be served for Nan; but the chances of bringing her bones home are good.  Don't ask me how I know that... it's a complicated answer that I don't have the energy to answer!   It is all now in the hands of divine providence (Rhode Island) and "left field"; all avenues have been explored, blood, sweat and tears exuded on the journey, and now we wait.

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WOW!!! Thanks for filling us in with what you could. It's very interesting to say the least. And what she stumbled upon, a drug thing? Excuse me for asking but, has her brother and wife been cleared of this? They owed her $, yes? Money has a way of soaking into people and souring them from within. Not saying that's the case but it has happened before.

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Yes, Harry and Lula have were cleared early on.  Harry and Nan truly loved each other, and were perhaps the closest of the many Leighton siblings; the Leightons are a tight family, loosely scattered about and hard to find from time to time... if that makes any sense!  Indeed, we initially "followed the money", a motive routinely found to accompany such mysteries.  I'm certain that if and when I am finally free to disclose the myriad details and weirdness of Nan's case, folks will think I'm "making it all up".  I sit here, after 34 years, STILL shaking my head at the convolutions that continue to evolve, to this day.  Better than anything Hollywood could put out... and worse, when one is living it.

 

Funny recollection about Lula that one of my Leighton cousins shared:  Lula was a tiny, tiny little thing, maybe 4'11" on a good day (and one helluva master ceramicist).  She always wore a dress and apron, 50's/60's style.  My cousin's childhood memory of Lula was watching her outside, in that desert, sweeping the dirt paths and road in her dress, apron, holster and gun.

 

I believe the drugs were just the tip of the iceberg, a more sophisticated operation happening involving at least on person that was an "insider" to the local medical industry.  A witness to the air drops on the property, who was well-established in Lovelock and the community itself, packed up the family and hit the road without a word, feeling that the knowledge they had put them directly in the path of Nan's fate.  Our private investigator instructed us that under no circumstances should any family member travel to the Lovelock area, as he felt unequivocally our lives would be in danger.

 

The desert miners didn't mess around... they were tough as nails... and when they had something to hide, well, anything goes when there's nobody there to see it.

 

The entire journey is a Toll Road... much like "The Phantom Tollbooth"... perhaps more accurately like Kafka's "The Castle"... still waiting to get in...!

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Supremely interesting reading. Hopefully your long quest will be realized, Mona. It must be difficult to deal with such a situation that has consumed much of your life and resources. I wonder if a couple of elderly local men whom were chatting a few tables away from my buddy and I at dinner time at the casino restaraunt held secrets that would unlock the chains that hold you but will take their secrets to their own graves ...

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All it would take are a few loose lips connected to a working conscience, and voila! 

 

BTW... Uncle Harry's first mining lease was Sheep Head Ranch, in the 60's.  I have the paperwork around here somewhere.  We have no photographs of that area, and I would love to see some.  Uncle Harry was just SURE he (and therefore his investors) was gonna strike it filthy rich!  Nan put in some money, as did my maternal grandparents (even though they were evangelical Christians... haven't figured that one out yet! teehee), and everybody got nothin'.

 

Prospecting's a tough business.  In 1978, we learned that if one even accidentally wandered onto someone's mining lease, the lease-holders of said properties routinely employed firearms in negotiations with the trespasser.  Upon speaking with my cousin last evening (for whom I've been searching for years, you may recall), I learned that Lula, the dress-and-apron-gun-and-holster aunt, used that gun on a regular basis - on rattlesnakes.   :blink:

 

Remember, that was 1978... not 1878...just in case you forgot...  :15smilehat: 

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I would imagine one getting like that being on top of potentially a fortune. It would tend to make anyone overreact if someone was to stumble into their endeavors.

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All it would take are a few loose lips connected to a working conscience, and voila! 

 

BTW... Uncle Harry's first mining lease was Sheep Head Ranch, in the 60's.  I have the paperwork around here somewhere.  We have no photographs of that area, and I would love to see some.  Uncle Harry was just SURE he (and therefore his investors) was gonna strike it filthy rich!  Nan put in some money, as did my maternal grandparents (even though they were evangelical Christians... haven't figured that one out yet! teehee), and everybody got nothin'.

 

Prospecting's a tough business.  In 1978, we learned that if one even accidentally wandered onto someone's mining lease, the lease-holders of said properties routinely employed firearms in negotiations with the trespasser.  Upon speaking with my cousin last evening (for whom I've been searching for years, you may recall), I learned that Lula, the dress-and-apron-gun-and-holster aunt, used that gun on a regular basis - on rattlesnakes.   :blink:

 

Remember, that was 1978... not 1878...just in case you forgot...  :15smilehat:

 

Some folks still employ this method of protecting their claims, here in Fernley there is the Olinghouse ghost town which had an armed guy who liked to pull guns on people. I believe the road through olinghouse is an easement, but for years they blocked it off and routinely pulled firearms on anyone who dared to approach the locked gate. It was private property, so I respect their property rights, but I think pulling firearms on dads with their kids who simply approach the gate is a little out there. Something must have happened in the last few years though as the road is back open. There are still wackos out there unfortunately, so you have to be careful. 

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There are still a lot of old-timers in the Mojave desert who will brandish a gun at you for getting anywhere near their claim, even if you are not looking for their claim, were not aware of their claim, and couldn't care less about their claim!

 

My great-great grandma was well known for using a gun to threaten tax collectors/revenue men, and anyone else in a governmental capacity who came lurking around to pester her. Because she was Lenni Lenape she refused to pay any taxes, and she was also running a house of ill-repute, as well as selling stolen goods, which her merry little band of thieves procured for her through breaking and entering. After 31 years of searching I still do not know when or where she died as she may have been buried under an alias. Her name does not turn up in death indexes under any other names I do know that she used.

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How far back was that, Cindy? My G-grandmother's death was not recorded in the county records because she died at her brother's house and it was only listed in the newspaper. That's how it was done in the olden days. That was in the 1880's.

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