GARY - Two women walked out of a Lake Station courtroom July 18.
Sufficiently jolted by the criminal episode, one checked into a rehabilitation
center. Her friend did not.
It was the last time Wanda Kleine saw or heard from Tonya Dunlap.
"Oh, my goodness. No!" Kleine said Tuesday after hearing that Dunlap was
identified as one of suspected serial killer Eugene V. Britt's victims.
Gary police found Dunlap's decomposed corpse Nov. 8 in the woods near the
6800 block of Melton Road after Britt, 38, allegedly told them where to look.
Dunlap, 24, was finally identified through dental records obtained from her
Although her official address was in Knox, Dunlap spent most of her time in
and around Gary. There, acquaintances and police records indicate, she lived a
transient lifestyle, going from address to address with others familiar with
surviving on the streets and smoking crack cocaine.
Kleine said Dunlap was known around Gary as "Cutie Pie," her citizens band
radio name. Dunlap also was well acquainted with the strip of U.S. 20 near
where her body was eventually found, Kleine said.
Kleine and Dunlap were arrested together June 14 on criminal trespass
charges at the Speedway truck stop on Ripley Street in Lake Station. They spent
two nights in jail, two nights that Kleine said changed her life.
"It scared me. That was it. I started a new life," Kleine said, pausing.
"This could have been me. It makes me more thankful that I walked away from it."
Kleine also spent time on the streets with Cleaster "Precious" McNeil,
another woman believed to be raped and strangled by Britt.
"Tonya, she jumped into things too quick," Kleine said. "But Cleaster, she
was kind of the hard type, bossy. She knew it all."
Like most of Britt's alleged victims, the women were vulnerable because of
their addiction to crack cocaine and their reliance on prostitution to obtain
money that was funneled into their drug habit.
Kleine said Dunlap had a 2-year-old son.
Candelaria Dunlap, Dunlap's mother, reported her daughter missing at the
Hammond Police Department on Nov. 9, the day after police found Dunlap's
In the missing person report, Candelaria Dunlap said the last time her
daughter was seen was at 8 a.m. July 18 at Lake Station city court. She told
police her daughter "frequents Gary and truck stops," said Hammond police Sgt.
Britt's alleged killing spree began in early summer and ended with McNeil's
murder Sept. 12. He was arrested in November after DNA tests linked him to the
slaying in August of 8-year-old Sarah Lynn Paulsen of Portage.
Members of the Indiana Army National Guard on Saturday located the remains
of another suspected Britt victim. Those remains, still unidentified, were
found in the woods in the 1000 block of Martin Luther King Drive.
Britt has allegedly given police a vague idea of where they may find the
remains of his only male victim. That corpse continues to elude searchers.