On Easter Sunday, 19 April 1992, Dale, Glee and Tiffany Ewell were shot in cold blood at their Fresno home in Sunnyside, California. Dana was two hundred miles away at the time of the crime on holiday with his girlfriend and her FBI father, John Zent.
The Ewells had returned home from a holiday weekend on the California coast at their beach house at Pajaro Dunes, and it was assumed had disturbed a burglary on their return.
Glee and Tiffany had been the first victims as they had driven back to their home, before husband Dale, who had taken the plane, was shot on entering the house about thirty minutes later.
When homicide Detective John Souza entered the grisly crime scene two days later he felt there was something staged about the whole incident. The killings were efficient and methodical, perhaps too methodical, as the murderer had waited on a sheet of plastic to avoid leaving clues. They had also calmly retrieved all the bullet casings from the scene which indicated that the intruder or intruders did not feel particularly rushed.
Dana appeared to have a shut tight alibi having been two hundred miles away at the time of the slaying. However, Souza and his fellow detectives weren’t convinced that the disturbed-intruders theory was so cut and dried. The robbery and murders felt carefully planned and too staged. Despite Dana’s alibi he immediately became a suspect. Souza followed his intuition and cast his eye on the cocky son who stood to inherit a fortune. Another aspect giving rise to suspicion was the fact that Dana seemed oddly unaffected by the brutal killings and instead demonstrated annoyance at receiving his family’s entire multimillion-dollar fortune at his immediate disposal.