Real Name: Bonnie Christine Craig
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Date: September 28, 1994
Details: Eighteen-year-old Bonnie Craig was a vivacious and well-liked college freshman at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. Before dawn on the morning of September 28, 1994, she left home to begin her trip to school. Two days a week, she walked forty-five minutes through the early morning darkness to catch the bus to campus. Bonnie was a diligent student who prided herself on arriving promptly for her 7AM English class. However, she never arrived for her class that day. Her body was found floating in McHugh Creek later that day. The medical examiner determined she had drowned. But Bonnie had also suffered severe head injuries, possibly resulting from a fall off a cliff.
Alaska State Troopers believed she had died in a hiking accident. Her mother, Karen Campbell, however, found evidence that she might have been murdered. When she viewed her daughter's body, she noticed defensive wounds on her hands. She did not believe that Bonnie would go to the creek area during a school day. Also, the creek was ten miles from the bus stop and she had no way of getting there. The police kept most of the information about the case to themselves.
Karen found an ally in reporter Maria Downey. She was also trying to get more information about the case. For unknown reasons, police did not initially release the results of the sexual assault examination. Karen was told that Bonnie had not been raped. She learned about the results six months later: Bonnie had most likely been sexually assaulted, as semen was found during the examination. However, police did not rule out the possibility that it came from a consensual sexual act.
Frustrated with the police working on her daughter's case, Karen began her own investigation. She suspected that Bonnie's death might have had something to do with her undercover work with the local police. An informant told her that her family may have been targeted by a drug lord after a sting she was involved in resulted in the arrest of several members of his organization. He also claimed that the murder was a message to the police department to "back off." According to Karen, Bonnie was murdered the day after the people that she identified were released from jail. Despite the precautions taken to protect her identity during the busts, it would not have been difficult for the accused to learn who had fingered them.
Karen was again frustrated when she met with one of the lead investigators. When she told him about the information she received, he repeatedly asked her for the identity of her source. However, she had promised the informant that she would not reveal his identity. As a result, she believes that investigators did not follow up on her lead. However, the investigators claim that they have looked into the leads that Karen gave them. They claim that they merely have not shared all of their information about the case.
One year later, one of Bonnie's professors contacted Karen. She became suspicious of one of her students, suspecting that he may have been involved in the murder. According to the professor, the student made several references to the date of Bonnie's murder--September 28--in his journal, claiming it would be a "very tough day" and that he would be "put to a test." According to Karen, some of his writings were also violent.
The professor claimed that the student was late for school the day of Bonnie's death. When he came to her class, she noticed that he was wet, like he had just got out of a shower. She also said it smelled like had he poured a whole bottle of cologne on himself. After Bonnie's death, his writings were more peaceful. However, DNA evidence and an alibi ruled him out of her case. Karen believed that if there was another person involved, the DNA didn't have to belong to the student. She also uncovered that he had an assault charge against him and had been bailed out by a friend who was involved in another murder.
Troopers tried to find witnesses who may have seen something on the last morning Bonnie was alive. A neighbor reported seeing her at around 5:20AM walking down their street. Another witness saw her at the bus stop at around 6:20AM. Another neighbor saw a car idling in front of Bonnie's home that morning. Finally, an anonymous caller to the police "Crime Stoppers" line claimed to have seen Bonnie at the bus stop, talking to two men in a vehicle. Despite this, they did not have any evidence to arrest anyone in connection with the case and her death remains unsolved.
Suspects: It was suspected that Karen's undercover police work may have been the reason for her daughter's death. A drug dealer who had been released from prison the day before the murder was always a suspect in Karen's mind. The student the teacher had contacted her about Bonnie's death also remained a suspect for Karen.
Extra Notes: This case originally aired on the September 4, 2002 episode. The case was also documented on Dateline.
Results: Solved. In 2007, DNA found on Bonnie's body was matched to Kenneth Dion through the CODIS national DNA database. Dion was in prison in New Hampshire for a series of armed robberies when the match was made. At the time of the murder, Dion lived in the area, was on probation for robbery, and had been released from an Alaska prison just a few months earlier.
Dion was charged with raping and murdering Bonnie Craig. It is believed that the crime was a random act of violence. At trial, Dion claimed that he had consensual sex with Bonnie, and that she accidentally fell to her death while alone at the creek. However, when first questioned, he claimed that he did not know her; her family and friends did not know him either. He also could not account for his whereabouts on the day that she vanished (his wife said that he was not home the entire week). Also, the medical examiner determined that her injuries were caused by a blunt object or weapon, not from a fall. At the time, Dion carried martial arts weapons in his car, which could have inflicted the injuries. Also, a leaf with Bonnie's blood on it was found above the cliff area, suggesting that she was already injured before "falling" from the cliff. Finally, her family noted that she was in a strict, committed relationship with her boyfriend at the time, and would not have had sex with someone else, especially a complete stranger. Dion was found guilty of her murder on June 15, 2011. He was sentenced to 124 years in prison on October 31, 2011.
- Bonnie Craig on Unsolved Archive
- Justice for Bonnie website
- DNA links prison inmate to 1994 Bonnie Craig murder
- Kenneth Dion, ex-soldier, on trial for 1994 murder of Alaska coed Bonnie Craig
- Prosecution says DNA points to murder suspect
- Lawyer says Dion did not rape, kill Bonnie Craig
- Bonnie Craig's Boyfriend Testifies in Dion Murder Trial
- Defense Admits Dion Lied to Police About Knowing Craig
- Defendant guilty of Bonnie Craig Murder
- Bonnie Craig's killer sentenced to 124 years in prison
- Account of Bonnie Craig murder, trial shows mother's unwavering determination
- Bonnie Craig at Find a Grave