Dorothy Yates-McCathran was last seen at her home in Vivian, LA on January 21st 2020.
If you have any information about the whereabouts of Dorothy, you are urged to contact the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office (318) 675-2170 or Crime Stoppers at (318) 673-7373. You can also fill out a form online if you don't want to speak with anyone on the phone - www.CScrimestoppers.org.
The Vanished Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-vanished-podcast/id1081124929
Domestic violence support: https://www.thehotline.org
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Hey y’all! I’m your host, Peyton, and today’s episode is about a missing woman that vanished from her home in Vivian, LA while making dinner. The only clues left behind were a pot of food cooking on the stove and a melted remote control on the counter. This is The Crimes-Picayune.
Martha Mullins was picking up her granddaughter from school on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 22nd 2020 when she received a call from her daughter’s husband, Kevan. This wasn’t uncommon, though, as her daughter Dorothy would frequently use his phone to keep in touch with her mom because her’s wasn’t working.
However, it wasn’t her daughter on the other end of the line; this time it was Kevan.
He was calling to let her know that he hadn’t seen Dorothy since he left to go look for a job the day before and when he returned home a couple of hours later, Dorothy was gone.
In spite of no one having seen Dorothy in roughly 24 hours, it wouldn’t be until another 48 went by before she was reported missing.
This was because Dorothy had been known to randomly go stay with friends for a few days before returning home. It happened often enough that Kevan didn’t usually contact Dorothy’s parents out of concern until around day 3, but this time it had been just one.
Martha was interviewed by The Vanished Podcast where she recalls the conversation her husband/Dorothy’s step-father had with police on Friday, January 24th - two days after they learned of their daughter’s disappearance. (And I’m going to mention TVP several times throughout this episode because they’re really the only media source that has extensively covered Dorothy’s story. I’ll have it linked on my Facebook page if you want to give it a listen)
Dorothy’s step-father, Chester, was told by the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office that “there wasn’t much they could do since not enough time had gone by” but they would have an officer go out and talk with the husband, Kevan.
And, sidenote, there is no set time you have to wait to report someone missing. It doesn’t matter if someone is missing for 2 days or 2 hours, you can report them as missing.
Now, the circumstances with Dorothy are a little different because, like I said earlier, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for her to slip off to a friend’s house for a couple of days but I wanted to quash that myth for anyone that didn’t know.
It wasn’t until Dorothy missed her daughter’s birthday party on Saturday that her family really began to get concerned.
That’s when Martha decided to call the sheriff herself. She told The Vanished Podcast that Dorothy would’ve found a way to call her daughter, Emma Jo, to let her know she wasn’t going to make her party.
Ya see, Dorothy’s parents gained full custody of Emma Jo some time in 2019. Dorothy and Kevan struggled to create and maintain a safe space for their daughter to live and it was decided that Emma Jo would be best under the care of Martha and Chester who lived an hour away in Shreveport.
Though, Dorothy’s struggles began way before 2019.
Martha told The Vanished Podcast that Dorothy was adopted around 5 days old by her and her then-husband. She’s described as a “momma’s girl” and this was signified by Dorothy wanting to attend elementary school where her mom was a teacher. The same elementary school where I would eventually attend years later.
I actually unknowingly followed in Dorothy’s footsteps and attended the same elementary, middle, and high school as she did.
Dorothy’s parents split up when she was in the 8th grade and she took this really hard. Martha said that she “blamed a lot of her problems and distress on the divorce at that time.”
But things started to look up once Dorothy made it to high school and met her friend Amy who was also interviewed by The Vanished Podcast. Amy described Dorothy as “a special person” and “one of the sweetest people” she knows “with a heart like nobody else.”
Unfortunately, the two went their separate ways when it came time to go to college - Dorothy going west to Baylor and Amy going east to ULM but they continued to remain as close as they could from 5 hours away.
Dorothy had one semester left to complete her degree when she fell victim to opioids after being prescribed hydrocodone to help combat the pain from a staph infection.
She remained in a constant battle between using and wanting to get clean, but the painkillers had already done their damage on her body. The years of opiate usage can physically alter the brain and its ability to produce dopamine which leaves the user feeling like they can’t feel good without it thus leading to an addiction. What Makes Addiction So Complex and Hard To Overcome?
Over the next several years, Dorothy’s struggle with drugs never ceased; even after finding out she was pregnant with her first child around 2006.
By the time he was 8 months old, the child’s father was granted custody as a result of Dorothy’s inability to stay clean.
According to Martha, Dorothy would enter 10 rehab facilities in an attempt to get her life back on track. And she started to. Until she met Kevan.
Their relationship was volatile, and violent. It was full of drugs and emergency room visits at the hands of Kevan, literally.
Martha said she tried so hard to get her to leave him, but if you’ve ever been a victim of the seemingly unbreakable cycle of domestic violence, or you’ve ever witnessed a loved one go through it, you know just how impossible it feels to leave.
Dorothy wound up pregnant and was due to give birth around February of 2014, but a fight with Kevan resulted in her daughter, Emma Jo, arriving 1 month early.
From the hospital, Emma Jo went home with Martha and Chester while Dorothy went to an undisclosed home for battered women. But it wasn’t long before Kevan picked Dorothy up from the home and brought her back to Vivian.
Due to the circumstances, the court required that the two go to rehab and once they completed that program they had to continue their recovery by going to therapy and speaking with counselors. Kevan was encouraged to attend anger management classes but refused.
Martha details the change in custody throughout Emma Jo’s infancy on The Vanished Podcast if you’d like to hear about how Dorothy and Kevan were able to regain custody of their daughter for a short while before losing it again in 2019.
Shortly before Dorothy went missing, she told her parents she was ready to leave Vivian and get clean. And that’s exactly what her parents helped her do. Martha got her set up at a halfway house in Shreveport where she stayed for about a week before Kevan demanded that she go back to Vivian.
The level of control Kevan employed against Dorothy got so restrictive he began denying her time with her own daughter, their daughter.
The last time Dorothy had spoken with Emma Jo was on January 20th, 2 days before her mom received the call from Kevan saying that she was missing.
Martha shared with The Vanished Podcast that the tone of that last call with Dorothy was really emotional. Dorothy was calling to tell Emma Jo happy birthday and to let her know that she wouldn’t be able to see her that day because “Kevan wouldn’t let her.” He said that because they were going to drive down Saturday for the party, he wasn’t going to bring her that Monday too.
And, y’all, Kevan isn’t even supposed to be driving!? I’m not sure if it was the multitude of DWIs that got his license suspended or what, but whatever the reason he wasn’t supposed to be driving. And from what I’ve gathered, if he wasn’t driving, nobody was driving. He would go as far as disabling the vehicle so Dorothy wasn’t able to drive it, despite her actually having a license.
During that phone call with Emma Jo on Monday, Dorothy reassured her daughter that she would be there on Saturday for her party.
But remember that when Dorothy did not show up to her daughter’s party, that’s when Martha called the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office herself.
The sheriff’s office had an officer return to the home that following Monday, January 27th, and took a statement from Kevan. The Vanished Podcast revealed some of the contents of his statement; in addition to telling the officer that Dorothy was gone when he returned home from looking for a job, he mentions her battle with drug use and how “he was trying to help her stay clean.” He added that Dorothy had become paranoid and “suspected she might be using again.”
A few days later, investigators followed up with Kevan to see if he had any updates or other information that would help with the search for his wife.
According to The Vanished Podcast, this is when he recounted an incident that occured the day before Dorothy disappeared.
Kevan said that on the 20th, Dorothy rode to town to buy drugs - and, pause, how did Dorothy get to town if he wasn’t allowing her to drive the vehicle? Continuing on - Kevan said that Dorothy told him that a police officer pulled into the parking lot she was in and out of fear of getting caught, she swallowed the bag of methamphetamines she had just purchased. He said this caused her to stay up all night “acting crazy.” When Kevan told this story to Martha, he described Dorothy as being “pretty wasted” and expressed how angry he was with her (this would’ve been a great time to use those skills he would’ve learned in the anger management class he refused to attend).
But before I continue, I have a question about the statement Kevan made prior to this discussion with investigators. Remember when I said that Kevan “suspected” Dorothy might be using again? Why would he say he suspected if he knew she was high the day before she disappeared?
Kevan’s statement continued with him describing the state of the kitchen when he returned home from searching for a job. He said that the house was full of smoke and the remote control was on the wood stove, melted, along with a rag coated in ointment.
The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office visited the McCathran property on Airport Road for a third time on Monday, February 3rd - 13 days after Dorothy was last seen there.
According to an article by KTAL, the sheriff’s office was “joined by the Shreveport Fire Department’s K-9 Search and Rescue Task Force, Ark-La-Tex K-9 Search and Rescue Team and K-9 Spirit.” Search for missing Vivian woman continues with drones, K-9s | ArkLaTexHomepage
In addition to the K-9 units, a drone was used to search the almost 30 acre land (roughly 22 football fields for anyone wondering). Although nothing significant was found, investigators did find some random belongings of Dorothy’s roughly 3-400 feet from her home: a watch, a knit cap, a feather boa, and some jewelry that Martha had recognized as some she’d given to Dorothy for her to fix up. The Vanished Podcast was the only source to mention that these items had been found, so I asked Martha more about where they were found in relation to one another and she said they were scattered around the property but close.
The McCathran home sits roughly 0.35 miles from the main road and is almost completely surrounded by woods.
There’s a video on the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook page showing them using drones to search the area, and even though it’s winter and the trees are bare, you can see the massive amounts of leaves and trees and fallen limbs that encompass the property.
A week later, investigators talked with a man that was said to have been with Kevan when he returned home on January 21st. He’s referred to as both Kevan’s friend and his cousin in The Vanished Podcast’s episode, but, whatever he is, we’re just going to call him Hank.
Now, Hank says that he saw and spoke to Dorothy before the two men left that afternoon. He says when they returned, the door to the wood stove was left open and there was wood smoldering inside. And this is where their two accounts differ - remember Kevan said that the remote control was left partially melted on the wood stove? Well Hank says that it was a spatula that was melted on the stove and the burnt remote was in the bathroom along with a wet towel. And maybe I’m reading too far into it, but in a case where there’s literally nothing, I believe every detail matters. Hank also said that Dorothy’s purse had been dumped out and her clothes were strewn about around the house.
By the early spring of 2020, the small town of Vivian had been painted with Dorothy’s picture; businesses that Dorothy frequented displayed a missing person’s flier with information about her disappearance.
February turned into March and March turned into April without any new information about Dorothy’s whereabouts. That was until the manager of a gas station called police saying that a newspaper clipping regarding Dorothy’s disappearance had been found next to their credit card machine. Martha told The Vanished Podcast that the newspaper clipping had handwritten maps that appeared to be a car wash, a grassy field, and a tan office building, though it didn’t say what town or even what state they were located in or what correlation it had to Dorothy’s disappearance. .
Around this time, Kevan mysteriously “found” another phone under their porch. When the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office discovered this information, they asked Kevan to bring in that phone in addition to the one Dorothy left behind so they could be searched for potential clues that could lead them to her whereabouts. But, of course, Kevan wanted them to come get the phones.
It wasn’t until Kevan brought the phones to Martha at Emma Jo’s soccer game an entire year later that CPSO was able to try and extract data from them. But, wouldn’t ya know, both phones were broken and nothing was pulled off of them.
I feel like y’all already know what I’m going to say and I don’t even need to get near my soap box.
And that’s where the information from The Vanished Podcast and all other source material ended. But when I asked Martha if any new information had been brought forward since the release of that episode in September of 2021, she said yes.
Dorothy had gotten a job at a restaurant in town but Kevan allegedly wouldn’t let her go to work. On the day she disappeared, she called the restaurant and told them that she and Kevan weren’t getting along and asked if she could still work there. During this call, the restaurant employee said that someone entered Dorothy’s vicinity and whoever it was was the last person to see her. The call took place just before Kevan said he got home.
I asked Martha if this call was made from the McCathran’s home phone because we know that Dorothy did not have a working cell phone. She said that she wasn’t sure and also wasn’t sure if investigators even looked into the lead in the first place.
But let’s assume that it did happen exactly as it was told to Martha; it makes my brain spin with questions and think about all the possibilities of who that individual was and what happened to Dorothy after that phone call ended.
Of course, my first thought is the husband. And, statistically (at least according to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence) 2 out of 5 female murder victims are killed by their husbands or intimate partners. https://vawnet.org/sc/scope-problem-intimate-partner-homicide-statistics
But I have zero evidence to prove that he did do it.
I mean, Dorothy reportedly said that if something ever happened to her, Kevan did it. And Kevan, himself, was heard saying that “he’ll kill her and bury her in some place that nobody will ever find.” Combine that with years of known domestic violence and a splash of uncontrollable anger issues and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a homicide.
However, being a shitty husband does not equate to being a murderer.
(Pause) Kevan was given an opportunity to share his opinion regarding his wife’s disappearance on The Vanished Podcast… and y’all… y’all have got to go listen to it for yourselves. But before you do, I want to highlight a few things that stood out to me.
The host, Marissa, says they asked him to talk about Dorothy and their relationship. He said “When she’s good, she’s real good. But when things are bad, she’s real bad. Both of us were drug addicts. We had a daughter together; we were married for 6 years… She went to like 10 drug rehabilitation things, I only went to one.” and he continues on about Dorothy’s struggles.
It took him over 30 seconds to say anything about what she meant to him. He said “she’s the love of my life” and then starts talking about their daughter.
I don’t want to spend too much time on this because I’m not sure if the audio had been edited or if that’s typically how detached he is from his emotions, but I really don’t like how he responded to that question.
Over the next few minutes he talks about how Dorothy would leave for a few days and about her drug use and how she’d lost so much weight recently.
Then around the 1 hour 10 minute mark he says this: “I went to look at a job, I came back and she was gone. You see where she started cooking some things in the kitchen which I told her I’d been up all night… the night before she stayed up all night long... and she was high. And she seemed like she was scared to death.”
So he’s talking about how, once he returned home, the pot was on the stove where she had been cooking and he’s telling her he had been up all night but catches himself and switches to how she had stayed up all night long. The conversation completely changed from when he got home the day she went missing to her behavior the night before.
About a minute later, he shares what he thinks happened to his wife: “I think that she overdosed or somebody gave her something to overdose. Police said that they think she might still be alive, I find that really hard to believe.”
That line is self explanatory.
The last thing I’m going to emphasize from Kevan’s interview is something that slightly contradicts what he said previously. He says, “I figured she went down to Walmart because she did burn her hand here. She burnt her hand! She set the TV control on the top part, the flat top in the kitchen that heats up. The remote control was almost burnt in half to where the batteries were melted. And she brought the remote into the bathroom and put it in there, ya know, she looked like she burnt her hand. I imagined she did. She used some burn cream that I had. I figured she went to Walmart because her hand was hurting.”
During the follow up call with investigators at the end of January 2020, Kevan stated that the remote was found melted to the wood stove next to a rag with ointment. And now his most current statement matches the one his alibi made on February 10th 2020.
Also, how is he so confidently able to say that Dorothy burnt her hand if he didn’t see her when he returned? And to be able to provide a play-by-play as to how the remote was melted and ended up in the bathroom? I feel, just as he did before, he catches himself and says “he imagines she did (burn herself).”
Because there is zero proof of any involvement by anyone, some believe that Dorothy’s disappearance was accidental and could’ve been caused by drug use or that she got away to start a new life somewhere.
I don’t believe the latter to be true based on everything that was left behind: her license, her purse, she didn’t have a working phone or a vehicle. It’s also not typical, at least from my perspective having come from a family with users, addicts don’t typically up and leave to a new place where they don’t know where they will get their next fix from. I’m not saying it’s never happened, but I don’t think it’s what happened to Dorothy.
And someone out there knows what happened to Dorothy Yates-McCathran on January 21st 2020. If that happens to be you, you can receive up to $30,000 and remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at (318) 673-7373 for any information leading to Dorothy’s whereabouts and/or an arrest. If you don’t want to speak with anyone by phone, you can submit a form on the Crime Stoppers website at www.CScrimestoppers.org.
Think back to your second grade teacher, and imagine that their child is missing. It’s time to do the right thing and bring Dorothy home.