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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Plot to inherit the family's $8-million estate
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: April 19, 1992
Date of arrest: March 1995
Date of birth: January 28, 1971
Victims profile: His father, Dale Ewell, 59; his mother, Glee, 57, and his sister, Tiffany, 24
Method of murder: Shooting (9-mm pistol with a homemade silencer)
Location: Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on May 12, 1998

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Dana Ewell (born January 28, 1971, Fresno, California) is an American convicted triple murderer, sentenced to three life sentences for ordering the killing of his mother, father, and sister in 1992.

Murder case

Dana Ewell's father, businessman and multi-millionaire Dale Ewell, his mother Glee (née Mitchell), and his older sister Tiffany were murdered so he could access the family fortune. A 9-mm pistol with a homemade silencer was used by Ewell's roommate at Santa Clara University, Joel Radovcich, to murder the family on Easter Sunday in their home in the Central Valley as they returned from a long weekend on the coast.

Dana Ewell was sentenced on May 12, 1998, alongside friend and classmate Joel Radovcich, who was promised a part of the family fortune in return for murdering Dana's family.

Ernest Jack Ponce (who procured the murder weapon) was also charged with the murders, but he obtained a dismissal in exchange for his testimony and was later licensed as an attorney.

At the time of the murders, Dana Ewell still lived at home in the family's comfortable Sunnyside-area home near Fresno. In his freshman year at San Joaquin Memorial High School, Ewell claimed his goal was to be a multi-millionaire by age 25, but at age 21, he was still being supported by his parents. The murders took place on Sunday, April 19, 1992.

Dana had been lying to his friends, claiming that he was personally financially successful. Dana claimed to be a stock-market wiz and he also claimed to own his own airplane transport company. Dana's father found out that his son had been going around lying and bragging. Dana's father told him that he was getting cut off financially that summer, when he was expected to graduate from Santa Clara University.

Dana was angry and this is what led him to plot the murders, although ironically it was ultimately revealed to Dana during the reading of his father's will that his father instructed that the family fortune be given to Dana but in installments. Ewell's furious reaction to not gaining his full inheritance and his lack of grief over the deaths of his parents and sister led to his uncles informing investigators about the possibility that Dana was behind the murders.

Fresno County Assistant District Attorneys James Oppliger and Jeffrey Hammerschmidt prosecuted Ewell and Radovcich in a jury trial that took more than eight months. Ewell and Radovcich are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole; their appeals have all been denied and exhausted. Ewell is housed in the Protective Housing Unit of California State Prison, Corcoran.


  • The case was covered in a one-hour show of Dominick Dunne's investigative show Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice.

  • The case appeared in the truTV network-aired episode of Forensic Files, episode 282, titled "Two in a Million".

  • The case appeared in the truTV network-aired episode of American Justice, episode 170, titled "Millions Of Reasons To Kill".

  • The case was briefly covered in the series E! Investigates in the episode "Rich Kids Who Kill" (Season 1, Episode 13).

  • The case was featured in The New Detectives episode "Family Plots".

  • The case was presented in Discovery Channel's Solved.

  • The case was featured on the episode "The Perfect Crime" of the series Behind Mansion Walls.

  • The case was featured on the episode "Fatal Family Reunion" of the series Killer Instinct.


Ewell family murders

By Corin Hoggard -

Monday, April 30, 2012

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A well-known and Fresno family was murdered 20 years ago in one of the most notorious crimes anywhere.

In 1992, Dana Ewell had his college friend, Joel Radovcich kill his family, and stood to inherit millions.

In 1998, he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance at parole. Ewell is currently locked up at Corcoran State Prison.

Action News has uncovered some new details about the case, and the questions about this crime that have never been answered.

20 years after the most complicated case of his young career, former Fresno County homicide investigator Chris Curtice, still remembers nearly every detail of the triple murder case. He says only the second victim -- Glee Ewell -- caught a glimpse of the killer -- a man who was her son's guest in the house just a month before.

Curtice said, "The shooter actually went and straddled her and shot her at close range."

Former prosecutor, Jeff Hammerschmidt said, "I'm sure when she saw who it was, she knew her son was murdering her."

Shaved hairless from head to toe and lying on a plastic sheet, Joel Radovcich left behind no DNA and no shell casings behind as he murdered Glee, Dale and Tiffany Ewell on Easter in 1992.

Dana Ewell stood to gain the most from the deaths, becoming the sole heir to an $8 million fortune. But the 21-year-old soon discovered he'd have to wait nine years before controlling most of the money.

Hammerschmidt said, "When the will was read, he pounded his fist and said, 'how could my father do that to me?' and maybe his father was wondering the same thing -- how his son could do that to him."

Jeff Hammerschmidt was the junior prosecutor in the murder trial. He traced activity in Ewell's 47 bank accounts to prove he was funneling money to Radovcich -- a person he claimed to barely know.

A complicated timeline covering the length of a hallway also outlined their contacts.

The 12 people who found both suspects guilty of the three murders have rarely spoken about the case. But now, jury foreman Mike Elder tells Action News jurors could sense Ewell was an evil man.

"Dana actually scared people," Elder said. "They would look over at him and he had this look on his face. You just thought any minute these horns were going to come up."

And although they believed Joel Radovcich shot and killed Ewell's parents, jurors sympathized with the triggerman. They saw him as a broken being, someone Dana Ewell simply used as means to an end.

Joel's attorney, Phil Cherney, says similar emotions spilled from Santa Clara University students forced to testify in court. "What would happen is, they would come in and look at Joel and start crying."

The case initially targeted a third defendant -- the man who admitted to buying the murder weapon and later, burying it.

Prosecutors gave Ernest Jack Ponce immunity in exchange for his testimony, but Elder says the jury didn't trust what Ponce said. He described the murders in great detail -- too much detail for some -- and Elder thinks he had a Freudian slip while talking about how Dale Ewell died.

Elder explained, "He was supposedly saying this from the standpoint of Joel, but he said, 'and I saw the eye,' and then corrected himself."

In fact, several jurors believed Radovcich was not alone at the Ewell house. But because of his immunity, they couldn't stop Ponce from walking away a free man.

Elder said, "You know, I wouldn't say every juror, I couldn't guarantee every juror thought he was there. I can only say that most of them did."

Hammerschmidt says he thought Ponce was truly in the dark about the murders until Radovcich laid out the details.

Ponce even passed a lie detector test. Two decades later, he is an attorney in Orange County. He never responded to our repeated requests for comment on the case. His true role may always remain a mystery, but it's not the only one surrounding the killers.

Prosecutors couldn't prove that Dana and Joel had also targeted the Ewell family member who was most vocal about suspecting Joel after the murders -- a grandfather in Ohio.

Hammerschmidt said, "His grandfather ended up dying as a result of an explosion in his basement and there was evidence that Joel Radovcich was in Ohio around that same time."

Detectives also suspected Ewell of trying to have Radovcich kill his grandmother. Without any of that evidence, jurors couldn't reach a unanimous decision on whether the killers should be put to death. Both men have now exhausted their appeals and will die in prison.

Instead of becoming a millionaire, Dana Ewell is isolated at Corcoran State Prison. His uncle tells Action News he'd rather forget Dana even exists, while the victims live on in his memories -- together forever.


Son, Friend Convicted of Killing Parents, Sister

Los Angeles Times

May 13, 1998

FRESNO — The son of a prominent Fresno family was convicted Tuesday of murdering his parents and sister with the help of a college dorm mate in a plot to inherit the family's $8-million estate.

After 11 days of deliberations, a Fresno County Superior Court jury found that 26-year-old Dana Ewell hired his college friend, Joel Radovcich, to kill his family so they could split the family's fortune.

Both were found guilty in the murders of Dale Ewell, 59; his wife, Glee, 57, and their daughter, Tiffany, 24.

The conviction of both men on three counts of first-degree murder in the 1992 slayings means that they are eligible for the death penalty.

During the four-month trial, prosecutors had argued that Ewell and Radovcich wanted to be millionaires by the time they turned 25.

The victims were shot to death in their Fresno home on Easter, just after returning home from a trip to the coast. Dana Ewell, then 21, remained at the coast to have dinner with his girlfriend's family, including her FBI agent father.

Despite that alibi, Fresno County sheriff's investigators said Dana Ewell was the prime suspect from the start. However, he and Radovcich weren't arrested until 1995 after a friend of Radovcich gave a detailed account of the killings that he said he learned from Radovcich.

The friend, Ernest Jack Ponce, testified in court that Radovcich, now 27, told him that Tiffany Ewell was the first victim to be shot.

"He said she walked by the room he was waiting in and he shot her. . . . He said he shot her in the head," Ponce said.

He testified that Radovcich shot the mother several times, then changed magazines in the gun and put on fresh gloves while waiting for Dale Ewell to come home.

"He said the father came in the door, and he waited until he shut the door and waited until the father walked past the room he was in and then he stepped out and shot him," Ponce said.

Ponce testified that he purchased the assault rifle that Radovcich used in the killings and helped him dispose of gun parts, fired shells, a silencer and tennis shoes.

Ponce was not charged because prosecutors granted him immunity in exchange for his testimony.

Prosecutors contended that the only way that Radovcich could get into the Ewell home was with the help of Dana Ewell, who knew the alarm security code.

Ewell's attorney, Ernest Kinney, said that his client wasn't involved and that Ponce and Radovcich plotted the slayings by themselves. Kinney accused Ponce of being the killer.

Radovcich's lawyer, Phillip Cherney, didn't deny his client's involvement but instead painted Radovcich as a victim.


Former public board member's son convicted in killing of family

By Kathleen O. Beitiks - California Bar Journal

June 1998

Portrayed as a rich boy consumed by greed, 27-year-old Dana Ewell was convicted last month of murdering his father Dale, sister Tiffany and mother Glee, a former public member of the State Bar Board of Governors. Six years after the 1992 Easter Sunday slayings in the Ewell family Fresno home, a jury took 10 days to convict Ewell and his college buddy, Joel Radovcich, 27, of first-degree murder with special circumstances. The conviction could bring a life term in prison or the death penalty.

"What a tragedy for the whole family," said Don Fischbach, a Fresno attorney, former president of the State Bar and friend of Ewell's mother, Glee. "First three people died and now a bright, young man has been convicted."

Fischbach complimented the jury, however, saying it was a "diligent group of people and they worked hard."

Fresno's most sensational trial in recent memory culminated with the convictions after more than four months of testimony and more than 100 witnesses.

The bodies of Glee, 57, her husband Dale, 59, and their daughter Tiffany, 24, were found by the family's cleaning woman and a neighbor, who had been called by Dana to check the home when he couldn't reach his parents after Easter.

Fresno county sheriff's detectives were initially baffled by the murders, noting that it appeared the Ewell home had been ransacked in an attempt to make the killings look like the result of a botched burglary.

Following a long and tedious investigation, detectives arrested both men in 1995, suspecting that Dana convinced Radovcich to kill his family with the intent of gaining control of and splitting his $8 million inheritance.

Since the arrests, the Ewell fortune has fallen to about $5 million after payment of estate taxes.

Dana's conviction prevents him from claiming the inheritance, which will be split among relatives.

The case became exceedingly complicated, involved a multitude of lawyers, probate issues and complex financial transactions. Defense lawyers were denied a change of venue, but due to the sensational nature of the trial, Judge Frank J. Creede imposed a gag order in the case.

Prosecutors produced a star witness, Jack Ponce, 27, a friend of Radovcich's brother, who testified that Radovcich told him he put on several layers of latex gloves and sat on plastic sheets while waiting for the Ewells to come home from a weekend trip to their beach house in Pajaro Dunes, west of Watsonville.

Glee and Tiffany drove back to Fresno, while Dale, a rancher and owner of an aircraft business, flew home in his airplane.

Radovcich used a silencer and first shot Tiffany, a graduate student at Fresno State University. Then Glee was shot four times. Glee's body was found with her arm shielding her eyes. Dale was shot once from behind as he walked into the house from the garage a while later.

At the time of the murders, Dana was having dinner in Morgan Hill with his girlfriend Monica's family, including her FBI agent father, John Zent.

Also called to testify during the trial were Dana's uncles (Dale's brothers) who said Dana was upset when he later learned his parents' will was structured to release half of the estate when he was 30 and the remainder when he turned 35.

A decision was made to try Ewell and Radovcich together. Prosecutors James Oppliger and Jeffrey Ham-merschmidt presented enough evidence to convince the jury that both defendants were guilty of the murders. Neither defendant took the stand.

Prosecutors showed the jury that Radovcich's AT-9 rifle was used in the slayings and that the bullets most likely came from a 20-year-old box of ammunition from Dale's nightstand.

At the same time Ewell and Radovcich were arrested, Radovcich's brother Peter and his friend Ponce also were arrested in connection with the case. Ponce agreed to testify for the prosecution in exchange for immunity. He told the jury that he bought the murder weapon for Radovcich, who he thought was going to sell it for a profit.

Testimony showed that within weeks of his family's deaths, Dana had access to more than $800,000, but about $124,000 in cash could not be accounted for.

Records showed that Radovcich paid between $33,000 and $45,000 for flight lessons even though he did not have a job.

Glee Ewell was a well-known civic activist in Fresno who served from 1985-91 on the bar board of governors.


Wheels of justice grind slowly in Ewell murders

By Kathleen O. Beitiks - California Bar Journal

May 1997

Five years after the brutal murder of former State Bar Board of Governors member Glee Ewell, a prime suspect -- her son -- sits in jail awaiting trial.

Dana Ewell, 26, and his college buddy, Joel Radovcich, 26, were arrested two years ago and have pleaded innocent to the charges that they killed Glee Ewell, 57, her husband Dale, 59, and their daughter Tiffany, 24, on Easter Sunday in 1992.

The case has become exceedingly complicated, involving a multitude of lawyers, millions of dollars, probate issues and complex financial transactions.

In the latest development, all parties involved are awaiting a ruling from the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno on suppression issues and whether or not Ewell and Radovcich can be tried separately.

That ruling could come any day or as far away as July, says Jeff Hammerschmidt, one of the prosecutors in the case.

Meanwhile, in commenting on the multitude of delays, Hammerschmidt said investigation of the case has generated 4,700 pages of sheriff's reports and at least 1,000 pages from his office.

Because this is a death penalty case, "it's a long and tedious process," said Hammerschmidt. "It's unusual, but all parties want to get to trial as soon as we can," he said.

The Ewell case has been of particular interest, said Hammerschmidt, because of its unusual circumstances and the prominence of the Fresno family. "This is not the type of victim we usually see. We usually deal with gangs," he said.

Dana Ewell's defense lawyer, Peter Jones of the Fresno County public defender's office, also is anxious to get the trial moving, but acknowledges that the complexity of the case is bogging it down. "It's a quagmire," says Jones. "This case has more discovery by far than any capital case I've seen."

Fresno lawyer Ernest S. Kinney recently volunteered to help defend Ewell, but with the mound of paperwork involved, he is still immersed in documents trying to get up to speed, said Jones.

Jones is especially concerned about the publicity the case has generated and plans to ask for another change of venue when the trial gets started, "but it will probably fall on deaf ears." His original request was denied by the court.

Jones is troubled by the results of surveys from his office which indicate that 85 percent of Fresno area residents have heard of the case and 60 percent have already made up their minds.

Of even more concern is the prospect that a book being written about the Ewell case may be released before or during the trial, he said.

Officials speculate that Dana Ewell, who was 24 at the time of the murders, hired his friend Radovcich to kill his mother, father and sister, in order to gain control over the family's estimated $7 million estate.

Ernest Jack Ponce, 26, of San Bernardino and Joel Radovcich's brother, Peter Radovcich, 26, of West Hills also were arrested in connection with the murders but later released. Ponce reportedly supplied the weapon to Joel, and Peter Radovcich allegedly helped destroy it. Ponce agreed to testify for the prosecution.

The wills

Glee and Dale Ewell's will specified that in the event of their deaths, the bulk of their estate would be held in trust and distributed on Dana Ewell's 25th, 30th and 35th birthdays.

But because of the murder charges, assets from the estate have been frozen, leaving Dana Ewell without funds and eligible for representation by the county public defender.

According to reports in the Fresno Bee, Dana Ewell also became the executor of his grandmother's $400,000 trust account after his family was killed. The account was set up in the 1970s for Glee Ewell's mother, Glee Mitchell, who is now 93 and lives in a rest home.

Investigators, however, discovered that in the years since Dana Ewell took control, the trust account dwindled to less than $2,000. Financial records showed hundreds of transactions during a three-year period, which officials believe were used to support the lifestyles of Ewell, Radovcich and Ewell's girlfriend, Monica Zent, a law student at the University of San Diego.

The Fresno Bee reports that court documents show transactions involving Ewell's grandmother's trust account included a $17,014 check to the University of San Diego, about $40,000 in checks payable to Zent, $11,320 for flying lessons for Ewell and Radovcich, and more than $200,000 to retain a lawyer for Ewell after he was arrested.

Investigators also found more than 25 accounts in 14 different banks. Some of the accounts were in Dana Ewell's name, while others were held jointly with his grandmother or his girlfriend.

Most of the funds were eventually returned to the accounts and, although the transactions were considerably tangled and complicated, some observers say they were not necessarily illegal.

Dana Ewell was to have inherited the bulk of his family's estate had his parent and sister died naturally.

However, because the family was murdered, Dale Ewell's three brothers have attempted to prevent their nephew from receiving any of the funds.

According to Jones, more complications have arisen since 1994, when Dana Ewell's grandfather died in a basement explosion in his home in Ohio, which fire officials have attributed to an unsafe gas generator. Meanwhile, his estate is still unsettled.

The Ewell family spent Easter weekend 1992 at their vacation home in Pajaro Dunes, a coastal development outside Watsonville.

On that Sunday, Glee and Tiffany, a graduate student at Fresno State University, drove back to their Fresno home while Dale returned in his airplane. Dale was a rancher and owner of Western Piper Sales Inc., selling general aviation aircraft.

Sheriff's officials believe the killer was in the Ewell home and shot Glee and Tiffany when they arrived. Dale was killed about 30 minutes later after he entered the house from the garage.

At the time of the murders, Dana was having dinner in Morgan Hill with his girlfriend's family, including her FBI agent father, John Zent.

Arrested in 1995

After nearly three years of a frustrating investigation, Fresno County sheriff's officials arrested Ewell and Radovcich in March 1995.

Ewell turned himself in to authorities in southern California when he discovered he was sought by the Fresno County sheriff.

According to The Bee, money was a driving factor in Dana Ewell's life. He had expensive taste in clothes and cars, driving a gold Mercedes Benz. In addition, his relationship with his father, a hard-driving businessman, was on rocky grounds.

Ewell attended the University of Santa Clara and was the subject of a college yearbook feature after he convinced staff members that he owned a company which grossed $2.7 million. He told of playing the stock market in high school, becoming a stockbroker at the age of 18, an aircraft salesman and president of his own aircraft company.

The bogus story was picked up by the San Jose Mercury News, much to the dismay of his family, who kept quiet about the incident.

Glee Ewell, a former teacher, was a popular and very visible civic activist in Fresno. Her public service stints included involvement in Valley Children's Hospital, the civil service commission, county grand jury, museums and other charities.

At the time of her death, Ewell was a member of the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission. She was appointed to the State Bar Board of Governors as a public member by Gov. George Deukmejian in 1985 and reappointed for another three-year term in 1988.

The State Bar's first president from Fresno, Don Fischbach, attributes his interest in the board of governors to Ewell, who convinced him to run for a seat. Fischbach's wife, Linda, babysat the Ewell children when she was younger and was devastated by the news of the family's tragedy.

Even today, five years later, the Fresno community remembers Glee Ewell and her upbeat personality. Prosecutor Hammerschmidt never knew her, but he said her name comes up frequently.

"I've heard lots of people tell me what a sweet lady she was," he said.


Slaying of Family Remains a Mystery

Fresno police have mostly discounted possible ties of wealthy businessman to drug dealing or disgruntled Filipino investors. They now focus on the lone surviving son.

By Mark Arax - Los Angeles Times

March 22, 1993

FRESNO — Dale and Glee Ewell were not like the other new rich. They did not announce their wealth with a 10,000-square-foot home on the bluffs of the San Joaquin River.

Dale ran his farms and airplane dealership and Glee did volunteer work and served on a state commission to evaluate judicial nominees. They lived with little fanfare, careful to guard their privacy.

So when their bodies and that of a 24-year-old daughter, Tiffany, were found inside their ranch house in April, shot to death in a manner that suggested murder-for-hire, tongues here started wagging.

Did you know Glee worked for the CIA? Did you know Dale was smuggling drugs via aircraft from Mexico? Did you know the Filipino mob, angry over business dealings with the Ewells, mutilated the bodies?

Investigators quickly scotched the early speculation. Now, nearly a year after the Easter Sunday killings, detectives are focusing on the Ewells' only surviving child--Dana, 21, a college student with high-roller tastes and a fascination for Joe Hunt and his Billionaire Boys Club.

"To be hit with all these rumors and then to read in the newspaper that Dana is now a suspect . . . it's been a damn trauma," said a family friend.


Easter weekend. Glee, 57, and Tiffany, a graduate student at Cal State Fresno, drove to the family beach house near Watsonville. Dale, 59, an expert pilot, insisted on flying there alone--his one fear being that a plane or car crash would kill the whole family.

That Saturday, the Ewells entertained son Dana, a finance major at Santa Clara University, his girlfriend and her parents. Glee and Tiffany drove back to Fresno early Sunday.

Sheriff's investigators are refusing to reveal details of the shooting and have not determined whether more than one gunman was involved. There was no sign of forced entry at the Ewell house in the upper-middle-class Sunnyside neighborhood. Mother and daughter may have been confronted before they walked in the door.

Glee was gunned down in the den, Tiffany in the kitchen. Dale Ewell, a tall beefy man, arrived a short time later clutching the newspaper. He was shot from behind. It is likely he never knew the fate of his wife and daughter.

"It was quick and it was clean," said Fresno County Sheriff's Detective Ernie Burk.

But the investigation has been anything but quick and clean. Sheriff's detectives spent four days combing the house and trying to re-enact the slayings, a job made daunting by a killer who had taken care to pick up each bullet casing.

Detectives quickly discounted Glee's stint in the CIA in the late 1950s. She had been stationed in Argentina as a Spanish-language translator for the intelligence agency, a few years before she met Dale.

Searching court records, detectives learned that Dale Ewell had sold planes for aircraft dealer Frank Lambe, who in 1971 oversaw a large Mexico-to-Fresno drug smuggling venture. Lambe was jailed and Ewell took over his dealership. Investigators pursued the theory that bad blood still existed between Lambe and Ewell. They also speculated that Ewell might have been involved in the ring and more recent drug smuggling.

"We've pretty much ruled out any fallout from the old Lambe ring," said Detective John Souza. "And as far as we can tell, Ewell's fortune came from hard work and shrewd investments in farming. He didn't need drug smuggling."

But wealth did not stop Ewell from occasionally crossing the line to make a quick buck. Court records show he once lied about the sale price of a plane to pocket an extra $2,500 from the owners. Court files here are thick with lawsuits involving his business ventures.

In particular, detectives wonder what role Ewell may have played in a residential and golf course development headed by his younger brother Ben. The project, plagued by problems, has absorbed millions of dollars in overseas cash--much of it raised by Filipinos once tied to the corrupt Ferdinand Marcos regime.

"If something did go sour between the Filipinos and the Ewells, why kill Glee and Tiffany?" Souza asks. "It doesn't add up."


That leaves burglary-gone-bad or a theory involving Dana Ewell, the sole heir to an $8-million estate.

The day of the murder, Dana was in the Bay Area with his girlfriend, her mother and her father, who is an FBI agent in San Jose. The Ewells' housekeeper discovered the bodies two days later, after Dana called a neighbor in Fresno saying he had been unable to reach the family by phone.

He contributed half of the $50,000 reward fund and then, sensing he was a target, hired a criminal attorney. Lawyer Richard Berman said he and his client are not discussing the case with reporters. In a letter to sheriff's officials, Berman said Dana "adamantly denies any participation in this heinous crime."

Investigators are also being tight-lipped, publicly saying only that the son has not been ruled out as a suspect. And yet it is clear that Dana Ewell has become the main focus in recent months.

Detectives traveled to Southern California and Utah and spent a week at Santa Clara University trying to glean information about Ewell and a college buddy, Joel P. Radovcich, a San Fernando Valley native who dropped out of sight after being questioned. Investigators said they are trying to find Radovcich to question him again.

Family and friends say they hope that authorities clear Dana, but even they have been confounded by his behavior in recent years. They say he grew enamored of Hunt and the Billionaire Boys Club after watching a TV movie about the young Southern Californians whose efforts to make a fortune in the commodities market ended in two murders.

Eighteen months before the Fresno murders, the San Jose Mercury News printed a front-page feature on Dana Ewell headlined: "Teen Mogul Tries For Normal College Life." The article depicted a young tycoon dressed in elegant suits, selling mutual funds and building a bankrupt airplane dealership into a $4-million windfall.

The article and a similar one that appeared in the 1990 Santa Clara University yearbook were near-complete fabrications, friends and family say. Dana Ewell had credited himself with his father's lengthy accomplishments, but in truth he had no role in the family business.

"It's like his father didn't exist," said a former business associate.



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