MINNEAPOLIS - Police are casting "fresh eyes" on the cold murder case of Anne Dunlap, 31. The Minneapolis woman was stabbed to death in 1996 and left in the trunk of her car in a Lake Street parking lot.
Minneapolis Police say a tip call in March of this year has prompted Homicide Lieutenant Rick Zimmerman to reopen the 17-year old investigation. Initial investigations focused on Brad Dunlap, 33 (in 1996), Anne's husband.
"Something like 60% of the homicides are done by a spouse," admitted Donn Barber, Anne's father, in 1996. However, Donn and Louise Barber never believed that their son-in-law had anything to do with their daughter's killing.
The Dunlaps were living temporarily with Anne's parents in their home near Lake Calhoun, while the couple was building a home in the suburbs.
"One, there is really nothing that leads to him," said Barber in 1996. "And we know him too well. He could not grieve like he could if he did it and, I say, he is an open book. It is just beyond reality to say that he is involved in it. We would know. He cannot keep a secret."
Brad Dunlap often appeared bleary-eyed and grieving before media cameras in the days before and after Anne's body was found. He had contended that Anne was going shopping at the Mall of America and never returned.
Almost two decades ago, Barber said that he, his wife and Brad Dunlap were going to a weekly grief support group together. He commented that none of them had been sleeping well.
Brad Dunlap was initially very public in his grief and search for his wife. After her funeral, it was revealed that he had taken out a million dollar life insurance policy on Anne before her death. There was also a million dollar insurance policy on Brad. Dunlap fought a court battle to force the insurance carrier to pay out his wife's policy. He eventually settled for a substantial, but smaller sum.
Donn Barber told KARE11's Pat Miles in 1996 that he thought there would be a break sometime in the case. "I think somebody will make a mistake sometime and maybe tell somebody something and hopefully will report it."
Police believe that may have finally happened.
"The information that we received stems from a conversation that Brad had years earlier, way before this murder occurred," said Cindy Barrington, Minneapolis Police spokesperson. "(It is) significant information of a prior conversation from Brad Dunlap that led to us reopening this case."
No one was ever charged with Anne Dunlap's murder, nor has Brad Dunlap or anyone else ever been named, officially, as a suspect, but public opinion had mounted against him.
"I do not want to label one person as a suspect at this time, because our big push here is to start at the beginning," said Barrington. "The investigators that have been assigned to it were not in the homicide unit back in 1996. So, it is a fresh set of eyes on the case and they have been told to start at page one. There is new DNA test that can be done now."
Brad Dunlap finally moved to Arizona and remarried. He lives in that state and has two children. The Barber family could not be reached for comment at this time.
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