MP of the week: Dena McHan

This week’s featured missing person is Dena Viola McHan, a 19-year-old college student who disappeared from Stockton, California on December 6, 1981. She was on her way home when she stopped to get gas.

While she was there an attendant noticed some men “harassing” her, but Dena said she didn’t need any help. She has never been seen again and her car was never found either.

Foul play is suspected in her case, and obviously the first suspects that come to mind are the two men who were bothering her. I wonder if these men have ever been identified and if they were known to Dena. I wonder if maybe they followed her and ran her off the road, or perhaps abducted her at the station itself, though this is less likely.

I also wonder whether Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog were ever investigated in this case. They are known or suspected in several murders and disappearances in that same area in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems reasonable to at least ask Shermantine about this; he’s still alive, though Herzog suicided in 2012.

9 thoughts on “MP of the week: Dena McHan

  1. missingmysteries October 14, 2020 / 9:46 pm

    Ugh, the possibility that the men from the gas station followed her and maybe forced her off the road made me think of a case (that I think of often): Shelley Sikes (http://charleyproject.org/case/shelley-kathleen-sikes).
    If what happened to Shelley is even half as bad as the one suspect said it was, it was horrible. As far as Dena, I think there were several serial killers around at the time. Back then and even now, a young woman driving somewhere or getting gas and minding her own business can still be singled out by aggressive men just for simply existing and being found attractive even if she weren’t trying to attract anyone.

    • Meaghan October 14, 2020 / 10:08 pm

      I looked into Shermantine and Herzog and learned they were only like 16 when Dena disappeared. So it’s still possible it was them, but unlikely.

  2. Dawn Marie October 15, 2020 / 10:27 am

    I wonder if Dena had been sick recently or had lost a lot of weight. She was wearing jeans three sizes too big for her, and that was definitely not the fashion at the time. That’s the kind of too-big that even a belt can’t help with.

    • Meaghan October 15, 2020 / 10:57 am

      She’d messed up her pants while she was out and about and had to borrow a friend’s pair.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan October 15, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    Meaghan, it mentions that she stopped for gas. There is no mention, if the car was found or is missin also.

    There are a number of missing person cases, where they were last seen in their vehicle. In many cases the vehicle is also missing.

    • Meaghan October 15, 2020 / 6:53 pm

      The car hasn’t been found. It’s in the casefile: “She has never been heard from again and her car has never been located.”

      • missingmysteries October 18, 2020 / 11:35 pm

        That does leave open the possibility that she inadvertently drive her car into a body of water. It sure wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

      • Meaghan October 18, 2020 / 11:36 pm

        Yup, that possibility is entirely on the cards.

  4. Lacy October 19, 2020 / 11:47 pm

    I just read the entry from your link, Missing Mysteries. What a horrifying case.

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