SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – A new DNA test may soon help solve a 1970 cold case

In April of 1970, Dale Jean Langston and her two young children were brutally murdered at their home on Marilyn Drive in Layton.

The case has had several twists and turns. At one time, there was a prime suspect, Dennis Baker who was found hanging from his cell in 1974. But there’s some question whether Baker committed the murders.

“We just kept finding more and more facts that just didn’t add up,” said Karra Porter with the Utah Cold Case Foundation.

Police records showed the 24-year old Langston was sexually assaulted and then stabbed 33 times.
Her daughter, Christine Jeffs’s throat was slashed and Troy was stabbed repeatedly and disemboweled.

“There wasn’t any reason why anyone should mutilate or her two children,” said Langston’s younger sister Shirlene Renshaw. “She was a very good girl. She was a good mother.”

At the time, Baker was a family friend, often seen at the Langston home. But the case against baker wasn’t easy to prove.

Months after charges were filed, a judge dismissed the case due to lack of evidence. But three years later, he was charged again.

But Baker was found hanging from his cell. Porter said Baker had filed complaints with the court that guards at the prison had threatened to kill him. There was no investigation and it was considered a suicide.

Apparently, Layton police were not convinced Baker was the killer. The case was re-opened in 2001. A detective told reporters he “does not believe investigators in 1970 explored every avenue.”

Porter said the so-called blood evidence found in Baker’s car was refuted by the FBI and there was something else.

“Dennis had an unimpeachable alibi for most of that night and that was never disclosed to the family or the court,” Porter said.

A year after the case was re-opened it was closed and there were still no answers.

A year ago, Porter found a mysterious note in a storage unit. She and her brother decided to rent a storage unit and found the note as they began moving their property into the unit.

“The note that I found in the storage unit referred to a different potential suspect,” said Porter.

The coalition began looking into the case and started gathering information from the 1970 police files and questioning witnesses from that time period.

“Essentially, we believe there are three potential suspects in this case,” she said.
According to past news accounts, Langston’s husband Don, mingled with shady characters.

In fact, Dale Jean’s mother once told a reporter her daughter is “afraid of a lot of Don’s friends because most of them came from the pen (prison).”

“Shortly before this murder Dale Jean’s husband was believed to have ratted out some organized crime members that had purchased a lot of guns,” Porter claimed.

On the day of the murder, Don Langston was out of town.

According to Porter, there was a police raid at a home and the guns were confiscated

“There were only one or two people who knew that they had bought these guns which were stolen,” Porter said.

The coalition’s findings are now in the hands of Layton police.

Porter said she plans to re-examine the DNA that was found on Langston’s body when she was sexually assaulted.

“The DNA may point to Dennis Baker (or) it may point to some other individuals,” Porter said.

For the family of Dale Jean Langston, this latest development may finally provide answers after 51 years.

“It gives me a lot of hope,” Renshaw said. “I wish my mother and my father were here. But that doesn’t matter to them anymore. But it gives me hope that there will be answers.”

Layton police did not return calls from ABC4. Don Langston is believed to be living in California. A call to his possible residence was not returned.