Who Killed Dorothy Estep? Reward Increased in 1985 Cold Case Murder of Texas Social Worker and Mom

Dorothy Estep was last seen alive in 1985.
Dorothy Estep was last seen by a neighbor.Texas Department of Public Safety

The Texas social worker was last seen by a neighbor in 1985.

A reward has been doubled for information related to the 35-year-old cold case murder of Texas social worker Dorothy Estep.

The 32-year-old mother was last seen on Sept. 29, 1985 by a neighbor as the woman left her home outside Waco to pick up her daughter from her ex-husband, authorities said. The next day, after she failed to show up for her job as a state social worker, a colleague reported her missing.

Her yellow Plymouth Sapporo was found Sept. 30 on a state highway in neighboring McLennan County, according to the Texas Rangers. Estep's body was found in the trunk.

State and local investigators have exhausted all leads in the case, and the Texas Department of Public Safety is asking for the public's help.

“It’s still an active case and we’re working on it right now,” said Capt. Steve January, commander of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Cold Case unit. The investigation is one of more than 36 cold cases being handled by the county unit.

Rewards of $3,000 are routinely offered by the state in connection with cold cases. The reward was increased to $6,000 in Estep's case, provided information leading to an arrest is received before the next featured Texas Rangers cold case is announced, authorities said. 

No further details of the murder were released, nor was a date provided for the next cold case announcement.