Killer Hitchhiker: The Murder of Dorothy Donovan

A curious cold case was finally solved in 2005.

Verity Partington
5 min readJul 3, 2021


The photofit of the mysterious hitchhiker (Image: Unsolved Mysteries Wiki)

When Delaware factory worker Charles Holden finished an evening shift one night in June 1991, he just wanted to grab some fast food and get back home. But that simple stop-off would lead to a situation straight out of a horror film — and 14 years of suspicion that Charles brutally murdered his mother.

Stranger danger

It was around midnight in the town of Harrington, and Charles Holden had just picked up a burger and returned to his car in the parking lot when he was approached by a stranger looking for a ride.

The man said he needed to get to a hospital in nearby Georgetown because his sister was having a baby and had been admitted. Charles was hesitant, but didn’t want to simply leave the man alone in his predicament and so reluctantly agreed.

The man got in and Charles drove him around three miles to the junction between the highway and Killen Pond Road before telling him that was as far as he was going. However, to his horror, the hitchhiker began to attack him and grabbed Charles’s own screwdriver that had been lying inside the vehicle to assault him with.

Fearing for his life, Charles jumped out of his car and fled towards a store to get help, but the man caught up with him and told him he would kill Charles if he didn’t continue the journey. Thinking fast, Charles pacified the man by telling him he would give him the ride and the two men turned back to walk to the car.

Before the hitchhiker could reach the passenger side, though, Charles leapt in and sped away. Although the stranger tried to follow and run behind the vehicle, he couldn’t keep up and Charles managed to leave him behind at last.

Thinking that was the end of the deeply unpleasant encounter, Charles continued his short drive home. However, to his alarm, he saw the hitchhiker again as he pulled onto a street close to his property.

He quickly drove away and made a few loops to ensure the stranger didn’t know where he lived, as well as stopping off to use a nearby payphone to call the police. A female police officer named Myrna Kinney responded and Charles waited for her to arrive…



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a