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Old 09-11-2008, 01:38 PM   #1
MegtheEgg86
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Default Dan Tondevold Questions

I never saw this segment while UM was on Lifetime and discovered it by total coincidence while watching an old VHS tape of my friend's she had recorded years ago from tv. Unfortunately, the tape cut off right at the part where they'd found a body in South Carolina (Tondevold, right?). I did some searching on the board and figured out the Fripp Island police identified a body as Tondevold's, but no one who actually knew Tondevold was ever brought in to identify him (correct?). Was there ever any resolution in the case, and has there been much news about it since then? I read that there's speculation that the body wasn't Tondevold at all and that he's maybe still alive, even though there's a Social Security death record on him.

A few unsettling things---

1. Definitely the dead dog found near the body. The segment mentioned nothing about Tondevold owning a pet and made it sound as though it was just a random dog (at least from what I saw). Why would anyone shoot a random dog while committing suicide? I mean, I suppose it's plausible, but I just think that's kind of weird.

2. There was a poster who mentioned that he/she had actually met Dan Tondevold in the early '80s. He/she mentioned that he/she had a friend from Aarhus, to which Tondevold replied he had "never heard of"---which would've been ludicrous if he'd actually been from Denmark. What I wonder is if Dan Tondevold is actually the man's given name, or if he assumed it, and if he continued on to do the same thing to different women under different aliases. And if so, has he ever been arrested without having anyone recognize him as Tondevold? (UM covered very similar stories, and I wonder if he could he have been featured on UM more than once and no one's been aware of it. Maybe it's kind of far-fetched, but an interesting notion regardless.)

3. Ellen McClung Berry was actually an art professor at my school sometime in the early '90s and has at least three scholarships/fellowships in her name in the art program. The McClungs are among Knoxville's "first" families and many buildings and monuments here (especially at school) are named after them. It's terrible what happened to her, but I have to admit I was pretty freaked out about the Hugh Berry story. I had heard a lot of stories about Knoxville "high life" and the scandals that have gone on, but never that one. I wonder whatever happened to him.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegtheEgg86
I never saw this segment while UM was on Lifetime and discovered it by total coincidence while watching an old VHS tape of my friend's she had recorded years ago from tv. Unfortunately, the tape cut off right at the part where they'd found a body in South Carolina (Tondevold, right?). I did some searching on the board and figured out the Fripp Island police identified a body as Tondevold's, but no one who actually knew Tondevold was ever brought in to identify him (correct?). Was there ever any resolution in the case, and has there been much news about it since then? I read that there's speculation that the body wasn't Tondevold at all and that he's maybe still alive, even though there's a Social Security death record on him.

A few unsettling things---

1. Definitely the dead dog found near the body. The segment mentioned nothing about Tondevold owning a pet and made it sound as though it was just a random dog (at least from what I saw). Why would anyone shoot a random dog while committing suicide? I mean, I suppose it's plausible, but I just think that's kind of weird.

2. There was a poster who mentioned that he/she had actually met Dan Tondevold in the early '80s. He/she mentioned that he/she had a friend from Aarhus, to which Tondevold replied he had "never heard of"---which would've been ludicrous if he'd actually been from Denmark. What I wonder is if Dan Tondevold is actually the man's given name, or if he assumed it, and if he continued on to do the same thing to different women under different aliases. And if so, has he ever been arrested without having anyone recognize him as Tondevold? (UM covered very similar stories, and I wonder if he could he have been featured on UM more than once and no one's been aware of it. Maybe it's kind of far-fetched, but an interesting notion regardless.)

3. Ellen McClung Berry was actually an art professor at my school sometime in the early '90s and has at least three scholarships/fellowships in her name in the art program. The McClungs are among Knoxville's "first" families and many buildings and monuments here (especially at school) are named after them. It's terrible what happened to her, but I have to admit I was pretty freaked out about the Hugh Berry story. I had heard a lot of stories about Knoxville "high life" and the scandals that have gone on, but never that one. I wonder whatever happened to him.
Old thread, BUT, I can answer a few questions, but I'm left with my own about the case.

According to the SPIKE episode of this case they are still trying to find out if Dan is still alive, BUT they mentioned a viewer sent them a copy of a yearbook from a high school in Las Vegas that showed the real Tondevold as a teenager when he graduated in 1951. So, he was real.

I remember this episode when it was on NBC and Lifetime, and remember the bit about the dog. Strangely, SPIKE left out the part about the dog and cut out the scene with the dog near the body. The only mention of the dog was a brief moment when you see Tondevold shoot the gun.

I want to know if the coroner took fingerprints or if they just followed the will and cremated the body. Part of me wants to believe he killed himself in the swamp, but why would he go to all that effort just to kill himself and not enjoy the money he took? Also, can you not get the money back from the bank if it's stolen from you?
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:27 AM   #3
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That's basically what Mrs. Berry's friend in the segment thought as well. And so do I.

I'm not even convinced the "young" Tondevold and the "older" Tondevold are the same person, but I cannot prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt even with the two pics compared.

There was no autopsy, authorities have followed the letter's request to cremate the body upon discovered. So I take that they didn't take the fingerprints either - possibly because the body was decomposed beyond recognition.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Drakken
That's basically what Mrs. Berry's friend in the segment thought as well. And so do I.

I'm not even convinced the "young" Tondevold and the "older" Tondevold are the same person, but I cannot prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt even with the two pics compared.

There was no autopsy, authorities have followed the letter's request to cremate the body upon discovered. So I take that they didn't take the fingerprints either - possibly because the body was decomposed beyond recognition.
Looking at the pictures again, I'm not convinced it's the same person. But there is a huge difference in what people look like at 18 and 40, so I guess anything is possible. I just don't see him going to the trouble for nothing. Unless, he did kill himself and someone else has had access to the money he put in an offshore account. Otherwise I don't buy a guy leaving millions in an account to rot for eternity.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:16 AM   #5
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I watched this case again on Spike the other night too. I have mentioned on a few threads on here that the key to this case IMO is the dead dog. Did Tondevold own a dog? If he didn't, I firmly believe that the man found with the dead dog was not Tondevold. I would love to know the answer to the question as to whether Tondevold had a dog or not though.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by starmushrooms
Old thread, BUT, I can answer a few questions, but I'm left with my own about the case.

According to the SPIKE episode of this case they are still trying to find out if Dan is still alive, BUT they mentioned a viewer sent them a copy of a yearbook from a high school in Las Vegas that showed the real Tondevold as a teenager when he graduated in 1951. So, he was real.

I remember this episode when it was on NBC and Lifetime, and remember the bit about the dog. Strangely, SPIKE left out the part about the dog and cut out the scene with the dog near the body. The only mention of the dog was a brief moment when you see Tondevold shoot the gun.

I want to know if the coroner took fingerprints or if they just followed the will and cremated the body. Part of me wants to believe he killed himself in the swamp, but why would he go to all that effort just to kill himself and not enjoy the money he took? Also, can you not get the money back from the bank if it's stolen from you?
IIRC, she signed Power of Attorney over to him. They would have to prove some kind of fraud took place when she did that.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CanadianUMFan
I watched this case again on Spike the other night too. I have mentioned on a few threads on here that the key to this case IMO is the dead dog. Did Tondevold own a dog? If he didn't, I firmly believe that the man found with the dead dog was not Tondevold. I would love to know the answer to the question as to whether Tondevold had a dog or not though.
For some reason when watching the case I assumed the guy he lured into the field owned the dog and that's the excuse for being there - to walk the dog. Why he had to shoot the dog too is a mystery to me, but I guess it completes the coverup.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:47 AM   #8
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For some reason when watching the case I assumed the guy he lured into the field owned the dog and that's the excuse for being there - to walk the dog. Why he had to shoot the dog too is a mystery to me, but I guess it completes the coverup.
That's generally what I think as well.


I don't see how Mrs. Berry signing over her power of attorney indicates fraud, though. You can sign over your power of attorney to anyone you wish, correct?
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:11 AM   #9
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I think the young Tandevold in the yearbook and the Tandevold in the pictures with the elderly woman are the same man. I also think that Tandevold is not dead or at least was not the dead man in the field in South Carolina. The South Carolina police bungled that death so badly it is just incredible. I agree that if you can find whether or not Tandevold owned a dog, that would solve the case. As I recall, Tandevold was never seen in the area where he was staying in South Carolina, with a dog. Plus Tandevold putting an ad in the South Carolina newspapers asking for a driver. Truth be told, I think that Tandevold knew the crap was about to hit the fan, he planned this months ahead of time and he was looking for a lookalike knowing that chances are that days would go by and that the body would be decomposed by the time police found it, thus harder to identify. I think by killing the dog, Tandevold figured he would keep the dog from running away and being found, thus leading to possible questions there as to why the dog was running around unattended, as well as by killing the dog, it would lead the cops to think of suicide.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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From what I have found and I am not sure this is a same woman, but she was born the same year an Ellen M. Berry born in 1893 and whose social security was issued in the state of Tennessee, died in 1992 in Dallas, Texas at the age of 99.
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Old 04-04-2010, 07:51 AM   #11
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What did happen to Mrs Berry's son Hugh?
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:33 PM   #12
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What did happen to Mrs Berry's son Hugh?
In the segment they said that he killed his grandmother when he was 18 and was legally declared insane. He out lived the rest of his short life in a Mexican prison.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:40 AM   #13
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One thing I always wondered about the yearbook with the picture of the real Dan Tondevold. I do not believe this is the man who ran the scam, but did anyone ever go through the yearbook looking for others in it who would match the description of a young fake Dan Tondevold. It may be a long shot, but what if he was using the identity of someone he knew or a name he had pulled from an old yearbook?
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:25 PM   #14
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There was no autopsy, authorities have followed the letter's request to cremate the body upon discovered.
That's kind of ridiculous. It's a suspicious death; they should have done an autopsy no matter what the letter said.

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I don't see how Mrs. Berry signing over her power of attorney indicates fraud, though. You can sign over your power of attorney to anyone you wish, correct?
Yes, you can. And unfortunately, Mrs. Berry probably wouldn't have gotten her money back if she willingly signed POA over to someone.

I think what the original poster meant was, in order to get the money back, they would have to be able to prove that some fraud was involved in the signing of the POA. Like if Dan Tondevold wasn't who he said he was and had misrepresented himself, then he could be prosecuted. But normally, if you give someone POA and they end up taking or squandering your money, you're kind of screwed. It's kind of like giving someone your credit card to use.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
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That's kind of ridiculous. It's a suspicious death; they should have done an autopsy no matter what the letter said.
I don't really see how this is a suspicious death. In the segment someone identified him and law enforcement ruled at the scene it was a suicide. If his will said he didn't want an autopsy, then no autopsy was done. The will also mentioned that he was to be cremated.

There were numerous witnessess at the country club who said they didn't see Toldevold with anybody else. Other witnessess said they never saw Toldevold in the company of anyone else around the time of his death.
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