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Old 06-26-2009, 01:03 PM   #16
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The biggest thing that stands out in my mind about this story is Mrs. Barry (the old woman he scammed out of money), I felt really bad for her, especially because of her age. When they started the story in 1978 she was already getting up there, and by the time the segment came out, Stack said to the effect that she was "now 92 years old and in fragile health".

Does anyone know when she passed away (I'm sure she wouldn't be alive now, at like 110), or if she was able to reaccumulate any of the money she'd lost?
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Oldschooler81
The biggest thing that stands out in my mind about this story is Mrs. Barry (the old woman he scammed out of money), I felt really bad for her, especially because of her age. When they started the story in 1978 she was already getting up there, and by the time the segment came out, Stack said to the effect that she was "now 92 years old and in fragile health".

Does anyone know when she passed away (I'm sure she wouldn't be alive now, at like 110), or if she was able to reaccumulate any of the money she'd lost?
Ellen McClung Berry passed away in 1992, moved from Berrymount, and indeed lived the rest of her days off the proceeds from an endowment she had made to the University of Tennessee (my alma mater, btw ), where she had actually been an art professor for some time.

As I've said in other threads before, the McClungs are one of THE most important families of Knoxville (and there's not too many ). Everything is named McClung this, McClung that. Extremely influential people.

http://www.fountaincitytnhistory.inf...BerryEllen.htm
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Third Man

A friend of the lady whom Tondevald was scamming claims that "it doesn't make sense" for Tondevald to kill himself having stolen lots of money from the scammee. I'm not so sure; I'd argue that Tondevald knew the end of the gravy train was nigh--once they returned from South Carolina the jig was going to be up--and he also knew that he had now soaked the woman for all she had.
I think that Tondevold took Mrs. Berry to South Carolina as the final part of his plan to take all her money. If there were notices from bill collectors, banks, trusts, etc., they most likely were not being forwarded to them in SC. He got her away from Berrymount so she would not notice anything was amiss.

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I'm also far from convinced that Tondevald was necessarily looking for a body double in the ad. Looking for a chauffeur for a four-month trip makes some sense; Tondevald probably didn't want to have to drive her around all that time. Even asking for a picture for a job like that isn't that unusual; an older woman wouldn't want to be driven around by a scary-looking guy, and that could eliminate some candidates right off the bat. Also, one other key point: Tondevald posted the ad at the beginning of the four-month vacation. Why would Tondevald do that, when he "needed" the body double at the end of the vacation?
The advertisement for the chauffeur was for Berrymount. In the ad, it states that the chauffeur is needed for an east Tennessee country home, not for South Carolina. If Tondevold placed the ad at the beginning of a vacation, he would have more time to find a double. Also, he requested single men - if he planned to use the "chauffeur" as the double, a disappearance would be less likely to be immediately reported.

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It just seems to me like a rather high-risk strategy for disappearing...run an ad and hope that someone who looks vaguely like you responds, lure said candidate into the middle of nowhere, and fake a suicide and hope that the guy that identifies your body double never got a good look at you. If Tondevald wanted to disappear, all he would have had to do is stay behind in South Carolina (as he did), then take off somewhere else and just not bother with the body double and the fake suicide. He could have been long gone by the time anybody noticed.
I think it was clear that he did not want anyone to find him. The body was found in a remote area - it had been there for a while, so there were probably signs of decomposition, which would make identification difficult. Also, he requested immediate cremation in his suicide note. No photo ID was found on the body, but there were a few strategically placed items belonging to Mrs. Berry at the scene (the gun and the credit cards).

I tend to believe that Tondevold managed to escape with the money, and was not the body found in the swamp. I do have a few questions though.

1. How did Mrs. Berry and Tondevold first meet? (This is never fully explained and may not be known.)
2. How did Tondevold move the money without leaving a paper trail?
3. Were there any reports of a missing person around the time the body was found that could potentially be the actual victim?

This is still one of the most intriguing cases on UM for me.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:14 PM   #19
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Tondevold sooooo did it. The fact that he wasn't some fancy Danish national but from Vegas (discovered by UM, not the police.....interesting) was always pretty funny to me.
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Old 06-28-2009, 06:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Tennessean
In the early 80's I was working in a specialty food shop in Knoxville called The Gourmet's Market and Dan Tondevold was a regular customer. I asked him about the origin of his name and he said he was Danish. I mentioned that I had a good friend from Aarhus and he said he had never heard of it. Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark. I wonder how many Americans have never heard of Chicago?
chicago is the 4th largest city in America...LA is 2nd
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Old 06-28-2009, 06:14 PM   #21
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I tend to believe that Tondevold managed to escape with the money, and was not the body found in the swamp. I do have a few questions though.

1. How did Mrs. Berry and Tondevold first meet? (This is never fully explained and may not be known.)
2. How did Tondevold move the money without leaving a paper trail?
3. Were there any reports of a missing person around the time the body was found that could potentially be the actual victim?
1. Most likely Dan met Mrs. Berry at some function, Dan probably was stalking her and just looked for an opening to meet her and charm his way into her life.

2. Good question, I believe there may be another party that helped Tondevald with the money side of things. Perhaps the dead body is that second party.

3. This is the biggest argument against Dan being alive. If there was a a dead chauffeur, that person would most likely be missed, even if he was unmarried. Perhaps this person was a vagrant or disreputable person. Someone desperate enough to take Dan's offer.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:40 AM   #22
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According to MegtheEgg's link above, the Berry's met Tondevold in the sixties in a shop in San Francisco and struck up a conversation with him based on his similar appearance to their son.

I think it's possible that Tondevold found a double and slipped away. I think it's equally likely that, after going through all the trouble of taking the money and moving it into offshore accounts, he got scared or spooked (since the people at the resort where he was staying seemed to be onto him), or possibly had more trouble changing identities/getting out of the country than he had anticipated, and decided to take his own life rather than face prosecution.

I think if something like this were to happen to day, enough forensics and fingerprinting could be done to determine a.) whether or not the body was Tondevold or b.) how likely it was that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. Given the time that it happened (mid-1980's) and the location (Fripp Island, a resort area) it's unlikely that the police force was accustomed to dealing with many possible homicides or had access to much in the way of advanced investigative techniques, and therefore the investigation was botched.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:30 PM   #23
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There are discrepancies between the Las Vegas Dan Tondevold and the later one, but he could have easier had plastic surgery. He had been taking money from Mrs. Berry for years - it wouldn't have been difficult for a little nip and tuck here and there.

I wonder if they could have determined how long the body had been in the swamp. It's possible the body could have been there longer than the day of Tondevold's supposed "suicide." Also, he went to a resort about 100 miles from Charleston. If he found the double in Charleston to hire as the chauffeur, he may have brought him to Fripp Island to ensure his disappearance wasn't noted right away. Tondevold could have murdered him before writing the suicide note to have a body ready, in an area where it would not be found immediately.

A guy who was smart enough to get all that money would be able to devise a plan to get out of the country undetected.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:04 PM   #24
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I am from Denmark and a huge fan of UM and as such was much surprised by the Dan Tondevold case, which I just watched in poor quality on youtube.

I did a little detective work of my own and as I expected ‘Tondevold’ or ‘Tøndevold’ is not a very common Danish surname. According to the National Statistics Bureau here less than five people share it. My feeling is that Tondevold/Tøndevold in fact originates from Norway; at least it sounds very Norwegian.

When looking at the pictures of Tondevold, I must admit he looks a picture perfect Dane/Scandinavian, so maybe he was from these parts of the world; however if he was indeed Danish why the very unusual surname and oblivion of Århus?

To me it seems more likely that he was a person masquerading as Dane and with a very limited knowledge of Denmark. Maybe he was born in Las Vegas by Norwegian/Danish immigrants (likely considering his birth year) and built his alter ego on the stories/accents of his family?
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:57 PM   #25
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I did a little detective work of my own and as I expected ‘Tondevold’ or ‘Tøndevold’ is not a very common Danish surname. According to the National Statistics Bureau here less than five people share it. My feeling is that Tondevold/Tøndevold in fact originates from Norway; at least it sounds very Norwegian.

When looking at the pictures of Tondevold, I must admit he looks a picture perfect Dane/Scandinavian, so maybe he was from these parts of the world; however if he was indeed Danish why the very unusual surname and oblivion of Århus?

To me it seems more likely that he was a person masquerading as Dane and with a very limited knowledge of Denmark. Maybe he was born in Las Vegas by Norwegian/Danish immigrants (likely considering his birth year) and built his alter ego on the stories/accents of his family?
Interesting


1. I just did a Google search and found a bunch of people by the last name Tondevold. So it is very common in America as a surname.

2. Lots of immigrants bastardize their names, it's possible their name was something else and they turned it into Tondeveold.

3. Do you know what Tondevold means in Norweigan? Is it a name from old Literature or Norse religions?
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:24 AM   #26
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Your all full of crap... Dan tondevold is my uncle!!! He is from vegas. He lived in santa Barbara for years.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:29 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cindy5
Your all full of crap... Dan tondevold is my uncle!!! He is from vegas. He lived in santa Barbara for years.
Well of course we are full of crap! We do not know the man personally and know only the content of the segment.

If he is indeed your uncle, could you tell us more about him? Please tell us more, we are dying to know more about Dan Tondevold (yes, it is him in my avatar).
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:29 AM   #28
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Your all full of crap... Dan tondevold is my uncle!!! He is from vegas. He lived in santa Barbara for years.
Well after I saw the segment and the fact he was in a Las Vegas high school yearbook I never doubted he was an American.

Any news about him, is he alive?
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:18 AM   #29
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I have always thought that the key to this case is the dead dog that was found with what was claimed to be Tondevold's body. Does anyone know if Tondevold actually had a dog?
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:17 AM   #30
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I love this forum. We really get people to come out and talk about things when we all are left to speculate!
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