Andrew Dalzell: They finally got that f#cker

News this week that  Andrew Douglas Dalzell was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Asheville to more than 26 years in federal prison for knowingly attempting to entice an individual, whom he believed was a minor child, to engage in sexual activity. Sounds a bit harsh until you learn that Dalzell is the lead suspect in the 10-year-old unsolved case of Debbie Key, who has not been seen alive since she disappeared  from a Carrboro, North Carolina pool hall one December evening. Oh yeah… and a couple of years ago Dalzell confessed to murdering her, but the bleeding-heart Orange County court threw the case out the window onto Churton street, where her grieving friends picked up the pieces and managed to continue a fragile vigil for the past 10 years.

Yes, for the last time… my part in all of this: I bought the house where Dalzell was living at the time of Key’s disappearance, and there was a period of several months where my life was turned upsidedown while local authorities searched the property frantically for a body (you can read it alllllllll here).

For me, I’m glad Dalzell finally got some of what he deserved. Now if he has any shards of decency he’ll finally reveal to authorities where he dumped the body so that Debbie’s family can have some much deserved peace (I’m not betting on him doing this: he’ll die with his disgusting secret.). And when it comes to justice and North Carolina I’m a pessimist. Wait for an appeal to overturn this verdict and Dalzell’s sentence to be reduced. That’s how the shoe drops.

Funny… on Thursday I went into U Mall in Chapel Hill for the first time in months. U Mall is a fixture in Chapel Hill, one of my favorite stores is Hungates, a hobby shop where I love to go and look at the trains and Revell models. Hungates has been there for 30 years, though recently it has struggled. It is remarkably the same junk I looked at as a kid growing up in Pierrefonds, Quebec. Hobby shops were my refuge from my sister who could be annoying at times. Recently I’ve haunted Hungates to purchase igniters for my daughter’s model rockets. And Hungates is where Andrew Dalzell worked for a time, though if I ever saw him in there I was never aware of it. Hungates ultimately lead to Dalzell’s initial arrests (they discovered he had stole merchandise and lifted from the till… go figure).

When I went into U Mall, Hungates had closed its doors for good.

So let’s move on.


3 thoughts on “Andrew Dalzell: They finally got that f#cker”

  1. Bless you my friend!
    Sorry your involuntary involvement in this case was such a bummer for you, but I’m glad we’ve become friends.

    Our vigil may have been fragile, but somehow we managed to keep it together long enough to celebrate this recent event.

    I used to like to go to Hungates too. Now I go to Michael’s for craft supplies. And don’t forget Dalzell also stole a customer’s credit card receipt from that store, which he used to make a hundred dollar purchase from mail order brides on the Internet. Sure was bright of him to ask for police assistance when he moved away from here, so they could see the stolen merchandise he had.

    Yes John, the tide is high and we’re moving on. I am confident Dalzell will eventually pay for Debbie’s death as well, and we still have to find her remains. This case isn’t closed yet, but I am pleased with the progress so far.

    I’m also pleased with the response we’ve been getting from the news media lately.

    Thanks again, John, for all the support you have given to our cause.

    Happy Easter, Everyone!

  2. So weird to have read your story about the Dalzell house. Heres why: For about a year back in the mid-90s, Andrew Dalzell was my best friend and I stayed in that horrendous house for a month. I met him where most non-preppy teenagers met in those days in Chapel Hill, on Franklin Street, and we bonded over our love of Monty Python. He was an incredible cartoonist, funny, and we were both attached to our Scottish heritage. My mother and I had always had a bad relationship, but at one point it became so bad that he offered to let me stay at his home for a while. You can only imagine how miserable my own homelife was if I was willing to stay at the house of horrors (which I quickly learned to call it once I was there). Andrew and his mother always confused me – there didnt appear to be any financial problems, yet I could not understand how anyone could live like that 24/7. They had a decent sized house and a nice woodsy parcel of land. Who has a dog and never lets the dog go outside to go to the bathroom? I could not believe these people were just letting their dog pee and poop all over the house and NEVER cleaned it up. The house REEKED. I could almost understand a teenage guy being gross and lazy, but the mother? If my memory serves, I think I only saw her a couple of times and contact was practically non-existent. At the time I thought that was refreshing in comparison to my own mothers behavior, but I quickly figured out that I could not continue to stay in that revolting environment and went back home.
    I graduated in 1994 and we unsurprisingly drifted apart. However, a part of me has felt incredibly guilty ever since I heard about the 1997 murder, for two reasons. In those years, I was an amateur pool player, and Im the one who introduced Andrew to a couple of pool halls in town. Not the one in Carrboro though, I never went to that one. And at the time, my name was almost exact to hers and I had always known that he had a major crush on me, so some part of me has wondered if that was a factor in the incident. The last time I spoke to or saw Andrew was around the same time as the murder. I left town to go to college, changed my name, and never found out about what happened until one day years ago when I was Googling old HS friends and found the news reports of his case. He had just been convicted and sentenced for the sex crimes.

    I wish I could say Im surprised by what happened with him. It was so long ago that my memories are pretty vague, but I remember him clearly being a little “off” when I knew him. Im so disappointed in what happened with the murder case and his confession being thrown out, and Ive made a point of checking up on the case occasionally. I can only hope that one day soon her body will be found and at the very least her family will have some closure to this trauma. And that Andrew Dalzell never leaves prison.

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