Dale Clarence Sorenson II was found murdered in Lawton on February 7, 1970. He was thirty years old.

In the years since Dale’s murder- his case has become something of legend for the Lawton area. The legend seems to persist, mostly due to the way in which he was murdered. You see, Dale was found badly mutilated outside a Lawton church. Given the times, a conclusional jump to “ritual homicide” wasn’t all that difficult for locals, including law enforcement, to make.

Dale was in the Lawton area due to his Army enlistment. He was born in North Dakota, but his family was all in New York by the time he was murdered. They would take him back there to be buried. He was an accomplished chess player, and the last night he was seen alive, had plans to participate in a base chess tournament. However, the tournament was canceled, and Dale was seen leaving Fort Sill in civilian clothing at around 7:30 pm on February 6th. We know that from there he apparently ate dinner at a local cafe and from there he apparently visited what was termed as a “private” night club. From there, Dale’s whereabouts remain unknown. That is until the afternoon of February 7th.

At around 2:30pm on February 7th, two boys going to the Northside Baptist Church on 18th and Taylor in Lawton found Dale’s body propped up against the building. He had been viciously attacked. He was stabbed some fifteen times, his head nearly decapitated. His right hand was also almost severed at the wrist. His left hand was in his pants pocket, clutching an unopened pocket knife. It doesn’t appear he had much of a chance to fight back against his assailant. It’s believed he was likely pretty intoxicated at the time of his death.

Police believe that Dale was likely killed in the pre-dawn hours, and that given the architecture of the church, had simply gone unnoticed. One witness would tell police that she was driving east on Taylor on February 6th, when a “hippie like man” blocked her path. She described a separated group of four or five “hippie like men” surrounding a parked vehicle, they had done what she described to be a “ritual dance” before disbanding and the person blocking her way moved. The car they were surrounding was an out of state tagged car, with California license plates. An off duty police officer and a friend would also witness a motorcycle and a vehicle speeding off from the church’s parking lot just after midnight the morning of February 7th. He said the vehicle had California plates. Considering how Dale was left, the description of these “hippie men” and the fact that the Manson murders had taken place about six months prior in California- it’s isn’t hard to see how people decided this was a ritual murder.

Despite having a team of at least ten investigators on the case, and even an anonymous phone call confessing to the crime, Dale’s murder has remained unsolved. In 1984 someone would once again confess to his murder, but the confession lacked credibility and was dismissed by police. At this point, history has all but forgotten Dale. The last time his name would appear in the media was 1993 when he was briefly mentioned in the Lawton Constitution as an unsolved homicide.

If you have any information regarding the murder of Dale Clarence Sorenson, please contact the Lawton Police Department at 580-581-3270.

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