Killer of Climax Springs Children Dies in Prison: Mother Reflects on Tragic Loss

CLIMAX SPRINGS, Mo. – A mother is reflecting on the tragic loss of her four children who were murdered in 1977 after their killer passed away at Jefferson City Correctional Center. William Dyer, the perpetrator, died at the age of 61 in the Missouri Department of Corrections last month.

The mother, Joy Dunmire, expressed her relief at outliving Dyer, the individual responsible for the deaths of her children – Steve, Greg, Tonya, and Stacey Swift – who were fatally shot in their Climax Springs home on September 15, 1977. Dunmire received the news of Dyer’s death earlier this month, bringing a sense of closure after years of seeking justice.

Recalling the tragic night, Dunmire shared that she and her husband George were out playing bingo at the American Legion when Dyer, a neighborhood kid, carried out the heinous act. Dyer’s plan was to not only kill the children but also ambush Dunmire and her husband before going on a killing spree with stolen guns from the house.

Dyer was apprehended before further harm could be done and was incarcerated at the age of 15. Dunmire and her family had been advocating to keep Dyer behind bars through various parole hearings since 1988. Despite the devastating loss of her children, Dunmire’s oldest daughter also succumbed to ovarian cancer shortly after the murders.

Growing up in the aftermath of such a tragedy, Dunmire’s three younger children were raised in the shadow of their siblings’ deaths, navigating a broken family. Dunmire emphasized that the memory of her children lives on in her heart, as she continues to honor them every day.

This journey of grief and remembrance serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring impact of loss and the strength required to cope with such unimaginable tragedy. As Dunmire reflects on the past and looks towards the future, her resilience in the face of adversity stands as a testament to the enduring power of a mother’s love for her children.