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Crime Wire will devote a full hour to a story about a grandson who found his grandfather’s killer after more than 40 years. Dr. Clem Pellett, an oral surgeon who lives in Washington State, will share an old family story that focuses on two men: Clarence Pellett…a grandfather that Dr. Clem Pellett never knew…and a drifter named Frank Dryman.
On April 4, 1951, Clarence Pellett picked up hitchhiker near Shelby Montana. The hitchhiker was Dryman, then a 19 year old drifter who was carrying a gun. Dryman shot and killed Clarence Pellett and left him by the side of a mountain road. Dryman took the car and drove to Canada where he was later arrested for the murder.
After several trials and appeals, Dryman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, then paroled in 1969. Less than two years after his parole, Dryman disappeared. Corrections authorities listed him as “absconded”. And that is where the old family story stopped for nearly 40 years.
In 2009, Dr. Clem Pellett came across some newspaper clippings about the murder, which had occurred two years before he was born. With the help of three private investigators, Dr. Pellett found Frank Dryman living as a notary public and operating a wedding chapel in Arizona. Dryman, who had been changed his name, was arrested and returned to Montana.