Details of Disappearance
Donna was last seen in Chandler, Arizona on July 5, 1987. This was the same day she planned to separate from her husband, Kevin Dale Jokumsen. They lived in the 900 block of west Gary Drive, near Alma School Road and Ray Road.
A friend met up with Donna on July 3, two days prior to her disappearance, and noticed Donna had a split lip and bruises. Donna said the injuries were caused by Kevin, and said that she was going to leave him and take their two toddler sons and drive to her parents' home in Enumclaw, Washington, where she and Kevin also used to live. She called her father and asked if she could move back in with him, because she was tired of her violent arguments with Kevin and his physical abuse. Donna's father said she could come.
On July 5 she went to a friend's barbecue. She planned to return home in her blue Chevrolet Chevelle, pack clothes for herself and her children, then go back to the barbecue with her children and spend the night with her friend before heading back to Washington. She never returned to her friend's house, however, and was never seen again.
The Jokumsens had met in high school, and their loved ones stated their relationship had been toxic from the beginning and arguments often escalated into violence. Donna's sister witnessed Kevin hit and choke her, and Donna's mother once told the police that Kevin had tried to drown Donna in a ditch after Donna told him she was pregnant.
In spite of this, they married in 1985, a year after the birth of their oldest son. They had another child in January 1986 and moved to Arizona after Christmas that year. Kevin's abuse had continued after the move, and Donna told a friend he had raped her and threatened her life. Within months, she decided to move back to Washington.
Kevin stated his wife packed all her belongings before her disappearance and he gave her all their cash, about $1,100, to pay for her move. He said he last saw her when she went to visit a friend in Mesa, Arizona that evening. When he woke up the next morning, Donna wasn't home, but her Chevelle had been cleaned and returned to its spot under the carport. Kevin said she had left him several times in the past but was never gone for longer than a few days.
Authorities subsequently discovered that Donna had left behind all her possessions and her children as well as the car. Kevin pawned her jewelry after her disappearance. When she had not arrived in Washington within five days, her father reported her missing.
Kevin never notified the police about Donna's disappearance, and he also failed a lie detector test about her case. He had said she wanted to leave because she didn't like the weather in Arizona and couldn't find a job in her chosen field, banking, but Donna told told others she was leaving because of Kevin's violence.
When police checked Donna's Chevrolet Chevelle, it had been cleaned out and washed. Donna had gone out with a friend and her family for the Fourth of July weekend and they'd gone to the river, and the car had been dirty by the time they returned. When the police asked Kevin who had cleaned the car and why, he said he didn't know.
Police stated they believed Donna had been murdered and that the Chevelle had possibly been used to transport the body, but the prosecutor's office initially refused to bring charges. Kevin subsequently moved back to Washington state with his and Donna's children. He never contacted Arizona police to ask about the status of his wife's case.
In September 2017, Kevin was charged with second-degree murder in Donna's case. A photo of him is posted with this case summary. After the prosecution rested its case, Kevin's attorneys asked the judge for a directed verdict for acquittal. The defense argued the police didn't investigate any other explanations for Donna's disappearance besides the theory that Kevin had murdered her, and argued there was insufficient evidence to prove Kevin's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge directed the acquittal; Kevin cannot be tried again.
Foul play is suspected in Donna's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.