Murderer of Modesto real estate agent dies in prison

The man convicted of killing Modesto real estate agent Dorothy “Dori” Greene in 1989 has died in prison.

Nevada Department of Corrections officials say 67-year-old John Allen Colwell died of a chronic medical condition Oct. 1 in High Desert State Prison in Susanville. Clark County, Nev., coroner’s officials were called, and an autopsy was planned.

Greene, 52, disappeared the afternoon of Oct. 26, 1989, while showing a vacant house in north Modesto to an unidentified person. A man had telephoned Gibbs Real Estate Investments earlier in the day and made arrangements with Greene, the on-duty agent, to meet him there.

“She was a little short lady who went to show this big guy a house,” retired Modesto police Det. Dick Ridenour said Saturday. Ridenour was the Modesto homicide detective who investigated the case.

Greene’s Jeep Cherokee was found parked in the driveway of the vacant house. The following day, her body, with a bullet hole in the head, was found floating near Cave Rock, on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. She was fully clothed and still wore her real estate identification badge.

About 20 minutes after the kidnapping, her bank card had been used to withdraw $500 at a Modesto bank on McHenry Avenue.

A phone tip led Modesto and Nevada agents to Colwell at a house in rural Stanislaus County on Dec. 14, 1989.

“I still have a picture on my wall of him when the (Douglas County, Nev.) sheriff’s officer and I arrested him,” Ridenour said Saturday.