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Del Ray Murder Is A Mystery

Nancy Dunning shot to death at home; reward offered.

Alexandria police continue their investigation into the murder of 56-year-old Nancy Dunning, the wife of Alexandria sheriff James Dunning, who was found dead in her Del Ray home last Friday.

Police were dispatched to Dunning’s West Mt. Ida home at around 12:30 p.m., after receiving a 911 call from a relative. Initially, there were indications that Dunning had died from natural causes. However, when the medical examiner arrived and examined the body, the case was ruled a homicide.

Last Saturday, the medical examiner completed a preliminary autopsy and ruled that Dunning died from a gunshot to the upper body.

“We are not discussing whether there was one or more shots and we are not discussing exactly what the wound was,” said Amy Bertsch, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department. “This is physical information that is critical to the investigation and is information that would only be known to the murderer.”

This is the fourth homicide in Alexandria this year. Arrests have been made in two of them, while two, including this case, are still being investigated. Over the past 10 years, there have been an average of 4.5 murders a year in the city.

DETECTIVES WORKED through the weekend at the Dunning home and are continuing to devote time to solving this case. “We have assigned every available resource to this case,” Bertsch said. “There is a lot of work to do and we still need the public’s help in identifying a suspect. Currently, we have no suspects and no motive.”

A reward fund has been established through the West Potomac Business Association Foundation. It is being administered by Lonnie Rich, a local attorney and long-time friend of the Dunning's. “Jim asked me to administer the reward fund and I agreed to do so,” Rich said.

As of press time, friends, family and business associates had contributed more than $50,000. The reward will go to a person or persons who can provide information that leads to an arrest and indictment of a suspect in this case. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the fund should make checks payable to Nancy Dunning Reward Fund and should mail it to Lonnie Rich at 1317 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314.

Anyone with information about the murder should call the Alexandria Police Department at 703-838-4711.