August 18, 2017

Retired Texas Ranger John W. Dendy of Stephenville passes away

John W. Dendy || Courtesy TEXAS RANGERS

Special to The Flash

From the Texas Rangers

STEPHENVILLE (March 8, 2016) — It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of retired Texas Ranger John Dendy, Retired Texas Ranger Division.

Ranger Dendy joined the Department in 1956 and retired in 1992 after serving the State of Texas for 35 years. A service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, 2016, at Stephenville Funeral Home located at 120 West South Loop, Stephenville.

Below is an article from the January 14, 1985, edition of the Chicago Tribune describing how Dendy risked his life to save a kidnapped 13 year-old girl in 1985.

ALVARADO, 1985 — After a desperate 600-mile game of cat and mouse, a Texas Ranger raced through a hail of gunfire Sunday to snatch the 13-year-old daughter of a wealthy businessman from captors who had held her since Friday.

Almost 48 hours after Amy McNiel was abducted on her way to school by kidnappers, who later demanded $100,000 in ransom, she was rescued at the end of a “running gun battle” stretching across three East Texas counties, authorities said.

Two of the five suspects were injured in the shooting. All were arrested and charged Sunday with aggravated kidnaping and attempted capital murder.

The rescue brought to an end an all-night drama during which Amy’s father, Don McNiel, frantically followed a hopscotch path across eastern Texas to keep up with the kidnappers.


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The rescue effort began at about 5 p.m. Saturday, when McNiel received a call to go to a telephone booth in East Dallas for instructions on where to deliver the ransom.

Then, placing calls to designated phone booths in towns spread hundreds of miles apart, the kidnappers continued to give the Alvarado businessman instructions on where to drop the money he carried in a large bank bag.

“We were totally subservient to what they said,” said McNeil, 44. “We just begged, “Don’t hurt my baby.'”

McNiel said he pushed his car to speeds of more than 100 m.p.h. to reach a closed filling station for the kidnappers’ third call. Then the engine of the vehicle burned out.

The kidnappers were told the car could go no farther. Scores of law enforcement officials who had tailed McNiel’s limousine began scattering and regrouping for another try the next day.

Then the kidnappers, with Amy McNiel in the car, drove by the stalled limousine as Texas Rangers, who had remained in the area, watched.

What resulted was a “running gunbattle” that took the kidnappers and authorities across three counties early Sunday.

As Rangers turned to follow the car, two of the five occupants raised sawed-off shotguns and began firing, according to police.

Amy McNiel was rescued at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday by Texas Ranger John Dendy, who charged through a hail of gunfire to grab her from the kidnappers’ car.

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McNiel, who was in a car with other Texas Rangers, arrived in time to find his spunky daughter apparently unharmed.

“There she was, and there I was on a country road,” McNiel said at a news conference Sunday. “I ran up and grabbed her. She said, ‘Dad, I love you’ . . . and we were dancing in the middle of the road for 10 minutes.

“Thank God, my baby’s home.” Describing the ordeal, McNiel, 44, said his daughter “Was scared to death the first half day. Then she was scared and mad. She became stronger as it went on.”

McNiel, a manufacturer and bank director, sought the Democratic nomination for the 6th Congressional District in 1978. He finished last in a six-candidate field led by then-Democrat Phil Gramm.

–  Chicago Tribune, January 14, 1985

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