BIRTH: December 27, 1971

DEATH: March 9, 1978

Sally Ann Chesebro ~ Age 6

Sally, 6, was murdered by her mother and father because her and sister painted their finger nails without permission.

David Walton and Bonnie Van Dam, would regularly punish the girls by making them spend 45 minutes or more in a bathtub filled with ice-cold water. It was a normal way of punishment in the home of Sally and her sister, Nancy. On the day Sally died, she and Nancy painted their nails pink without asking David Walton and Bonnie Van Dam. Sally took the blame so Nancy wouldn’t get in trouble. Sally had to run her own tub of freezing cold water that would become the last bath Sally would ever take.

Bonnie, Sally’s mother, called 9-1-1 and told them her daughter was found in the tub and not breathing. An autopsy indicated no foul play, and the cause of death was ruled indeterminable. The case was filed away as a tragic accident.

 After a quarter of a century, it was changed to murder by drowning caused by dunking her head under the freezing cold water.

14 years after Sally tragic death, her older sister, Nancy, decided that she wanted to bring the truth out to what really happened to her sister. She was then not in fear that the same could happen to her, and away from her parents abuse that she had suffered her entire childhood, to finally be able to tell her sister was actually murdered. They had both been sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abused at the hands of David and Bonnie. Bonnie would watch as the girls preformed oral sex on David and do nothing to stop it. She did nothing to help Sally and Nancy and would actually help in the other forms of abuse.

The case was finally re-opened at Nancy’s pushing and for years it went no where again; Nancy wouldn’t give up and the investigation continued. Bonnie and David wouldn’t admit they had anything to do with Sally’s death, but would point the finger at each other. There wasn’t enough evidence for the charge of murder until 2002.

Nancy told the jury that they blamed her for her little sister’s death. She says they took her to the cemetery and made her kneel at Sally’s grave and apologize for killing her.

25 years after Sally was murdered in a freezing cold bath tub, her parents David Walton and Bonnie Van Dam was finally arrested and charged with second degree murder.

Bonnie Van Dam was charged but was found not guilty in Sally’s death. She testified against her ex-husband. She still got better treatment than poor Sally received. She walks free and Sally is still gone.

Bonnie’s own lawyer called her an “abysmal” mother, saying, “She admits to bad acts your honor; quite frankly, to certain horrible things. She absolutely mistreated her two daughters.”

David Lee Walton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for 20 years for the murder of his daughter, Sally. When he was sentenced he said he was sorry for what happened with his two children.

Sally’s sister Nancy gave the biggest gift to her little sister she could. She brought the murderers of her sister to justice. Even though all didn’t go to prison where they belong, Nancy is a true hero. Her sister is resting in peace and Nancy helped to give her that peace.

NOTE: Nancy if you ever find this site and read this, just know, even though I don’t know you or your sister, Sally, I thank you for having the courage to come forward and bring closure and justice to the death of your precious little sister. You, Nancy, are MY hero!


Mother is “abysmal” but innocent of murder

Trial of Stepfather is Delayed

Dad Regularly Punished Girls With Ice-Cold Baths

Michigan Man Convicted in 1978 Death

Walton Sentenced For Killing Six Yea-Old Daughter in 1978

Cold Case Teams Aim to Shed New Light on Old Cases

Cold Case Files

Cold Case Files ~ Transcripts (GRAPHIC)



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