On October 27, 2016, about 4:45 PM, YCSO deputies were dispatched to a campsite near the main trailhead area off Fossil Creek Road (south/east of Camp Verde) for a report of a deceased male. Deputies arrived and confirmed the death and noted trauma to the man’s head. They contained the area and interviewed a witness and other campers nearby pending arrival of YCSO detectives. During the initial overview of the scene, detectives could not find any identification associated with the body. As a result, once the body was transferred to the Medical Examiner’s Office, personnel from the Department of Public Safety fingerprint detail were contacted to obtain fingerprints in hopes he could be identified.
Detectives learned that during late afternoon hours the prior day, (October 26), the witness saw a man matching the victim’s description walking from the campsite towards the creek. She also noticed another male with dark complexion and long hair sitting in a silver colored Jeep Liberty parked near a tent at this campsite. Around 7:30 PM that evening, witnesses recalled hearing what sounded like multiple gunshots in the area, but did not investigate further or call law enforcement.
The next morning (October 27), the witness noticed the Jeep was gone, as was the tent. The witness spotted an object behind some brush near the victim’s campsite. Upon a closer look, the witness saw a body wrapped up in tent material, apparently dead. YCSO was immediately contacted.
After follow-up by the DPS fingerprint unit, the victim was identified the following morning – Friday, October 28. Detectives also confirmed the victim had been shot several times as bullet casings had been found earlier at the scene. The victim is Dale Klettke, 60-years-of-age, from Union City, California.
Intensive follow-up continued and detectives discovered the victim’s son, 21-year-old Francis Claude Klettke, also residing in Union City, California, had several matching physical characteristics of the male seen in the Jeep on Wednesday. A motor vehicles record check confirmed the victim owned a Jeep Liberty with California plates, registered at his Union City address.
Detectives continued their efforts resulting in a determination that Francis was the primary suspect in the murder of his father. During the early morning hours today, he was arrested by Union City Police Officers during a traffic stop and booked at an Alameda County jail for Murder where he awaits extradition. YCSO detectives were also in Union City at this time to assist.
Further details as to the specific circumstances have not been released at this time.
This is the third murder in recent weeks solved by YCSO personnel, specifically as a result of a focused crew of detectives insuring that arrests in each case occur as quickly as possible based on a thorough investigation. Sheriff Mascher would like to thank his dedicated deputies and detectives for their work in these recent and tragic homicides.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov