Jolee Callan was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Loren Bunner, during a hiking trip in Delta, Alabama.
Bunner and Callan became friends after meeting each other at Vincent High School in Shelby County. When he graduated and Callan was in her junior year of high school, they started dating.
During their relationship, they bought a male dog named Kiba, and according to her father, Michael Callan, she already had a dog, a cat, and a horse.
Callan loved animals. After she graduated from high school, she was going to start school at the University of Montevallo and study veterinary medicine.
Kiba would tag along while they spent time together at her family’s house, where they would often grill and eat outside.
They would also hang out with Bunner’s friends, and he was okay with that. But when Callan wanted to hang out with some of her friends, Bunner wasn’t too fond of the idea.
Callan grew tired of it and decided to end the relationship after 10 months. She wanted the freedom to hang out with her friends without Bunner making it an issue.
Michael said, “He just wanted to do things with his friends and wouldn’t let her do things with her friends.”
Eventually, Callan started dating someone else, but she kept in close contact with Bunner because their dog was living at his house.
“Maybe if I had let her bring the dog home, she wouldn’t have kept seeing him,” said Callen’s father.
Two months after their breakup, Bunner asked Callen, 18, if she wanted to go on a hiking trip as friends. She agreed to go, but when they left, she didn’t come back alive.
Loren Bunner called 911 from a highway exit
On Aug. 30, 2015, while in an area off exit 179 of Interstate 20 in Calhoun County, Bunner called 911 and confessed to killing his ex-girlfriend.
They then transferred the call to the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, which sent deputies to Bunner’s location.
Upon arrival, they escorted Bunner, who was reportedly covered in blood, to their cruiser. They drove him to the Oxford Police Department, where they questioned him.
Bunner, who was 20 years old at the time, told detectives that he shot Callen twice before he pushed her over a 40-foot cliff on the Pinhoti Trail just outside Cheaha State Park at Hernandez Point.
He went on to say that they made a suicide pact, but after he killed her, he was unable to go through with taking his own life, so he left and called 911.
When Bunner showed detectives where they could find Callen’s body, they realized that she had been killed in Clay County, and they had to turn the case over to authorities in that area.
But one of the investigators from Cleburne County stated that had Bunner not shown them the location of Callen’s body, they might not have ever found her.
Loren Bunner posted Instagram photos of ex during hike
As soon as the news broke out that Bunner had pushed his ex-girlfriend to her death, commentators swarmed his Instagram account, where he wrote “my life is basically a bad pop-punk album” in his bio.
Many were shocked that he posted four photos of Callen on the day of their hiking trip.
Two of the photos are of her with their dog.
The other photos showed her standing near a cliff, taking pictures of the scenery. In one of the captions, Bunner wrote, “Oh, ya know, just enjoying the view.”
Bunner also posted a photo a day before he and Callen went hiking. It was a picture of himself with a blank expression. In the caption, he wrote, “Taking Kiba on a hike tomorrow, so I guess things are looking up.”
Commentators were taken aback by the post and its caption. Some called him a “monster” and a “weirdo,” while others used obscenities to express their feelings about what he had done.
Callen also posted photos on her Instagram account, where she might have expressed her love for anime.
The day before her death, she posted a photo of herself enjoying a birthday celebration at a bowling alley.
On the day she was killed, she posted an old photo of herself with the following caption: “I love recycling old selfies.”
Loren’s attorney requested youthful offender status
Authorities located Callen’s body at the bottom of the cliff, where they said there was a “large amount of blood.”
They also found her backpack—the one she was seen wearing in the photos that Bunner posted on his Instagram.
Bunner’s Bear Claw .22 caliber handgun had also been recovered from the scene.
The body was then transported to the coroner’s office, where an autopsy was performed to determine the exact cause of death.
When it was completed, the medical examiner confirmed that Callen had been shot twice with Bunner’s gun, including once in between her eyes, and she was also shot in the back of the head.
“She didn’t want to see it coming,” said Bunner. But that didn’t explain how she ended up with a bullet between her eyes.
Bunner was arrested and charged with murder. He was booked into the Clay County Detention Center, where he was held on a $150,000 bond.
He pleaded not guilty and then waived his right to a hearing.
His attorney requested youthful offender status. Under the Alabama Youthful Offender Act, a person can be tried as a juvenile if they have committed a crime before they have turned 21.
If they are found guilty, they cannot be sentenced to more than three years in jail. Plus, their court documents would be sealed and unavailable to the public.
In May 2016, a judge granted Bunner youthful offender status, and he was later released on bond.
Investigators said they thought it was unusual considering Bunner had committed a murder.
Callen’s father said his heart dropped when he heard the request was granted. He went on to say that “what we’re showing these younger, crazy men is, ‘hey, you can get away with this.’”
On Nov. 17, 2016, Circuit Court Judge George Simpson revoked the status after receiving several objections from the prosecution team.
“It’s the right thing to do, I mean come on,” Michael said. “You don’t get youthful offender and maybe three years, for cold-blooded killing somebody. You don’t get that.”
Loren was tried as an adult in Jolee Callan’s murder
Bunner was charged with felony murder, but the case never made it to trial because he pleaded guilty during a hearing in 2017.
It was there that Callen’s family heard the 911 call he made after he drove for 30 minutes before deciding to pull over and report the murder.
Relatives said Bunner didn’t sound remorseful during the call, and they also mentioned that he hadn’t said a word about what happened to Callan.
He sat quietly in the courtroom.
When the hearing was over, Bunner had to be escorted out of the Clay County courthouse in a bulletproof vest because during that time, the case had gained national attention.
A judge sentenced Bunner to 52 years in prison, which included 10 years for using a firearm during a murder.
After the sentencing, Michael said he was satisfied with Bunner’s sentence, but if it were up to him, he would have given him the “electric chair or life in prison.”
He also said, “Jolee was a sweet girl, she was sweet, sweet, sweet, good girl, and I think she’s smiling today.”
Bunner was also ordered to pay $9,255.92 in restitution to the Alabama Crime Victims Commission.