Sent you a PM explaining why
yes there was always one free , plus if you were fearless you could crawl under the door
It was a hangout for a group of people they might not feel comfortable around.
I grew up in Richland Hills and my friends and I used to go to Seminary South to shop back in the mid 70's.
In 74 I was 13 or 14 and I recall one time being at the mall with a friend and she and I were followed by a Hispanic guy.
The basements and tunnels under the mall were mentioned here ealier and I have been down in the lower part of the mall on the day my friend and I were followed.
We happened upon a sign in the mall advertising a childrens beauty pagent so we called my friend's Mother and asked her if we could stay that night and go to the pagent. I remember that we had to go down a flight of long steps to buy our tickets or get information for the pagent and the guy that had been following us on and off all day followed us half way down the stairs then waited on the steps for when we came back up. As we came back up I had to pass him on my side and he reached out and strocked my arm. I don't recall now what or if he said anything...
We did go back to the pagent later that night and it was down the same steps. There was a theater of sorts down there with a stage like in a school. This was not a shopping part of the mall so if you didn't know it was there you would walk right past it.
So there were areas of the mall you could go that were beyond just shopping at that time and there were unsavory charcters lurking around even back then.
At one time I wrote the brother from his missingtrio website and passed on my information of the mall and the guy that followed us around but he never replied.
Maybe none of its nothing but I think every scrap of info is something.
Jdee: Thanks for posting your story. That is very interesting. Some similar type things happened to me when I lived in Ft. Worth and was a young teen. It does make me wonder if whatever happened occurred down in the bathrooms near the bowling alley or somewhere in the basement.
Hey Princess Rose... My gut feeling on this has always been that this was a stranger abduction. The wierd post card does throw a wrench in it but I still go on my gut feeling.
I don't recall Seminary South being a bad place to hang out back then at all or otherwise I am sure our parents wouldn't have allowed us there...
Everything inside me says these girls didn't run away. They were thinking about Christmas and gifts, new jeans, a promise ring, and a Christmas party.
If something accidental happened to the 9 year old and they blamed themselves... I feel strongly even in panic mode they would have not run away...
Nor would they have left their car.
Hi JDee, thanks for joining us. Our ranks seem to have suddenly thinned out. I agree with everything you just said.
I was reading something just last night about serial killers, and how they graduate to killing strangers. Malls are very attractive to serial killers, and it would be a mall and area the person is familiar with because they need to do their deed then dispose of the bodies so they need to feel at ease, know the streets, and how to get around easily. The capture scenarios are rehearsed in their minds and checked out before hand. Obviously LE thinks the girls went with someone they knew, but if they ran into a Bundy type, he could charm them away from the mall. So maybe we should consider a predator with a high IQ, and one who is also socially capable. Problem is I can't think of any serial activity at the time in either Ft. Worth or Dallas. I looked for Dallas girls murdered about the same time, but didn't come across anything that seemed significant.
If I'm not mistaken, there was a serial killer suspected of killing two girls in Maryland, Sheila and Katherine Lyons, and he had a Texas connection. What I'm not sure of is if he was on the loose when the girls here disappeared. The guy was enrolled in Paschal High School at one time, maybe 20 years before the disappearances.
He has been executed for another murder so he won't be spilling any beans about these 5 missing girls. I'm glad he's dead, but I think they should keep these jerks alive long enough to torture them into admitting their other crimes, and without LE giving them information about cases. These creeps should just have to start talking. Sure some kill more than others, but there's got to be a basic pattern or number of kills based on the killer's age.
Last edited by justthinkin; 07-24-2009 at 11:39 PM.
JustThinkin: You're talking about Mike DeBardeleben. Here's his timeline from the Lyon thread:
"Mike DeBardeleben's life in a timeline.
Most significantly - not in jail nor accounted for in March of 1975.
Also please note that he has one daughter about the same age as Sheila and has another child (boy or girl?) in which he "forced" his wife to give up for adoption that would have been roughly the same age as Kate.
Was known to be an anniversary perpetrator - that is committed heinous crimes right around April of each year he was not incarcerated. Actually it appears he committed two separate crimes each spring. This Lyon sisters would then fit in as the first and a pistol whipping of a woman would be a second in March - April - May 1975.
Convicted car thief - police impersonator to lure women into the most sadistic of crimes - was known as the Mall Passer for his counterfeiting behavior which included passing fake 20's at malls - tape recorded his victims - was often in VA and Maryland and DC area.
03/20/1940 0 Born in Little Rock, Arkansas
1945 5 Moved to Austin, Texas. Father shipped to South Pacific for 9 months
1949 9 Family moved from Kentucky to Frankfurt, Germany
1950 10 Family moved again
1956 16 Physically assaulted his mother
09/08/1956 16 Purchased two handguns and ammo with a friend
09/21/1956 16 First arrest; felony arrest for concealed weapon. Soon after first arrest, arrested several
times on charges from theft, sodomy, attempted murder, and kidnapping
05/13/1957 17 Reckless driving offense
1957 17 Expelled from Peter Schuyler High School
06/26/1957 17 Joined the air force. Shipped to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas
03/1958 18 Court-martialed for variety of offenses: wearing “Improper Insignia and Improper
Uniform” and disorderly behavior. Sentenced to 2 months in Stockade and $155 in pay
06/1958 18 Cited for “Unauthorized Absence from Bed Check,” “Breaking Restrictions” twice,
and “Disrespectful to Superiors.” Ordered to visit air force psychiatrist
08/1958 18 Discharged from air force “Under Other Than Honorable Conditions,” and moved to
Fort Worth, Texas with family
01/1959 18 Enrolled at R.L. Paschal High School
03/1959 18/19 Expelled from high school
08/1959 19 Married Linda Weir
08/1959 19 3 weeks later, separated from Linda Weir.
10/5/1959 19 Attempted robbery with accomplice
10/1959 19 2 weeks later, arrested for string of auto thefts. Sentenced to 5 years probation
11/1959 19 Premature daughter stillborn
12/1959 19 Meets Charlotte Weber, 17
03/1960 19/20 Charlotte gets pregnant
06/09/1960 20 Marries Charlotte
12/12/1960 20 Daughter Bethene born
No date 20/21 Charlotte becomes pregnant, forced to give baby up for adoption
08/1961 21 Younger brother, Ralph commits suicide
09/1961 21 Divorced
1961 21 Enrolls at Texas Christian University without HS diploma and then at North Texas
09/1962 22 Probation for auto theft revoked and sent to Texas State Prison at Huntsville
05/1963 23 Released from prison and lives with parents
03/1964 24 Father files complaint on Mike and is sent to Western State Hospital in Staunton, VA
05/16/1964 24 Comes back home
09/1964 24 Marries Wanda Faye Davis
1965 25 Wanda begins to accompany Mike in criminal acts
1966 26 Charged with assault, sodomy, kidnapping of young girl, but later charges are dropped
04/25/1969 29 Faye is accomplice in kidnap-extortion
No date 29 Faye becomes pregnant, but miscarries when Mike pushes her down the stairs
Aug/1969 29 Faye becomes pregnant, divorce
01/02/1970 29 Daughter, Lindsey born
07/10/1970 30 Marries Caryn, 18
No date N/A Returns to college at George Mason University
04/1971 31 Murders realtor, Terry McDonald
1975 35 Pistol-whips Phillipa Voliner
1976 36 Divorced
1976 36 Caught for counterfeiting for first time
1978 38 Crime Information Center believes Mike is dead
05/05/1978 38 Released to a D.C. halfway house after serving 23 months of his 1976 counterfeiting
sentence in the Federal Penitentiary in Danbury, Connecticut
06/1978 38 Moved to Arlington, VA, took barbering job
07/1978 38 Bought ’77 Thunderbird, which is believed to have been used in the abduction of
nursing student, Lucy Alexander, 19
09/04/1978 38 Posed as a cop to abduct Lucy Alexander. He also raped, sodomized, and forced her to
fallate him repeatedly. She was forced to call him “Daddy” Raped at least 4 times,
performed fallatio 4-5 times over 18 hours
09/05/1978 38 Released Lucy into isolated area known as Hardscrabble, east of Georgetown,
02/04/1979 38 Fayetteville, N.C. introduced self as “Al Wise” to Elizabeth Mason, 31 and pretended
to be interested in buying a house. Attacked and assaulted her with an automatic
handgun, tied and gagged, and strangled until unconscious, then stole her car"
It looks to me like his parents lived in Ft. Worth. I found a book about him called Beyond Cruel and the police admit that they really have no idea how many murders this man committed and in addition, he seemed to have a wide variety of criminal talents having been involved in theft, forgery, murder, sex crimes, bank robbing and numerous other crimes. He was indicted 11 times and convicted six times. There seems to be a gap in the timeline in the early 1970's but in reading parts of the book Beyond Cruel, I see that he was victimizing elderly women in the Dallas Ft. Worth area at that time and his wife Caryn reported that there was a woman kept in the attic of their home on Spurgeon Street and police did find evidence of this later. Who knows what else he may have been doing that she was too afraid to report because he forced her to commit crimes with him, often being the first point of contact for the victims. In 1976 he went to prison for conterfeiting and got out in 1978 where he promptly went out and kidnapped a 19 year old by falsly claiming to be an FBI agent. He does seem to be a strong potential for the unsub in this case!
So, I looked up Spurgeon Street and it's not really very far from Seminary South Mall - you could get there easily by taking 820.
Last edited by Balthazar; 07-25-2009 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Correcting timeline information.
This creep obviously had no problem socially at least in meeting girls and marrying them. He was likely a charmer, telling teen girls the things they wanted to hear.
My current thoughts are this guy is good for the the three girls murders. The fact that some of his other victims have never been found echoes back to our girls in Ft. Worth, who also have never been found. The Lyons girls' disappearance was also associated with a mall.
Obviously Ft. Worth LE has never even had this guy on their radar for these murders. I'll cut 'em some slack because we didn't have profilers back in 1974, and police weren't as sophisticated on criminals nor were departments sharing information back then. It's a natural assumption given when they disappeared to think that they had to have left the mall with someone they knew. I wonder if one of the 2 older girls knew this guy even casually or knew his wife.
He was charged with attempted murder at age 16 so this guy was bad news from an early age. The other thing is he could have had help from his then current wife. I wonder if it was one of the Ft. Worth girls held in his attic or all three. I doubt the wife who helped him in other crimes, in fear for her own life, would admit to knowing that.
Last edited by justthinkin; 07-25-2009 at 06:33 PM. Reason: added info
I just got through reading again, the story of Debardeleben at:
I hope it's okay to quote one sentence so long as I reference where it came from.
"In this case, they caught him and then had to go back and find the cases."
This tells me this criminal covered his tracks well.
In the article, they describe Debardeleben as a freak, and certainly he was, but I can't help but think that briefly this guy charmed the girls he married. One marriage only lasted 3 weeks, so Linda Weir quickly knew she'd made a mistake & got the H out. I figure him for a Jekyl & Hyde type with little control as to when Hyde comes out.
I wonder if Ft. Worth LE ever looked at the collection of pictures that Debardeleban had to see if Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann were among them.
If they haven't, then they need to do this. There are 3 years unaccounted for in the M. D. timeline--that doesn't mean he'd suddenly become a model citizen during that period! I hope with all my might, that these 3 girls didn't die at the hands of Debardeleben.
Last edited by justthinkin; 07-25-2009 at 07:19 PM.
I believe that Debardeleben is the most likely suspect in this crime. I looked at his former house - it is a short drive to this house taking East Seminary St. and then Grandbury Rd from the Seminary South mall. This Debardeleben was known to dress up as a police officer. It makes me wonder if the former Seminary South Mall security guard's story of seeing the girls at 11 or 11:30pm in another security guard's truck was true. The other security guard said that he never had the girls in his truck when he was questioned. But what if the security guard who reported this sighting was telling the truth, but mistook Debardeleben for the other real security guard because he had his vehicle tricked out to look like a legit security vehicle and was wearing a uniform?
Of course the trio would feel it was OK to be in a vehicle with the security guard and it would be easy enough to trick them into getting into the truck.
Hi... Justthinking and Princess Rose...Of all the scenerios I've read this one makes the most since to me. How easy it would be for a fake cop/security guard to con the girls away from the mall! The post card still bugs me though. What was the purpose of that? To taunt the family? Was he buying time? If so why not more details in it then just a very vauge note? Also since it arrived like the next day it makes me think it was preplanned a bit. Otherwise would the perp thought of it so fast after the crime?
Just rambling my thoughts here....
Each piece of information has to be considered, but not necessarily given full weight when trying to come up with possible scenarios or theories or suspects.
There are indeed some (now) well documented and known offenders who might fit the profile or pattern of this or other crimes, but there were probably at any given time a few hundred evil individuals like him around the country doing similar crimes.
In regard to a possible connection between this tripple disappearance and that of the Lyon Sisters, I would invite anyone to visit the Lyon sisters site here on Websleuths. There are a lot of POSSIBLE suspects and similar cases posted there for comparison. It is very doubtful if any of those possible suspects were working together, or if they even knew eachother, but perhaps one guy committed one of the crimes and someone else committed another.
The possibly connected cases mentioned on the Lyon Sisters topic discussion could also be connected to this case.
I have temporarily deleted my post to check for any copyright infringements.
February 27, 1973, the body of Becky Martin, a young married housewife and student at Tarrant County Junior College in southeast Ft. Worth was found in a culvert. Her remains, too badly decomposed to determine manner of death. She'd been abducted from a parking lot at the school in mid afternoon. Her purse still in her car.
Feb. 17, 1974, Carla Walker was abducted from a vehicle in the parking lot of a bowling alley on the west side of Ft. Worth, shortly after midnight, and while out on a date. She may have been held for several days before being murdered. She was found Feb. 20th, her body also left in a culvert out near Benbrook Lake. Her date. Rodney McCoy was fully cleared of any involvement.
Of interesting note, Debardeleben had earlier rec'd. 5 years probation for a series of car thefts. He'd dumped someone's brand new Corvette in Benbrook Lake. His partner in crime squealed on him.
Retired Ft. Worth detective, John Terrell may believe both these murders were committed by the same suspect--not Debardeleben. Ft. Worth LE didn't agree with his theories according to statements Terrell made on his website http://www.justiceforcarla.com/thecase.shtml Well worth reading.
Terrell makes a good case for "his suspect" in the Carla Walker murder; however, it's possible the two murders are unrelated. The fact that Walker was also found in a culvert could have been a copycat disposal or not, whichever the case may be.
June 1, 1979, Mike Debardeleben abducted a girl named Laurie Jensen in Maryland. She was later released. During her ordeal, Debardeleben insisted on calling her, "Becky."
The above tidbit is the major reason for my post. I'm wondering if Debardeleben's insistence on calling Jensen, "Becky" goes back to an earlier crime he may have committed in Ft. Worth, TX.
The 2 culvert murders may or may not be related to the 3 girls missing, but I feel they are worth mentioning here for possible connections.
Is it possible that Debardeleben is responsible for Becky Martin's murder? Could he have abducted, Carla Walker, and held her as he was later known to do? He seemed to latch onto a fantasy, rehearse it in his mind, and then carry it out. Was abducting 3 girls or at least two, yet another of his fantasies?
Later in passing counterfeit money, he made Dallas one of his many stops, but he avoided Ft. Worth or at least there's no mention of him passing funny money there that I'm aware of. Did he have his reasons?
It's hard to say whether or not he was in Ft. Worth on all the dates when each of these killings or abductions took place. He and his wife Caryn did move back to 3920 Spurgeon St., Ft. Worth sometime before his mother died in September of 1973, but when exactly?
By April of 1974, he and Caryn had returned to Virginia. On May5, 1975 he beat Phillipa Voliner with a gun in Memphis, TN.
His activities and whereabouts are then unaccounted for until 1976 when he is first arrested for counterfeiting. Did he return to Ft. Worth toward the end of 1974? It's unknown. He certainly was familiar with the territory.He certainly seemed not to hang around long after some of his crimes, moving frequently and rapidly.
Last edited by justthinkin; 07-27-2009 at 09:43 PM.
[quote=Richard;3991137]This case, like a lot of others which got a lot of media coverage, probably has a lot of false leads and stories. There are probably a number of people who have actually "confessed" to the crime, or who have tried to take credit for it - or who have supplied information which is bogus or simply not pertinent to the actual crime."
You know Richard it has run through my mind that the post card meant nothing and was just some mean idot person out there that sent it that had nothing at all to do with these girls disapearence.
Interesting Princess Rose.. I did read what TexasSandman said about the mail. Though I also read that sometimes the mail did come early in their area. I don't know if I find it unusual to check the mail in the morning though. Maybe he was outside and just happen to think about it or remembered he hadn't checked it the day before so went and checked it early. Heck I've done that...
But the idea that word was not out yet about the girls and the card arriveing before hand is very suspicious. Though my gut still doesn't connect the husband here... but more to a stranger abduction.
I ordered the biographies of Debardebelen to try to put together a timeframe and am trying to get in contact with one of his biograhers so I can determine if this man was definitely in Ft. Worth on Dec. 24, 1974. I'll be looking for other clues that might indicate her was involved in the trio's disappearance as well. There can be no doubt that he is the sort of person who could pull off such a crime:
worked alone - secretive
disguised himself as police officer or security person in order to win victim's trust
hatred for women
committed crimes at malls
was flying beneath police radar at the time of the trio case
changes type of crimes readily
tended to offend around holidays
All of this is circumstantial. It will be interesting if we can find even more evidence that will point to this person.
Debardeleben had an IQ of 127, high enough to get into medical school, and certainly higher than your average man with a badge.
I just read something, and wish I could relay where I got the info, but I've been reading quite a bit, not only what's available on Debard..., but also the psychology and progression of serial killers, whom at least one source rates on a scale of 16-22. Debard...falls into the 22 range.
back to my original thought...some of the higher ranked killers are so organized, their schemes so well rehearsed that when they finally commit their first murder or 1st. robbery it may look like another guy's 20th. murder or robbery.
Concerning the Security Guard who came forward 26 years after the fact.....In the article that Scott Gordon reported on, the man states that he called LE, where he left his name, phone number and what he saw. However he claims that LE never contacted him and that is why he came forward after all this time. I would hope that all lead that were originally called in would have been kept with the original file. If that is the case then it would be very easy to check to see if the SG did REALLY come forward.
Again, this is coming from an article that was being written 26 years later, but it makes me wonder just how well the initial investigation was done. To think that LE did not even try to question or interview mall security to see if anything funny had been going on during the time before, after, and on the actual day in question.
Frustratingly, the book, Beyond Cruel, does not offer much insight into Debardeleben's exact whereabouts in 1974. However, in 1973, he was staying at his mom's house (month unknown) when he suddenly called his wife Caryn and demanded that although she had had surgery that day, she fly from VA to DFW airport. He didn't pick her up at the airport, and when she got to his mom's house on Spurgeon St., she found Debardaleben had a young blonde woman drugged and tied up in the attic. He told her that he had raped her and they had done a lot of drugs. She later claimed that she talked Debardeleben out of killing the girl and they dropped her off somewhere - but couldn't explain where. Justthinkin mentioned to me yesterday that she thought the girl in the attic might be Carla Walker. Knowing that Debardeleben's mother was dying of cancer at the time and that morphine was an end of life pain management tool for cancer patients back in the 1970's, it makes sense that he would have access to it and we both suspect that he was involved in the Carla Walker case.
Princess Rose, I just read that the FBI had searched the Spurgeon St. residence for bodies underneath the house. They didn't find anything. Well shoot. This tells me that Ft. Worth LE must know about Debardeleben because the FBI would've had to get permission to search the grounds, and I feel sure Ft. Worth LE was there watching the proceedings.
Still, s it doesn't necessarily clear him for the Martin or Walker murders. Perhaps LE thinks he did it, but just didn't have enough to go to trial with. Might be the same story with Rachel, Renee, and Julie Ann, if he was in Ft. Worth at that time, and that's a big if. I mean, we know where Becky and Carla were found. Don't know who, specifically, the FBI was searching for under that house. Maybe they were just checking it out to see if he'd stashed anyone under there, just going through the motions. I don't think Debard...would've been one to dump bodies under his own house. I think he was too cagey for that.
Last edited by justthinkin; 07-31-2009 at 06:35 PM.