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Thread: TX - Missing Fort Worth Three, 1974 - #1

  1. #451
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    Yes, I agree, there is no way Debardeleben would bury bodies on his property or his mom's property. His fantasy was to have a house with a secret basement with a cell and and an industrial strength incinerator. Thank God he never got the chance to build that. What I wonder about, if Carla was in the attic at that house - back in 1984 they would not have had DNA technology. What I wonder is if they searched the attic and took everything out of there and if they found anything that might have DNA on it - such as the supposed stumps of marijuana cigarettes. That could prove that Carla or one of the other missing Ft. Worth girls was there.

    I'm sure figuring out who all Debardeleben killed is not exactly high priority anymore since he has been put away for life. He is probably suspected, but he's not going to come clean. Yet, if they could get DNA on whoever he kept in the attic and run tests, that would be of great help, IMO.

  2. #452
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    The fact the Feds searched the crawlspace of the house says they didn't entirely buy Caryn's stories.

    Princess Rose, Have you come across any tales in the book that remind you of either the 3 girls in Tx or the 2 in Maryland?

  3. #453
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    Quote Originally Posted by justthinkin View Post
    The fact the Feds searched the crawlspace of the house says they didn't entirely buy Caryn's stories.

    Princess Rose, Have you come across any tales in the book that remind you of either the 3 girls in Tx or the 2 in Maryland?
    There is a scenario where he kidnapped two men - a gay couple - one was a bank manager. One of the men was sick with a stomach virus, so the other took him to the ER. When they returned home, Debardeleben was in their house (he had smashed a window to get in) and he literally ambushed them. So, he has done crimes involving multiple people. He seemed to specifically choose victims who are easy to control with fear. If they fought back, they mostly got away from him, albeit after a beating. The problem with Debardeleben's case is that while some of it is really well documented, there seem to be some really huge gaps as well. There is a lot that is known, but whole expanses of time that are unaccounted for. I am hoping that the next book will shed more light on his activities. But I'm only halfway through the first one, so there may be more information in it.

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  5. #454
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    The book, Beyond Cruel, says that a Secret Service agent named Jim Rich investigated DeBardeleben's crimes in Ft. Worth and he looked at 20 unsolved homicides and some of the cases "bore unmistakable similarities to DeBardeleben's M.O. and rituals." (page 192) Frustratingly, the author doesn't list which Ft. Worth murders that Debardeleben is suspected of committing.

    It goes on to describe the search of the attic of the house on Spurgeon St. They found two adjustible initial rings: one with an L another with an E. There was also a plastic cord in the attic that Debardeleben had used to tie the blonde woman to the beams and a crushed pair of women's sunglasses, Valentine's box. With these items available, it seems to me that they should be tested for DNA.
    Last edited by Balthazar; 08-03-2009 at 01:33 PM. Reason: more information

  6. #455
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    A valentine's box? Whoa. Maybe that was to remind him of Carla.

    PR, I can't find the list of the area girls, dead or missing, that you posted. I know it wasn't that long ago. Sheesh, do you know which page it's on?

  7. #456
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    Quote Originally Posted by justthinkin View Post
    A valentine's box? Whoa. Maybe that was to remind him of Carla.

    PR, I can't find the list of the area girls, dead or missing, that you posted. I know it wasn't that long ago. Sheesh, do you know which page it's on?
    Post #291 page 9 - I think - but the cases don't go far enough back if you're trying to match up the L and E from the two rings. I also went through the Texas missing persons database - nada. So the body or bodies may have been found. I may have to haul off and go to the library to research - this is really annoying - older crime data should be on the internet - it's not like there is a capacity issue.

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  9. #457
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    I thought I would list out similar cases that have been discussed at Websleuths:

    The Lyon Sisters
    The Leslie Sisters
    The Gaveston Mall disappearance (discussed earlier in this thread)

    My research into Debardeleben indicates that he had a tendency to commit the same type of crime over and over in different areas of the country. For example he attacked and murdered female realtors with several years in between offenses. In one case, the realtor successfully fought him off and escaped, in two other cases, he killed them. However, these are in no way his only victims. A few of his victims escaped, but many were never found and starting in the 1980's he had a tendency to let his victims go - changing his pattern, yet again for unknown reasons.

    There is no way to know if these cases are really linked or not, but there are some similarities, most particularily between the trio case and the Lyon sisters case.

    In the Lyon case, the two sisters disapeared from a mall around the Easter holiday and were never found.

    The Leslie Sisters case is similar only in that it was multiple girls - two girls - who disapeared at the time that their father was dying of cancer and the girls were never found. They disapeared while walking from their house to a friends house. They had lied to their parents and actually were going to a teen party. There is conflicting information as to whether or not they actually arrived at the party.

    The Galveston Mall case - two girls disappeared from a mall but their bodies were found fairly soon. The case remains unsolved.

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  11. #458
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdee View Post
    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....
    IF Debardeleben committed this crime, he would have thought it out in great detail beforehand and been completely prepared - he used to write scripts for himself and even his victims. So, he would have planned for the victim to write a note - I guess his purpose was to throw off the police. He hated the police in Ft. Worth and he hated women. He would have wanted to make the police look like fools.

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  13. #459
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    Ellwood Leroy Leuschner - possible suspect?

    The case of the missing Lyon Sisters (Wheaton, MD 25 March 1975) has been mentioned a few times in this thread as a possible linked case to the missing Fort Worth girls.

    I would like to suggest a possible suspect who is discussed in some depth on the Lyon topic threads as a possible link between the two cases: Ellwood Leroy Leuschner.

    Although there is no physical evidence connecting him to either crime, Leuschner is both a convicted child rapist, and a child abductor/murderer.

    He raped a 12 year old girl in a church in California while dressed as a priest. Convicted of that crime, he was paroled in 1974 and disappeared some time afterward. He turned up in Maryland where he was arrested and convicted for murdering two little boys in 1977.

    Records are spotty and somewhat confusing. The state of California claimed that he did not leave the state until 1976, but Leuschner himself claimed to have been in Maryland since 1974.

    He COULD have been in Fort Worth, Texas in December of 1974, and in Maryland by March 1975.

    Just food for thought. If he did not commit these crimes, then he probably was busy committing others. Here is a link to a thread in Cold Cases on Leuschner:

    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4016199#post4016199post4016199"]Meet Ellwood Leroy LEUSCHNER serial rapist and murderer - Page 1 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]

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  15. #460
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    Last night I was reading Beyond Cruel and I read a page that talked about stuff DeBardeleben had hidden away in his various storage rooms - all not connected to his house - these were at storage facilities. The book mentioned that the Secret Service found quite a bit of women's jewelry and the way it is described in the book, it was NEVER matched back to it's rightful owners - which is why they suspect Debardeleben of so many more murders than what is known. It seems to me, one way to determine if Debardeleben was involved in the trio case would be to ask the Secret Service to check and see if any of Rachel or Renee's rings match what is in the Debardeleben evidence boxes. The Secret Service is the agency which found these items and catalogued them, so I would suspect they still have custody of these items.

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  17. #461
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    The things that make me thinkthe unsub could be Debardeleben are these:
    1. Known to masquerade as LE/security - would disguise himself to win his victim's trust.
    2. Known to have more than one victim at a time.
    3. Known to commit crimes at malls.
    4. Known ties to Ft. Worth.
    5. Knows the Seminary South area well.
    6. Inexplicably, never committed any financial crimes at Seminary South.
    7. Suspected in many unsolved disappearances and murders in Ft. Worth.
    8. Highly organized and intelligent offender.
    9. Tended to commit crimes around holidays.
    10. Known to commit crimes against young women.
    11. Debardeleben killed Terry McDonald (a realtor) April 1971 due to her resemblance to his mother.
    12. "Caryn" who Debardeleben married at age 17 or 18 in 1970, suffered from MPD and had 3 distinct personalities.
    13. Debardeleben's mother died in Ft. Worth in September of 1973. Debardeleben and Caryn were staying with her in her house at the time.
    14. At some point after his mother's death - timeline is very unclear, they returned to Alexandria, VA. Sometime after April in 1974, his wife Caryn left him and managed to hide from him. Debardeleben was enraged with Caryn - more than with any other woman in his life which could have escalated his behavior and led to him acting out by committing even more crimes against other women.
    Last edited by Balthazar; 08-05-2009 at 04:26 PM. Reason: More information

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  19. #462
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    There's really nothing I can add. Excellent work, Princess Rose. Him letting more go towards the end is really baffling. Seems to work in the reverse more often. Perhaps he wanted to be caught if even subconsciously.

    He repeated the realtor murders because they were easy for him. He is one disgusting character is all I have to say. Was he put to death? I'm thinking he was.

    Have you started or finished the other book yet?

  20. #463
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    I emailed Debardeleben's biographer, Stephen G. Michaud asking if Debardeleben could be a suspect in the trio case and he replied that FWPD did consider Debardeleben "a possible suspect" in this case but were not able to establish anything. Michaud didn't have anymore information about what dates Debardeleben was in Ft. Worth the year the trio disappeared and forwarded my question to the Secret Service. I hope that my inquiry to Michaud may get the Secret Service to look into this case further. I also thought about Debra - we still don't know if the letter puportedly from Rachel had any DNA on the envelope or stamp. I can only hope it did and that they might be able to compare Debardeleben's DNA to the letter. If he was still married at the time to "Caryn" I hope they will compare hers as well.

  21. #464
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    Looks like it comes down to rings,photos, and dna. We just have to hope something pans out here!

    This isn't just one disappearance, it's three, and it should receive some sort of precedence IMO.

  22. #465
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    I haven't read this thread in a while and shame on me for that, but after catching up I definitely think this Mike D. should be investigated thoroughly. IMHO, there's no excuse NOT to test the stamp and envelope for DNA against him and his former wife, and LE should also compare the descriptions of Renee's promise ring and Rachel's wedding ring against any found in Mike D's house.

    I personally doubt Shawna (Tommy's ex-wife) could have had a role in this. I can't see how a young woman/teenager could have overpowered three other girls, regardless of whether she had a weapon. I also can't imagine someone having the time to hide three bodies beneath the mall's lowest floor without anyone discovering them, but it would be worth an investigation nonetheless.

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  24. #466
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    The note in the mail is still a problem though. Knowing that it's totally ridiculous that a married young girl, a young teen, and a little child ran away together is a problem. Whoever took them wanted it to seem like they all ran away together. A total idiot, but I guess the police thought the same way. This letter writer also was concerned that the car would be found and pointed the girls' destination pretty far away in Houston. The girls could have left the mall and been abducted by someone they knew or gotten into some trouble and the car taken back to the mall by someone who knew they had been at the mall. The girls didn't necessarily have to even know this person well at all, or it could have been someone visiting the area for the holidays. I just don't see some stranger lunatic bothering to write a letter unless he were visiting for the holidays and was trying to avoid any detection at all. But, I still don't see why the concern for the car being found unless it was important to make it seem like they vanished from the mall.

  25. #467
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    TXVicki, that is a good point. The point of the letter may indeed have been to "make it seem" like the girls vanished from the mall by pointing to the car in the lot, thus obfuscating the actual location they were kidnapped from.

  26. #468
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    Good point, txvicki. The thought occured to me that perhaps the girls caught the eye of someone when they stopped at the Army Surplus Store, and were followed from there. Perhaps Debardeleben pulled them over posing as a cop. Told them he'd seen one of them steal something at the store.


    I wonder if anyone ever bothered to look at the placement of the driver's seat to see if a taller person might have driven the car.

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    Mia

  28. #469
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    Why would the Secret Service have an interest in debarden?

  29. #470
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser Sousa View Post
    Why would the Secret Service have an interest in debarden?
    Probably because of his Counterfeiting activities.

  30. #471
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    Kaiser Sousa- Good question! I didn't know about this either until I read the book about Debardeleben. Here's why the Secret Service caught him as opposed to the FBI or police:

    The United States, the Secret Service is unique in that it has a twofold mission: protect and investigate. Starting in 1865 when President Lincoln was confronted with a large number of counterfeit bills being passed around the country, Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch suggested that there needed to be a continuous and organized effort to protect our nation's currency and a Treasury Investigation team was created. Hours later President Lincoln was assasinated, followed by Presidents Garfield and McKinley. At that point the responsibilities of the Treasury Investigation team were expanded to include the role of protection of the president. Today, now called the Secret Service, the Secret Service protects the president and his family as well as foreign heads of state AND they also police all currency, food stamps, treasury bills, savings bonds, investigate financial crimes and internet crimes. In May, 1983, the Secret Service had been searching for someone known to them as "The Mall Passer" who was a man who passed forged $20. They caught him near Knoxville, TN after he had passed a whole lot of forgeries in the area and upon looking for his printing paraphenalia, discovered that he was a serial killer - "The Mall Passer" was Debardeleben.

  31. #472
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    Last week I had business with the Fort Worth Park Dept. Their office is upstairs in the old Sears building at Seminary South. When I finished I asked where the mall's current owner\management office was. It was on the same floor. I spoke to the receptionist, telling her I was doing research and wanted to know if there was any info on the mall when it first opened anywhere. She referred me to the head of Security, who she said had been there forever during the mall's other lifes. His office was in the basement by the food court. I went out in the mall and boy has that placed changed, it was really fixed up and looked brand new. The Murphy's building was gone and I couldnt tell where the entrance to the old bowling alley was. There wasnt any entrance area to the old basement area where the radio station was either. She gave me the head of security's name, I dont want to mention it on here but if anyone knows any names of security guards that were mentioned in the investigation, send me a private message. Oh yeah , I chickened out about going down to the security office would rather do it when I have someone with me.

  32. #473
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    Kaiser: If you meet with the head of security there ask him if he is the one who saw the trio with the other security guard. If he is, show him Mike Debardeleben's photo and ask if this could be the security guard he saw the girls with. There is a photo of Debardeleben from the era here:

    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/s...en/evil_3.html

  33. #474
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    Kaiser, it is okay to chicken out! I'm sure hoping you get your courage up and get someone to go with you or a whole pack of someones. : )
    You might turn up something about the case that isn't known. Ya know, people forget stuff, but then someone or something triggers a memory, and all of a sudden there's some new tidbit added.

    Heck, if you get some big, burly guy to go with you, maybe you can get a tour of the basement and any changes made to it. I'm just not sure now if these girls ever made it to the mall that day. How I would dearly love to know the position the driver's seat was in. Was it in a proper position for Rachel to be driving or had the seat been pushed back farther to fit someone else.

    Rose, about those two guys and Debardeleben. He didn't have to abduct them and take them elsewhere so that's a different scenario. I'm thinking if Debardeleben stopped the girls' car, and told them he was taking them down to the station to process for theft, he would've put at least one, possibly two in handcuffs. I can't remember back that far if the driver could control the locks on all the doors from the driver's position or if that was a later invention. I do remember a time when all four doors had to be checked to be certain they were locked. There was a time when people didn't lock their car doors either unless they had packages or something else of value in them. I bring this up only to question the possibility that maybe one of the girls might have been able to escape, but I doubt it. If he had cuffs on two, he'd have had a gun on the third or a knife.
    Last edited by justthinkin; 08-23-2009 at 04:11 PM.

  34. #475
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    Justthinkin: No Debardeleben didn't kidnap the two guys, but he proved in that case that he was capable of gaining control of more than 1 person at a time. That's what I meant. Three scared girls would be easy for an experience criminal with a detailed plan like Debardeleben to control, IMO.

    I do like the theory that the note may have been to hide the actual location from which the girls were taken. That's a very interesting possibility. The unsub could have talked to the girls previously and asked what they were doing that day, casually, found out they were going to the mall and taken them from anywhere to a safe house, confined them in some way, then taken the car to the mall himself and posted the letter.

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