On the night of July 12, 1995 in a small mostly Mormon community in eastern Arizona named Thatcher, a single mother, age 29, named Mary Ann Holmes was tortured, raped and murdered. The most brutal thing of all is that it was done in front of her two small girls, ages 5 and 3. The killer had tied the oldest girl, naked, with rope that she eventually untied and ran across the street to alert a friend of the family.
The little girl said that her mother had been hurt by a "lion man". When the neighbor went to the house, she discovered the slain woman with her youngest child crawling in her blood.
Police Chief Ned Rhodes was quoted as saying that the victim died of head injuries caused by a large knife or hatchet. I later learned that it was actually thought to be a blunt object. Mary Ann had been handcuffed, sexually torn apart, raped and then bludegened to death. She was found with the handcuffs still on. A single fingerprint was found on the underside of the cheap cuffs. Possible DNA was collected at the scene but it was later reported that the DNA had been stored in a non-climate controlled room and had been lost. A footprint size 11 1/2 was found and tracked to the nearby college campus parking area.
Mary Ann had a yardsale earlier that day and it was reported that an unknown man had been at the sale and then later returned at the end of the sale to talk to Mary Ann. The money from the sale was missing after the murder.
I have talked to almost all of the principals in this case in preparation for my book on murders and developed a new person of interest that I followed up on and reported to the authorities as well as looking into the prime suspect in this case. Of course the police details are kept close to the cuff in this cold case although I feel that allowing amatuer sleuths like myself to see the evidence would only help to solve this 16 year old murder.
Any photo evidence on this case would be appreciated.