30 years after a little girl's murder, memories still raw
Last edited by Cubby; 06-22-2010 at 12:33 AM.
It should probably be in the Cold Case files, since the little girl was found two days after she was abducted and murdered. Her murderer (as of 2003 at least) had not been identified.
Does anyone have any updates on this case?
10 OCT 1973
16 OCT 1973
27 JAN 1974 (this give details of crime, very interesting read, I'd like to see what other's think about the "facts" that have been reported. Picture of her home as well and bus stop, and where grave was found. Good article)
26 OCT 1973
Article gives more description of search, a picture of distance between Debbie's house and where her body was found.
A local man who has gone to the site she was found at and videotaped the area in 2009
Last edited by OkieGranny; 04-09-2015 at 09:18 AM. Reason: fixed url
I have never heard of this case and Rices Landing is only about an hour from where I live. I imagine one reason being that I have never heard of this before is that Debra was murdered before I was born.. How sad that it hasn't been solved after all these years.
Wonder if they have done a DNA test lately? The last known article is from 2003... more people could be in the system now.
I just think its sad that people in the town are not being helpful by talking about the case. I figured the neighbors would try to support the family (especially if they still live in the area) by helping to find the killer. From the articles I read, it definitely sounds as if her body was moved from saturday night when the area was searched to sunday when her body was found. I also think it's likely that it was someone she knew, someone who was a local. I would even go so far as to say it could be someone in her family - maybe an extended family member like an uncle or cousin. That could be why the dogs didn't bark (because they knew the person) and why the cellar door was unlocked (perhaps they had a key). I also think it's odd that her cousins (26 and 16 year olds at the time) found her in a spot that was searched the night before, and that they said a "vision" led them to her. It's just very sad for the family to have no answers after all this time. I hope they find out what happened one day.
I wouldn't rule out a pyschopath or sociopath type person- they kept some of Debbie's belongings (clothes and shoes) kind of a trophy for what they did. It is very possible that this person moved to another area whether in or out of state.
The shallow grave ( I can't read the article in full) the way it is loading from the link, now if she was covered ( maybe this person is ashamed of what they did.)
Did they ever get a clue as to where the cord came from.
To catch a criminal, you must think like one. (Professor Hamre)
It could be that if she were killed in another location, that the shoes, underwear and purse were left there. I wonder if the neighbors were checked. I really can;t imagine that her family stayed there, in the same house, not knowing who was responsible. This poor family.
Long Time Lurker on this site, I am so proud of everyone on here and I wish there was something I could contribute. I will just keep reading and learning from y'all. This case is so sad, and maybe if someone kept her in their car or house they would have all kinds of evidence you see on these forensic shows. These are sad and tearful happenings.
I don't think they ever figured out where the cord came from that was used to strangle her. One of the police officers said that so many people who were searching for her went through the house and potentail crime scene, that a lot of evidence was probably compromised. Search dogs were also in the area prior to when she was found, and no scent of her was ever detected. This suggests that she wasn't there the first time and was moved from another location. Where that was is anyone's guess. Another article mentioned how they were trying to get some DNA samples from Debbie's clothes. Unless something comes of that or someone steps forward with new information, it will be tough to crack this case.
I thought at first the brothers seen her coming up the drive, as they were standing close by the house...But now i see, from another article, that they seen her get off the bus, and start walking towards the house down the road. and a neighbor seen her reach the house, and the books inside tells us she did at least reach the inside of the home.
Like the rest of us, i am waiting on that DNA, from the 2003 article. To see if they at least have a profile, even though no match perhaps.
I have my suspicions, like everyone else, but i really like to know about the possible DNA profile. The killer or killers could have been waiting and watching her from a spot close to the house. As she came up the drive. Not serial killing, but local.
they may have known each other. And probably knew she would be riding the bus, and getting home before the boys. She wasn't killed at the house. But taken nearby, walking distance. and killed there, and her shoes, and other items left there.
She could have even left the house, and just walked and ran with someone to the place she was murdered at, as if to go and see something, lead there without a struggle..I am not leaning towards the body was put there, after the area was searched, but the old timer as they called him, is pretty darn sure she was not there when they fist searched, but was there after. And i pretty much believe him at this point. It could have been that way, put her there afterward s, the first search. he killer may have not known it had already been searched, and wanted to be involved in finding her.
Not taken her far away, but leaving her close by her house, may indicate someone at the time could not drive, had no transportation other then a bicycle. like a youngster at the time. A sex/thrill kill perhaps.
ALL MOO AND SPECULATION ON MY PART, NOTHING FACTUAL OR FOR CERTAIN UNLESS OTHER WISE KNOWN TO BE.
I was looking up Debras name a few days ago see we were best friends when we where little her death has affected me all my life.That is how i found this site. I think she is the reason Im so interrested in cold cases and in solved cold cases. I pray all the time to see her death solved.I wish I could do it but I would not know where to begin when I read what was on here I cried to see that site she was found at. See back then they tried so hard to protect us.from everything. They would pull us out of class talk to us we did not know what to tell them all they did was scare us and give us nightmares and send us to conseling. thank you all for the interest. I have always wanted to see someone pay for taking my best friend. The only thing I can do is remember and keep parying to some day have answers and on the 5th of oct im going with my 13 year old daughter who this winter lost her best friend to a house fire. To that site to take flowers. And to pray. Trishmcnary
Thanks for posting Trish. It must have been so hard to go through the death of your best friend when you were a little girl. I too had an experience when I was younger that shaped my interest in missing children and cold cases.
From reading different articles, I know the people in Rices Landing didn't like to talk about what happened, but do you think the townspeople had any ideas about who could have killed her, such as a local or just a drifter? Sometimes rumors swirl after something like this...everyone has their own idea of what could have happened.
From 2003, the DNA....
If there was no match in the system, then i wonder whom they tried to match it with that was not in the system.
I like to know, if they asked or checked somehow the person whom had the vision, where the body was, and see if it was a match?
I lived about a mile away from where Debbie lived. I was 7 years old when this happened and my father & uncle were in the search party. On Saturday they had searched and torn apart the brush pile she was hidden in. On Sunday morning she was found there, with the brush re-stacked on her body. The State Police came to our home with photo's of her body in the brush pile and re-questioned my father and uncle (who worked for the game commission) about the brush pile. It was horrible.
The people of Rices Landing know who did it. We'll just say they're not talking because they were told not to talk. I still live here, still live in the shadow of this murder, and people still won't tell what they know.
Thanks to Doyle for posting this case back in 2003. And thanks to Websleuths moderators for bringing it to the Cold Case files after so many years of it being filed away.
There have been quite a few posts this year and a lot of interest and care in Debra's violent murder. It is quite possible that her case will be solved and her killer brought to justice yet, even though it has now been 37 years.
Hi,Im Chip.That vid is from my blog.I'm still working on this story and have a ton of news clippings from the case I hope to scan and post.The 37th anniversry was the other day.I've gotten alot of feedback on this and continue to hear from folks who are both local and widespread who are interested in the case.I grew up in Rices Landing and it is a beatuiful,quiet little town.There,naturally,is a lot of speculation and hearsay,but many common theories...I'll keep ya all posted..
Can you share some of the common theories that have gone around Rices Landing about why Debra was murdered? From what I read, I always thought it might be a local person, someone who knew the family well. It's hard to believe the people in the town might know who did it and not say anything, especially if her family still lives in the area. I wish someone would help the family get answers and come forward with info. I'm sure if the people who know something were in the same situation as the Makels, they would want someone to come forward with info to help solve the murder of their child and give them some peace.
When you think of the term "cover-up", one may think of the C.I.A, political scandals, etc. "Cover-up" is certainly one of the reasons this murder was never solved, and should you be thinking, " OMG!! There is absolutely ZERO chance that something like THIS could EVER happen in Rices Landing!!" Well, I would seriously urge you to reconsider that notion.
Its hard to convey convincing sentiment into a story like this, without the use of "names/relationships/personal histories", but,to name-drop here wouldnt be prudent, even though certain people have passed away.
"Misdirection", by certain parties was used prevalently, in everything surrounding this case. I cant even begin to stress the importance of the word "misdirection" in this case. As to the "misdirection" & facts of the hows, whos, whens & whys, well, thats for each individual to decide on their own.
A few things to consider:
* After concluding an exhaustive first day search of the wooded area behind the home of the girl, which ironically turned up no results of finding her, how many people inside of the search & investigation teams, actually knew the EXACT areas that were searched?
* Into the beginnings of the second day of searching, the girl`s body is found, exactly where many members of the search party looked, just the previous day. This alone weighs tremendously into the notion that, whomever planted her body knew exactly where they had already searched & as I believe, hoped they wouldnt comb over again. Atleast not in a timely manner, as to further add speculation to the overall timetable of the crime.
* How could the perpetrator(s) have known just WHEN to conveniently dispose of the body, right in the middle of an active murder-crime scene without being detected? I highly doubt they had ESP & an invisible cloaking device, therefore, "aid" was obviously provided.
* Dogs were used extensively through out the search, up until & after the finding of the body. No scent was apparently ever discovered. Strange. She obviously didnt just "land" there. Also, you must remember, she was found right along side of a dirt creekpath & there was no mention of ANY footprints being found. How is that possible? It wasnt possible. Footprints( & or scent, were OBVIOUSLY both found, yet, never mentioned) why?
* After the discovery of the body, which was found in the same place, that was combed over by searchers, just the day before with no results, the county coroner,whom was active with the case, was publicly quoted as saying,"I dont believe that."
Why would he publicly contradict all of the searchers who were actually THERE & said she was definitely NOT there, the previous day.Think about that.
* Who was in the best "position" to dump the body, in the night hours? It is mind-boggling to me, just how overlooked this is, by some. Your smack dab in the middle of a very smalltown, in the middle of a huge manhunt w/ the towns people being on high alert, due to fear, etc & yet, someone could just walk hundreds of yards into the woods, obviously w/ some sort of visual aid to see their way through the dark woods & no one sees anything. No cars parked along a road anywhere. Nothing. How is that possible? I would highly doubt the investigators just "shut-down" & turned a blind eye to everything, once the sun set for the night.
* All the created focus on the field behind the house during light hours & Why didnt anyone see anything? Misdirection. The inserted rumors of a murderous drifter, possible vendettas etc = Misdirection. Finding 2 persons who claimed to be "hunters" in the woods in the middle of the night, when it wasnt hunting season = Misdirection. Alot of what was printed in the paper, in my opinion. was mere background clutter.
* I always found it terribly disturbing that, some people "around" this case, were known/unknown "deviants", yet, it never was reported publicly via newspaper.You can bet your bottom $ that the investigators knew, though.
* Its a FACT that, investigators interviewed many locals about this crime ( notably a few "handicapped" people in the area) & while that may be protocol in any murder case, WHY would they pursue so many "dumb" avenues, when so many answers & REAL clues in the case, point towards everything else?
* This still "unsolved" open case "died" & vanished completely for 3 decades until some reporter came across a local, unsolved murder & decided to run a story. WHY wasnt it openly/publicly pursued for 3 decades? Why wasnt the body ever exhumed & tested w/ all the advanced DNA technology?
Its a no-brainer that certain "people", amongst other parties involved in this case, KNOW damn well who was responsible & it just could not be proven, and/or were protecting a sadistic variety of certain "interests". I personally feel the truth would not be allowed to surface, by the powers that be, but,in the same breath, there is so much background scenery that I couldnt post here, thats paints such a more in-depth, broader scope of the case ( factual happenings surrounding the many involved in the case, that you would never read about in any newspaper) & without all that, its just pointless to paint a canvas of "mystery" & leave many to still speculate about so much, when theres really no reason to. I strongly feel that, every stone perse, was overturned & the truth of what really happened, was discovered, but, "hidden" as well.
The bottom line is this, if you were to speak with anyone who was actually "in the know", in terms of the real facts, aspects & investigation of this case, they`ll all recite to you the same "culprit". The REAL question is/was, WHY wasnt the assailant convicted? Some will say, they just couldnt prove it, others will say, "they" had friends in the right places & circumstances in their favor.
I live in the Jefferson area. Only about 5 miles from Rices Landing and found out about this case roughly 6 years ago. Went to CalU Library and did a little research about it. When I brought this murder up to some people in Rices Landing I was told not to pry too much. When I asked why I was told a story of a woman who was trying to get Unsolved Mysteries to look into the case. Well she received some messages on the machine that weren't polite. I guess one of them said something like... Don't go opening this can of worms or you may end up just like Debbie. Noone would tell me the name of the lady who received the messages, but I was told that another message said not to go to the police. Which she never did.
Now whether or not what I was told is factual, I don't know. What I do know is that this little girl died and it seems as though solving her murder just isn't at the top of anyones list and never has been. Sad case and I hope someday the truth finally comes out.
It's so nice to hear from little Debra's friends and neighbors. Thank you for your input. Your stories really put a living human angle to this case. I'm so sorry for your loss.
It seems with all of the time passed, people may be willing to talk again.
This case seems to be a cover up if I ever heard one.... But why??
It does not seem random. Could it have been some sort of retaliation against Debra's parents or a family member?
The craziest thing I've heard is that they knew where to find the body because of a "vision".... What?? Was this person ever investgated. It seems to me this must have been a small town police department without (I hate to say this) enough know how or experiance with real cases. Were they so much in their own little small town bubble that they thought they didn't have to follow the rules?
Sorry, but this case just angers me... What a beautiful little girl she was.
I hope there will be justice for her.
Last edited by momtolil; 02-22-2011 at 05:20 PM.
We're working on putting together a short documentary on this case.Sifting through old news clippings now.I have several people to talk to...one who has intimate knowledge..stay tuned...
Some disturbing evidence has surfaced which might put a face to Debra's murderer.
This is only a few days old, but some interesting things have come to light about that time frame in Rices Landing.
My friend is going to contact the State Police with what she has. Will post later.