1149 users online (224 members and 925 guests)  


Websleuths News


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    28

    AL - Frankie Lankford, 16, Clayton, 28 July 1968

    This is my first post here. I am looking for any help or suggestions for finding information on this unsolved murder. It happened in my hometown of Clayton, Alabama 9 years before I was born, but my grandmother new this boy and it has always bothered her greatly that nothing has ever been done to find out what happened to him.

    On the night of July 28, 1968, Donald Franklin Lankford (Frankie) was 16 years old. He had spent the evening at his girlfriend's house with her and her parents. At the time, Frankie and his brother Freddie and sister Freda were living with their aunt since their mother had died 6 years earlier. On this night, Frankie's cousin Tony Wood was playing poker with my grandfather. Frankie was suppose to meet Tony at my grandparents house to catch a ride home with him. The house Tony and Frankie lived in was approximately 8 miles north of town.

    According to Frankie's girlfriend and family, he left her house on foot at appoximately 10:30 pm walking toward my grandparents' house. At about 11:00 pm a police officer spotted Frankie at the intersection to the road leading to my grandparents' home. He was leaned into a car talking to three other teens. I have two of their names, but I am not sure of the rules about naming suspects on here.

    The police officer road about 2 miles down the street and turned around. He said that when he came back by Frankie and the other teens were no longer at the intersection.

    At about 12:30 am, my grandfather and Tony arrived back at my grandparents' house. Tony asked my grandmother where Frankie was. She stated that she had not seen him. Tony called his mother, Louise, to see if Frankie was there. She stated he was not.

    Tony had had too much to drink, so he went to sleep at my grandparents'. Freddie, Frankie's brother, went looking for him. He left Louise's house headed south toward town at approximately 1:00am. He did not see anything strange. He went to the girlfriend's house and learned that he had left on foot toward my grandparents house. He road all over town and could not find him. He went home about 2:00 am. Again he saw nothing strange.

    At about 3:30am my grandmother got a call from Louise. Frankie had been found dead. At about 3:00am a man from Midway, the next town north of Clayton was headed from Midway to Clayton to bring the morning newspaper to town. About 2 miles south of Louise's house, he ran over Frankie's legs. He was laying in the center of the road.

    Frankie's body was split in two from his crotch to his sternum. However, there was hardly any blood where he was found. There was also no trails of blood on the road that would indicate that he had been dragged down the road. He also had deep cuts and scratches on his body.

    My grandmother was told by the funeral home director, who was the one to pick him up, that it appeared as if he had been dragged behind a vehicle down a dirt road, of which there were numerous ones in the area (and still are).

    The police immediately thought that he had been murdered. They tracked down the three teens that he had been seen talking to. They stated that they talked with him for a few minutes and that he left walking toward my grandparents'. The police then came to my grandparents' to question Tony. Apparently, they suspected him for some reason. My grandfather was his alibi. They had been playing poker at another friend's house.

    I don't think that much investigation was done other than this. I do know that they searched one of the teen's truck and that it had been recently washed.

    For some reason, which I am guessing is because they could not solve this, the police decided that he must of been hit by a car while walking home. There are numerous reasons this makes no sense. First, Frankie lived about 8 miles north of town. He would not have tried to walk this. Second, we know that Frankie had no intentions of walking home because he was last seen headed to my grandparents' home to get a ride home. Third, no blood was found where Frankie was found or anywhere nearby. You can't tell me that someone gets split from crotch to sternum and there would be no blood. Fourth, Frankie's brother Freddie had already passed the place where Frankie was found twice and had no seen him laying there. He was obviously placed there. My theory is that whoever did this knew where Frankie lived and placed his body in that spot to make it look like he was hit by a car by walking home.

    I have attached a picture from Google Earth that has these locations labled on a map.

    Again, any suggestions any of you could give me would be greaty appreciated.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    6,481
    Perhaps you could contact the Vidocq Society : http://www.vidocq.org/

    As a family member, you can make a request for them to look into the case. From their website:

    _______________

    Case Intake

    A Vidocq Society investigation can begin only after we are contacted by a family member or law enforcement agency asking us to review an unsolved cold case. A family member making a request must have standing in the case. In all cases the investigating law enforcement agency must welcome our help.

    For The Vidocq Society to consider an unsolved death or homicide case, our by-laws require that:

    * the death must have occurred at least two years prior;
    * the victim cannot have been engaged in dangerous or illicit activity of any kind;
    * if presented to a meeting by law enforcement or an investigator with standing in the matter no family members may be present; and
    * We will not provide updates or other information to the family.

    ___________


    It does sound to me like a murder, smm - though tell me (and forgive my bluntness) -- what do you think the chances are that Frankie was hit by say, a truck, and dragged along the road underneath it, far from the original location?

    I'm not saying it couldn't be a case of fouler play, but it'd help in knowing where to start. A hit and run is still an unlawful death, so LE ought to be taking this very seriously.

    Feel free to PM me with those names.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    28
    I have gone over the truck theory in my head. However, I keep coming back to the fact that the road was searched for blood and no trails were found. Also, it was clear that Frankie did not intend to be walking home. He was clearly on his way to my grandparents' house to meet his cousin.

    Also, I am new to this, could you please tell me how to PM the names to you?

    Thanks for your interest!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    30,165
    Welcome to WS, smm31822. Interesting case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    6,481
    smm, if you click on my username above this post, a drop-down menu will appear, with an option to PM.

    As for the hit and run idea - and again, forgive my bluntness - from the description of his particular injuries (implying evisceration), one would think there'd have been an unholy mess left -somewhere- along a nearby road at the point of impact, if he was indeed hit by a vehicle. If no such evidence showed up, despite searches made, it would seem to me perhaps there's another explanation for his death.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    46,782
    Quote Originally Posted by smm31822 View Post
    I have gone over the truck theory in my head. However, I keep coming back to the fact that the road was searched for blood and no trails were found. Also, it was clear that Frankie did not intend to be walking home. He was clearly on his way to my grandparents' house to meet his cousin.

    Also, I am new to this, could you please tell me how to PM the names to you?

    Thanks for your interest!!!
    Welcome to WS.


    p.s. I am not sure if your PM [ private messaging] is even working yet. If I remember correctly, a new member has to meet a certain number of posts before their PMs are activated.

    This is a very fascinating and sad case. I hope it catches some interest here.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    46,782
    Quote Originally Posted by smm31822 View Post
    I have gone over the truck theory in my head. However, I keep coming back to the fact that the road was searched for blood and no trails were found. Also, it was clear that Frankie did not intend to be walking home. He was clearly on his way to my grandparents' house to meet his cousin.

    Also, I am new to this, could you please tell me how to PM the names to you?

    Thanks for your interest!!!
    Is it possible that when he was walking to your grandparents home, that someone offered him a ride to his Aunt's home, and then something bad happened. Maybe that is why he was found close to home. I don't know what could have injured him in that horrible way though, without leaving blood on the road.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    6,481
    Thank you, katydid - I'm pretty much a newbie too, and forgot about the PM thing! I agree with your thoughts on the possibility of somebody offering him a ride - looking at the map, he wasn't far at all from his Aunt's house, and a very long way from where he was going originally.

    I'm happy to wait for those names, smm.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    28
    I absolutely think that he got a ride from someone. However, I don't think it was their intention to take him home. He was last seen by the police officer at 11:00. His body was found at 3:00 the next morning. His brother Freddie passed by the place his body was found twice between 1:00 and 2:00 and his body was not in the road at these times. That means the body got there between 2:00 and 3:00. That means there is at least 3 hour gap (between 11:00 and 2:00) where it is unknown where he was or who he was with.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    46,782
    Quote Originally Posted by smm31822 View Post
    I absolutely think that he got a ride from someone. However, I don't think it was their intention to take him home. He was last seen by the police officer at 11:00. His body was found at 3:00 the next morning. His brother Freddie passed by the place his body was found twice between 1:00 and 2:00 and his body was not in the road at these times. That means the body got there between 2:00 and 3:00. That means there is at least 3 hour gap (between 11:00 and 2:00) where it is unknown where he was or who he was with.
    What about that car with the 3 teens? Do they have a valid alibi for their whereabouts doing those 3 hours?

    Were they good friends or just acquaintances of the victim? They seem like logical potential suspects, imo. Even if it was something accidental.

    His wounds almost sound like a horrible unexpected accident, like happens if someone is standing up in a truckbed and is hit by something. Or a someone is leaning their body out of a speeding car window and it enters a tunnel. Something weird like that. imo
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    ChIllinois..........brrrrrrrr
    Posts
    1,405
    I'm a little confused. This same story was already posted here by a sibling of the victim, I know, I remember the story line very well. They also had a webpage they had put together. I have done a search for the previous thread and am not getting anything by this name. I do know with certainty though that this story has been posted and it would be good to try to bring the original thread up to see what the sibling had posted in case they had any additional information that might be of use.

    The only thing I can think of is if the name is correct? Any suggestions?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    What about that car with the 3 teens? Do they have a valid alibi for their whereabouts doing those 3 hours?

    Were they good friends or just acquaintances of the victim? They seem like logical potential suspects, imo. Even if it was something accidental.

    His wounds almost sound like a horrible unexpected accident, like happens if someone is standing up in a truckbed and is hit by something. Or a someone is leaning their body out of a speeding car window and it enters a tunnel. Something weird like that. imo
    I am not sure if they have an alibi or not. I am having trouble getting any information from the local authorities. It is a very small town and they don't like for things to be stirred up.

    I do know that they were not good friends of the victim. He did know these boys as everyone in town did, it being a small town, however, he did not hang out with them.

    I really believe they had something to do with it. The street the my grandparents' lived on at the time was a dead end street and there was absolutely no one that lived on that street that Frankie would have willingly taken a ride with. By the teens' own admissions, the last time they supposedly saw Frankie, he was walking toward my grandparents'. I don't believe that there was time for him to walk down the street, meet up with someone else, get offered a ride, and get in the car before the officer would have come back by. I really think he would have seen Frankie talking to someone else IF someone else had been there.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by TallCoolOne View Post
    I'm a little confused. This same story was already posted here by a sibling of the victim, I know, I remember the story line very well. They also had a webpage they had put together. I have done a search for the previous thread and am not getting anything by this name. I do know with certainty though that this story has been posted and it would be good to try to bring the original thread up to see what the sibling had posted in case they had any additional information that might be of use.

    The only thing I can think of is if the name is correct? Any suggestions?
    I have also searched for a thread about this. I also searched the internet before posting this and nothing came up. No webpages, websites, nothing. I know that I have the name correct. I originally was searching for the last name of Langford (due to my misunderstanding my grandmother when she spoke). However, in my research I found his death record and his grave, so I know it is Lankford. If Freddie or Freda had a thread here it would be GREAT to be able to find it. My grandmother moved from Clayton several years ago and has lost touch with them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    smm, if you click on my username above this post, a drop-down menu will appear, with an option to PM.

    As for the hit and run idea - and again, forgive my bluntness - from the description of his particular injuries (implying evisceration), one would think there'd have been an unholy mess left -somewhere- along a nearby road at the point of impact, if he was indeed hit by a vehicle. If no such evidence showed up, despite searches made, it would seem to me perhaps there's another explanation for his death.
    Hey Ausgirl, I think that I was able to PM you those names. Will you let me know if you got them or not?

    Thanks!!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    6,481
    I did, smm! I've a horribly busy couple days up until the weekend, but I plan to spend some time digging after that.

    From a cursory look about, I must say there really is not a lot of information out there on any aspect of this case - considering people are not split up the middle all that often (blunt, sorry), I had thought there would be. I'm trying to envisage how, exactly, that could happen... Hard to get my head around, really. I'd love to get my hands on the autopsy report.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast


Similar Threads

  1. CT CT - Debra Spickler, 13, Vernon, 24 July 1968
    By Richard in forum 1960's Missing
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 09-19-2017, 10:52 PM
  2. CA CA - Five Walker children, Clayton, 8 September 1968
    By PastTense in forum Cold Cases
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-18-2014, 11:18 AM
  3. IL IL - Cecily Clayton, 16, Chicago, 22 July 2014
    By OkieGranny in forum 2010's Missing
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-31-2014, 04:36 PM
  4. Found Deceased SC - Frankie Black, 40s, Anderson County, July 2011
    By imamaze in forum Located Persons Discussion
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 12-20-2013, 02:26 PM
  5. IN IN - Norma Cramer, 21, Portage, 2 July 1968
    By Satch in forum Cold Cases
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-06-2013, 11:39 PM

Tags for this Thread