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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    AL - Chanda Fehler, 24, Tuscaloosa, 10 June 1987

    I was about 20 years old when this young woman was murdered in my home town of Tuscaloosa, AL. Although I never met her personally, my mother knew her in graduate school at the University of Alabama and a close friend of mine was good friends with her brother. This case was haunting, not only because she was abducted in a public place in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon, but also because the belief was that, due to the nature of the crime, the perpetrator was likely someone who knew her and had some sort of attachment to her. It would not be appropriate to post the name(s) of the person or persons who were rumored to have been involved, because there was no real evidence, since her body was thrown into the river and stayed there for several days. There have been names tossed around for years, but without evidence of any kind, the names amount to nothing. It seems that this is one of those cases that will require a deathbed confession in order to be closed, but I hope that one day there can be closure for this terrible crime:

    Despite reward offers, extensive publicity and a probe that included interviews with more than 100 people, the 1987 murder of Chanda Fehler remains unsolved.

    The body of Fehler, a 24-year-old University of Alabama student and kindergarten teacher, was found on the banks of the Black Warrior River. Her body, tied to a cinder block, washed up on the shore of the river near the Peterson community.

    Fehler's slaying, the first case ever publicized with Tuscaloosa Crime Stoppers in July 1989, still haunts former Tuscaloosa District Attorney Charley Freeman.

    "Along with other cases, Chanda's murder still bothers me," said Freeman, who served as the county's top prosecutor from 1980 to 1997.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Here is a little more information on Chanda's murder, paraphrased from the Tuscaloosa News:

    Chanda Fehler, 23, disappeared from a University of Alabama Campus pool in June of 1987. On the night of the day she disappeared, her black Honda CRX was found in the parking lot of Riverside Pool in Tuscaloosa with the interior light on and the door ajar. Her towel, driver's license and other personal items were left in the car. Her whereabouts were unknown until her body was found by a fisherman near the Peterson community in the Black Warrior River four days after her disappearance. Her nude body was bound with wire and weighted down with a cinder block. Since she had been in the water for some four days, there was almost no evidence other than the body itself, and the Medical Examiner was only able to conclude that she had died from "drowning or smothering".

    After numerous hours of interviews with hundreds of people, including all the names from the sign-in sheet from the pool the day she disappeared, an anonymous caller to the homicide unit of the Tuscaloosa Police Department may have offered the one piece of information that could solve the case. Early in the probe, the woman called the homicide unit and left a message with an investigator that she had seen Ms. Fehler and a young man embrace in the parking lot that afternoon. The description she gave matched that of one of the suspects, but police were unable to find the anonymous caller to ask her for more details or to show her a lineup. With that information, the police felt that they would be well on their way to making an arrest, but the woman never called back.

    Since the earliest days of the probe, the number of suspects has been narrowed down to just a few, but investigators would not say how many. There were two names that have been widely rumored within Tuscaloosa, people that we all knew, and both of whom made convincing suspects, but there's little chance that it was both of them, and without further information from the case, it would be very unfair to an innocent party to give out names. The only clue that was given about the suspects was that some of them had some common characteristics. The homicide unit in Tuscaloosa asked the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit for help in the probe, as this specialized unit uses evidence in a slaying case to develop a profile of the killer.

    The FBI's report said that Ms. Fehler's killer was probably a "secret admirer type" and that he had "adored her from afar". The report also said that he was single and may have had difficulty interacting positively with females. According to the report, the killer was probably a white male, and about the same age and middle class social status as Ms. Fehler. Because she knew him, Ms. Fehler probably willingly left the pool with him that day. This fact may also indicate that the killer planned the slaying in advance, the report said. The fact that the body was disposed of in an elaborate manner may reinforce the theory that she knew her killer. Killers who cannot be connected to their victims usually do not try to hide the bodies, the FBI said. Because of the sophisticated manner of disposing of the body, the killer may also be a meticulous and patient person who plans things well in advance. He is not impulsive, and does not lash out at people, the report said. He would have been comfortable with the area in which the body was found, and would have felt a sense of relief in disposing of the body, but was probably unnerved by the discovery of her body a few days later. This may have caused him to become ill and perhaps miss several days of work after the discovery of Ms. Fehler's remains.

    The report went on to say that the FBI's report accurately described the characteristics and lifestyle of more than one of the suspects.

    If you have any information regarding this case, please direct all leads to the Tuscaloosa Police Department's homicide unit in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    There's a suspect named in this article:


    A very long article about Chanda:


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Thanks jaleach123, I did not know the name of this suspect. There were two names of suspects from the Tuscaloosa area, both of whom fit the FBI's profile report and both of whom knew Chanda. Because it would have almost certainly been one of them and not both of them who committed this crime, if indeed either one of them did it, it would be unfair to name either of them. Such a frustrating case for the Tuscaloosa homicide unit. It seems unlikely that the case will ever be resolved, but as current events have shown us, we can't ever give up hope.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    New Orleans, LA

    Always give generously of yourself to support your beliefs. And when you're knocked down, give more.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Chanda's mother passed away in March 2017. How sad she didn't get to see justice for Chanda. Link is to her obituary.


    (I met Chanda while at the University of Alabama as a student and have often wondered if her case had been solved. I am sad to see it hasn't.)

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