AL AL - Mary Hunter, 34, Juanita Acker, 41, & Joyce Drake, 20, northern AL, 1967-1970

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by whokilledthesewomen, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. whokilledthesewomen

    whokilledthesewomen New Member

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    A newspaper article in the Decatur Daily (AL) was published on October 2, 2011, reinvigorating community interest in the murders of three North Alabama women between 1967 and 1970. I had never heard of the cases before but I've been fascinated ever since; in fact, I still have my copy of the newspaper folded up somewhere. I'm not much of an amateur sleuth and this is my first post here, but I would love to draw wider attention to these women's cases in hopes of shedding some new light on the evidence.

    The article vaguely implies that there may be some connection between the three murders but community members seemed to suspect different people in each crime, so I'm going to treat the incidents separately for the purpose of this write-up.

    MARY FAYE HUNTER was thirty-four years old when she disappeared on May 6, 1967, according to the Daily article. She was last seen at a grocery store in Decatur around noon following a hair appointment. Her parents reported her missing just over an hour later when she failed to return home.

    Ms. Hunter's skeletal remains were found in a creek outside of town five months later. Alvin Benn, an Alabama reporter who has worked for several newspapers throughout the state, wrote in his memoirs that a coroner's inquest determined that she had been raped, although since her remains were so degraded he could not understand how this was established.

    In terms of suspects in this case, I could not find a lot of specifics here that were publicly available. Apparently an independent film was produced in 2016, "Beyond the River Bridge," that implies that there was some kind of conspiracy and cover-up, but I have no idea how to view this film. On a public Facebook group called "Growing Up In Decatur Alabama," one user states that the investigation was called off because the primary suspect died shortly after the murder.

    JUANITA ACKER, 41, was shot twice in the face at close range with a 0.22-caliber pistol on May 23, 1969. Her body was found the next day by her daughter and her daughter's fiance at the motel where the family was living temporarily after a house fire. The hotel room did not appear to have been burglarized. Like Ms. Hunter, Ms. Acker worked at Redstone Arsenal, a military installation in Huntsville with ties to the U.S. missile defense and aerospace programs.

    I found literally no information on Ms. Acker's case outside of the Daily article -- the only information I could find about her on the Internet was a Find A Grave. The article states that a suspect was questioned and passed a polygraph. A former investigator on the case believes that Ms. Acker may have had information on Ms. Hunter's murder and was silenced.

    JOYCE DRAKE, 20, suffered the most violent slaying on January 7, 1970. She left her parent's Falkville store around 10:30 A.M., driving a truck to the local bank with about $400 in cash to deposit for her father. A witness saw Ms. Drake drive past the store a little later with a red-headed man in the passenger seat. The truck was later found abandoned and, after a search, Ms. Drake's mutilated body was found in the snow on the side of the road ten miles away.

    Sources state that Ms. Drake was clutching red hairs in her hands and that she had skin under her fingernails, indicating a struggle. The $400 was also stolen. Today, despite a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, Ms. Drake's murderer has not been caught. Forum posts on Topix suggest that Ms. Drake had family members that may have fit the description of her companion in the truck and that acted suspicious after the murder.

    That's about all I have, but please let me know any theories or information you may want to share! I'll be happy to try and answer any questions you have.

    Link to the archived Daily article here:

    Alvin Benn's memoirs:"mary faye hunter" murder&f=false

    IMDB entry for "Beyond the River Bridge":

    Local news report on Joyce Drake case: [video=youtube;t0rNsVzZFT8][/video]

    Topix thread about the Joyce Drake case:

    Hazelnutty likes this.
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