NC NC - Denise Johnson, 33, Stabbed & House Set on Fire, Outer Banks, Kill Devil Hills, 13 July 1997

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by PastTense, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. PastTense

    PastTense Well-Known Member

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    "Today marks the anniversary of a crime that stunned the Outer Banks and that remains unsolved to this day. Twenty-two years ago, 33-year-old Denise Johnson was brutally murdered in her Kill Devil Hills home.

    On July 13, 1997, the KDH Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 2000 block of Norfolk Street. Firefighters discovered Johnson inside the residence and removed her in an attempt to resuscitate her. Once outside the residence it was discovered that Johnson had not succumbed to smoke or fire alone, but had also been stabbed. According to the state’s final autopsy report, she’d been stabbed in the neck and there were additional wounds on her body to indicate Johnson had fought for her life.

    In an interview last year, Kill Devil Hills Police Lt. John Towler, characterized the Johnson case as “an open murder. It always remains a priority.” In recent years, some of the most aggressive sleuthing on the case has been done by Delia D’Ambra, a Florida TV news reporter with deep ties to the Outer Banks... she has thus far produced 18 episodes of the podcast “CounterClock,” in which she has re-examined the case in painstaking detail — hoping to uncover enough new leads and information to give law enforcement new tools to solve the case. (To learn more about this podcast, log on to Counter Clock.)"

    Remembering Denise Johnson
     


  2. RookieInvestigator

    RookieInvestigator Well-Known Member

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    It seems like the killer set the home on fire to destroy evidence and possibly their DNA...
     
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  3. JnRyan

    JnRyan Well-Known Member

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  4. Bhar09

    Bhar09 New Member

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    I have been listening to the counter clock podcast too- the law enforcement don’t seem to have done a very thorough job.
    I also find the old neighbor Andrew Smithson curious- so much he remembers but claims to not remember the tenants name that he rented his downstairs to. I want to know if/when he was questioned or even looked into. He seems to have had the perfect alibi
     
  5. JackV

    JackV New Member

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    I believe he did not live their full time, only visited occasionally. It sounded like he had a financial stake in the building but was not all that involved in renting the property. He just happened to be visiting around that time.
     
  6. Damarna

    Damarna Well-Known Member

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    More episodes on the Counterclock podcast. They are doing a great job presenting this case! In the latest episode it was touched upon that her CO2 level was 25% meaning she was breathing during the fire. So, what was really happening here? Was she truly killed first and the fire set to cover up? Something doesn't sound right.
     
  7. JnRyan

    JnRyan Well-Known Member

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    Was it CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) or CO (Carbon Monoxide)? I thought she said it was carbon monoxide. Per the outside ME the host consulted with said Denise had to be breathing during the fire. Denise was a smoker, but that ME said there was no way that would account for that high a CO count. She said 5% to 8% and MAYBE 10%, but not 25%. One other person pointed out that Denise's throat was cut and this meant she would likely have bled out in a minute or slightly longer meaning that was too short an amount of time to breath in enough CO to raise the level that high. Plus her windpipe was also cut so she wasn't taking in air, and CO, into her lungs.

    I wonder if the killer hit her or stabbed where it was not immediately fatal. Then the killer, thinking she was dead, set the fire. Denise might have gotten up and tried to run while the killer was still there. If the killer was still in the house to the point where Denise had inhaled that much CO the killer had to have done the same. I believe CO is lighter than the normal atmosphere air and would be concentrated lower on the floor. Where Denise might have been if she were semi-conscious while the killer was setting the fire. In any event, the 25% level rules out that Denise was already dead when the fire was set.
     
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  8. Damarna

    Damarna Well-Known Member

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    Oh!! You are correct!! CO is what was 25%
     
  9. JnRyan

    JnRyan Well-Known Member

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    If Denise had been unconscious or sleeping when the fire was set and came to with a CO level of 25% her ability to defend herself would be negatively affected. Even a very brief struggle could have made her weak and dizzy.

    I just had to look this up. 15% can be tolerated by some people who are accustomed to CO exposure. But 20%-25% is considered severe CO poisoning levels.
    Carbon monoxide poisoning (acute)
    Poisoning is considered to have occurred at carboxyhaemoglobin levels of over 10%, and severe poisoning is associated with levels over 20-25%, plus symptoms of severe cerebral or cardiac ischaemia. However, people living in areas of pollution may have levels of 5%, and heavy smokers can tolerate levels up to 15%.
     
  10. alove98

    alove98 New Member

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    I have managed to figure out the full name of Eric. Does anyone know what Teresa’s last name was?
     
  11. NoseyFriend22

    NoseyFriend22 New Member

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    I have been binge listening to the podcast and did some Facebook digging after episode 8 (the tall blonde).
    One thing that is interesting: in the first or second episode, Delia went to the Amoco station and it’s now a hookah/tobacco shop. I searched info on the wife of one of the “brothers” who was close with Eric. The brothers bought an Amoco station and turned it into one of their smoke shops. It’s .6 miles from the address of Denise’s house. This really must be a small town.
     
  12. JnRyan

    JnRyan Well-Known Member

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    At the time this occurred it was. Now Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Nags Head all run together and that section of the Outer Banks goes for quite a few miles with either businesses and residences on both sides of NC12 and Hwy 158.
     
  13. katvina

    katvina New Member

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    can you message me what his last name is? trying to find Teresa currently
     
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  14. Traci_Renee10

    Traci_Renee10 New Member

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    Did you ever find out Eric or Theresa’s last name?
     
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  15. Basicalyadetective

    Basicalyadetective New Member

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    Feel free to message me also. I’ve been trying to find this info as well. Thank you!
     
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  16. Basicalyadetective

    Basicalyadetective New Member

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    Feel free to message me the name! Thank you so much!!
     
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  17. Proud Country Gal

    Proud Country Gal Not all who wander are lost...

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    The town is very very small, I think it's like 5 square miles total. It is in the middle of a tiny island on the Outerbanks of NC.
     
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  18. Proud Country Gal

    Proud Country Gal Not all who wander are lost...

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    Did you ever figure out Teresa's last name? I am sending you a message with a page to lookup more info on everyone surrounding the case.
     
  19. Proud Country Gal

    Proud Country Gal Not all who wander are lost...

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    Sorry I got the wrong Teresa! I am still looking for THAT Teresa....
     
  20. Lankenship212

    Lankenship212 New Member

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    Something small, left field, during the podcast, her roommate said “they” wanted her to get back to the apartment. The night of the incident she had stayed with her friend because it was too hot...I was curious- how did “they” [responding authorities] know where to get ahold of her at that morning/next day?
     
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