One of my best days at work – ever – was the day I learned that my detective instincts had helped Dallas police solve a murder.
Here’s how it happened:
One of the Texas Rangers was investigating a series of attacks on elderly women in the central and south-central parts of the state. The only thing each of the attacks had in common was that each woman lived alone.
My office had helped with contacting the news media about the cases and publicized the need to find the person committing the crimes.
As part of my job, I monitored news coverage in the Dallas Morning News. In December 2010, I happened to read a feature story about Mrs. Inez Skelton, an elderly woman (97 years old and living by herself!) who had been murdered in December 2009 when her house was burglarized. Her murder had been unsolved, and investigators and her family were frustrated and sad. (https://www.dallasnews.com/news/news/2009/12/10/Dallas-police-say-elderly-Oak-Cliff-5459)
The story detailed little things about Mrs. Skelton (she was a huge Dallas Cowboys fan who was known to hang up on people foolish enough to call her when the game was on), and I mourned the loss of such a spunky lady.
(For more about the amazing Mrs. Skelton, see her obituary: http://laurellanddallas.tributes.com/our_obituaries/Inez-Co-Co-Peacock-Skelton-87358669)
Something about the killer’s M-O sounded familiar. I called the Ranger investigating the crimes against the elderly women in other parts of Texas. Was it possible the cases were related?
He contacted the Dallas Police Department to find out if the DNA profile of the killer had been uploaded to the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database, a national database of DNA profiles for known and unknown offenders.
As it turned out, the DNA hadn’t been uploaded. The detective had the DNA profile submitted and there was an immediate hit on a suspect who had lived near Mrs. Skelton. He was already in prison for other burglaries he had committed and confessed to Mrs. Skelton’s murder. (We also learned through the DNA testing that he wasn’t connected to any of the Ranger’s cases.)
I was so pleased that Mrs. Skelton’s murder had been solved, and that her family no longer had to worry that her killer was still out there and unpunished for taking her life in such a brutal way.
I didn’t receive any official awards or any public recognition for my hunch – and that‘s ok. But I did receive a special memento from a DPS investigator and crafty gal named Caroline Knauth – a handmade card of congratulations. (See the photo of the card….) And yes – it IS a kick when things just go right!