Thursday, June 21, 2007
Out for Justice: Mary and Maggie Jenkins
It's a cold case that has haunted detectives for more than three decades. Two young sisters from New Jersey murdered in the Keys in 1973. In tonight's Out for Justice, hear from a man filled with regret because of something he told the girls about the Keys. Seven's Patrick Fraser has the story.
WSVN -- Some things never change. Today when spring break hits, kids head to the beach. In 1973, it was teenage sisters Mary and Maggie Jenkins who wanted to escape the New Jersey cold.
Duane Barlow, brother-in-law: "Their interest were boys, making money, they wanted to travel."
Duane Barlow was married to Mary and Maggie's sister and sadly remembers bragging to the girls about the time he hitchhiked from New Jersey to the Keys.
Duane Barlow, brother-in-law: "I'd talked to them many times about it and I think that put the thought in their mind."
They decided it was a trip they had to take. Their parents gave them money for the bus tickets and they headed to Key West.
The week went as they had hoped.
Detective Mark Coleman of Monroe County Sherrif's Office: "Met up with some friends down there, friends from their same home town. They partied; did the Key West thing at the time, just having a great time."
Maybe too good of a time. They ran out of money and instead of taking the bus back, they decided to hitchhike home like Duane had done.
Detective Mark Coleman: "In the early 70's hitchhiking and teenagers traveling alone was fairly common practice"
Monroe County cold case detective Mark Coleman says a witness remembers seeing the girls standing near Mile Marker five with their luggage.
Detective Mark Coleman: "When he came back about 15 minutes later they were already gone."
The next time they were seen was by a man walking his dog. It was not a pretty sight.
Detective Mark Coleman: "Each had multiple injuries, primary cause of death was gunshot wounds to each girl, one was stripped of her clothing, the other had some of her clothing pulled up to her chest. They were in the woods covered with sticks and leaves and dirt, basically dumped like garbage in the woods
There were no homes here 33 years ago and the woods were the perfect place for a killer to dump two bodies.
Police did everything they could, but got nowhere.
Detective Mark Coleman: "There was an extensive investigation from the files that I've gone through."
And that evidence has been preserved for 33 years.
Detective Mark Coleman: "Just last year, I resubmitted everything to the lab."
Detective Coleman is hopeful new technology and that DNA evidence will be point him to the killer of the young sisters.
Detective Mark Coleman: "We're going to trace evidence: hairs, fibers, anything from their clothing that could be found and who knows there is a possibility that the offender could still be alive."
Patrick Fraser: "Today Mary and Maggie would be near 50 years old, probably have children, maybe even grandchildren. Instead all they have are headstones that and a detective determined to find out who murdered two innocent young teenagers.
Detective Mark Coleman: "The individual who did this was sick and twisted. If anything, he at least needs to be identified whether he's dead or alive."
No one wants the killer caught more than Duane, who still calls detectives once a week, hoping for a break in the case, in large part because of guilt. After all he is the one who told the girls how much fun hitchhiking could be in the Keys.
Duane Barlow, brother-in-law: "If I had known what I know now, I would have never, never ever."
33 years later, he still can't finish the sentence and now only wants to see one thing, their killer sentenced and executed.
Duane Barlow, brother-in-law: "I hate to be cruel, but if he gets the death sentence, I will probably go. As much as I hate it, I want to see him looking at me."
Now if you have any idea who that killer was 33 years ago whether they are dead or alive, please call Detective Coleman and if you know of a murder victim you fear has been forgotten, give us a call. There are still many people who are out for justice.
And don't be afraid to share any information you may have. If you call Out for Justice with a tip on a cold case, you do not have to identify yourself.
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