Cathy Lyn Shackelford
The story below is from 1993 and describes one of the three Native American homicide victims (Arley Killian & Tina Sanders). For more information about the case and the other victims, here are some other stories on the web:
Police are hoping the discovery of the first victim's identity Monday will provide new clues to the serial killer's identity.
The first woman killed in 1976, like two other identified victims slain in 1979 and 1986, was mutilated. Various body parts were missing and some were left at abandoned structures in and near downtown.
After the 1986 victim was found, detectives declared the murders were committed by a single killer whose victims were young, female American Indian women living on Oklahoma City's streets.
The latest chapter of the mystery concluded Monday, when an eight-month investigation led by Sgt. Norma Adams identified the first serial murder victim as Cathy Lyn Shackelford.
Adams started her investigation after she received an unusual missing persons call in from Andra Medina. The detective then remembered a facial reconstruction of the young Indian woman performed by now retired Norman forensic sculptor Betty Pat Gatliff in 1976.
"It was a particularly hectic day," Adams said. "A woman (Andra Medina) called me asking for information about reporting a person missing. She asked if she could report her cousin missing after 17 years. " At first glance, determining the fate of Shackelford seemed impossible, Adams said. But she remembered a photo of Gatliff's reconstruction when the caller described the missing person as a young Indian woman with curly hair, Adams said.
"It was a photo that I had seen hanging by the information desk and posted in the jail. I looked for the photo and the descriptions seemed to match. " Cinching the match was information that the missing woman and the remains of the victim had short, deformed fingers.
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Unable to find dental information for Shackelford, Hutchcroft had an advertisement placed with the American Dental Association.
Detectives learned that dental charts for Shackelford were destroyed in a fire at her dentist's clinic.
Shackelford's medical records obtained through court order from the Sac and Fox tribal government also failed to provide the dental records.
Using video comparative imaging provided by the University of Oklahoma's medical media library, noted anthropologist Clyde Snow confirmed Adams's belief that Shackelford was the slain woman.
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"He (Snow) found that the woman's photo consistently matched the reconstructed photo of the victim," Adams said. But it wasn't positive proof.
A tooth from the woman's remains was shipped to the University of California in Berkley. The victim's DNA was compared against blood DNA from Shackelford's sister, and the test proved a perfect match.
Vera Grant, Shackelford's older sister, described Adams's investigation Monday as "a tremendous effort. " Grant said Shackelford's loved ones searched for years to find out the young woman's fate.
"Our search began that very year that the body was found," Grant said.
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"In fact my mother had turned in a missing person report that year. My mother had a very hard time over the years trying to deal with it, wondering where Cathy was and why there was no contact. " The family always assumed the woman was alive because of reports she had been seen in different parts of the country, Grant said.
"We always wondered, but we never, ever dreamed that something like this could have happened. We never thought that she could have been a Jane Doe, an unidentified Jane Doe. " Family members were hoping to find Shackelford alive so that they could inform her of her parents' deaths, Grant said.
"So many of our people have died in recent years and we were wanting her to know what had happened," Grant said.
Now identified, Shackelford increasingly fits the pattern of the serial killer's other victims, police spokesman Capt. Bill Citty said. All three women were living on the streets. Shackelford was reported as a runaway at age 17 in June, 1975. She turned 18 one month later and was last heard from two months before her death, when she was treated at University Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Citty, one of several detectives who investigated the slayings , said the investigation will be renewed due to the new identification.
"Obviously this opens up information about associations and people this woman knew that we didn't have access to before," Citty said.
Grant said her sister will be buried in accordance with Sac and Fox tradition.
"I remember Cathy as always being happy with a smile on her face," Grant said.
"She was always looking toward the future, looking for something better, having plans. "
Research assistants Carol Campbell and Robin Davison contributed to this report. BIOG: NAME:
Archive ID: 558742