|Birth: ||Feb. 14, 1957|
|Death: ||Sep. 19, 1975|
Featured as a cold case on todaysthv.com:
A wind chime blows in the breeze changing direction just like this story. It sits in the northeast corner of Oak Grove Cemetery in Conway next to a grave that belongs to a murder victim who has waited nearly 35 years for justice.
We know her name is Debbie Summers. Her age was 18. And we know how she died, but there's not much else. There's no picture and no life story. It's all a mystery to Faulkner County's Lt. Matt Rice.
"Nobody knew her. So you aren't going to have the phone calls that you normally would in a case," he says.
Old newspaper articles give us a glimpse into her final days. Her last was Sept. 19, 1975. Her body was found in a ditch on Highway 286.
The scene looks much different today. There are businesses and traffic. But there was nothing there in 1975. For days, investigators didn't know who she was. She had no identification. She was only known as the girl with the blues eyes and red hair.
Rice explains, "You know we haven't heard much about this one. There hasn't been a lot of talk."
Clues though, led to details. Her diary was found at the scene along with a pack of cigarettes with a Tennessee tax stamp. There was also a bottle of whiskey from Oklahoma. Police say it was evidence that she was a hitchhiker and was heading to her home town of St. Louis.
They now had a name. Debbie Summers needed a voice.
Rice says, "We follow up on everytime we hear something. Because one day, it is going to hit."
Nearly a month later, a judge ordered her burial. Summers was laid to rest while police stayed busy gathering leads.
Evidence led them to a man who said he'd given Summers a ride from Coral Gables, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia just two days before her death. But who brought her to Arkansas?
"You don't have anyone to talk to see why she was here. What she was doing? Especially with a hitchhiker, the only people that know anything are her and probably the person that did it," explains Rice.
That's why Rice hopes someone will remember something and call in a tip. He knows 35 years is a long time ago for people to recall details, but he also knows it's possible.
"That is kind of what we are missing is where we get our information from is people from the outside to give us that one bit of information that we can jump on," says Rice.
It's a secret for now, held in her grave wanting to blow free in the wind.
Rice adds, "We'd love to figure out who did it."
If you have any information on Debbie Summers' murder, contact the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office at 501-450-4194.
James Everett Summers (1922 - 1984)
LaVern Ida Blaske Summers (1925 - 2001)
Found Dead Near Conway Age 18
Oak Grove Cemetery
Maintained by: ghost girl
Originally Created by: Libby Talley
Record added: Feb 12, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8381779