TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Investigators will publicly discuss next week the unsolved murders of two young girls found shot to death nearly a year ago along a dirt road in rural Okfuskee County, officials said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, family members of the childhood friends are pleading for anyone with knowledge of the grisly crimes to come forward with information.
"Somebody has to know something," said Vicky Placker, who raised 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker as a daughter even though she was the girl's biological grandmother.
Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the slayings of Taylor and her friend, 11-year-old Skyla Jade Whitaker, near the town of Weleetka, about 70 miles south of Tulsa. It is also when investigators have called a 10:30 a.m. news conference in front of the Okfuskee County Courthouse in Okemah to talk about the case.
"We haven't made an arrest," Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said Wednesday. "I wish we would."
Brown estimated that hundreds of leads have been pursued in the unsolved murder case. By last fall, the OSBI had logged nearly 15,000 man-hours investigating the deaths.
"Now, the leads are not coming in as much as they were, and that's to be expected," Brown said. "Most of the leads that came in were not good leads.
"People wanting to help, 'hey, my ex-boyfriend could have done this because he's a creep,' we still have to follow those," she said.
The girls' murder last year stunned the working-class community of 1,000, a remote place people moved to escape the evils of the world.
Taylor's family had moved there to get her away from the violence in Oklahoma City. Skyla's moved from Baxter Springs, Kan., outside of Joplin, Mo., for a taste of the simple life.
Both families thought they found what they were looking for along an isolated country road, where the neighbors are hidden from one another by acres — and sometimes miles — of thick woods.