Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cold Cases that Haunt the Soul

Cortney Clayton

 Stefanie Hill was a “righteous victim.”  She did nothing to bring on her murder.  A teenage student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, she was savagely beaten to death in the early morning of May 29, 2000.  Stefanie arrived at her apartment after leaving work at a nearby Outback Steakhouse.  At about 12:50 a.m., EMTs responded to reports of a fire at the Indiana Village Apartment Complex.  There they discovered Stefanie’s body, but the fire had destroyed any evidence that might have been left by the killer.  According to reports, Stefanie had never had a serious boyfriend, so police had few suspects.  Was the murder the result of a robbery gone bad?  Or a stalker that no one knew about?  Or was it just a random crime of opportunity?  No one knows except killer.  Stefanie had few destructive habits—she wasn’t a drug user, drinker, or carouser.  She had a strong Christian faith, and remained close to her family and many friends.  After 14 years, Stefanie’s killer is still at large.
The Kingfish Boat Ramp Murders occurred in the City of Holmes Beach, Florida.  On August 1, 1980, forty-seven-year-old Dr. Juan Dumois, Eric Dumois, 13, Mark Dumois, 9, and Dumois’s brother-in-law, Raymond Barrows, returned from a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico and loaded their boat at the Kingfish Boat Ramp.  As they began to drive away, a white male approached them and stated that he had hurt his ankle and needed a ride.  Dr. Dumois agreed, and the stranger placed a bicycle he’d been riding in the boat.  He climbed into the back seat and asked to be taken to a nearby apartment.  About a minute later, gunshots rang out.  Dr. Dumois, Eric, Mark, and Raymond were shot in the head with a .22-caliber revolver.  Raymond survived, but the others died.  According to a police report, after the shooting, “the vehicle then jackknifed on the north shoulder of Manatee Avenue just west of the boat ramp. The subject then got out of the vehicle and rode westbound on Manatee Avenue on his bicycle.  [Robert] Matzke, working in his yard at a nearby condominium, observed what had taken place and pursued the subject to the parking lot of a nearby grocery store.  Matzke and the subject exchanged words, and [Matzke] was shot in the head by the subject.  Witnesses then observed the subject load his bicycle in a tan colored vehicle at the grocery store and leave eastbound on Manatee Avenue.”  Robert Matzke died of his wounds.  The motive has never been determined, and the assassin never caught.
On September 2, 1988, at around 7:30 p.m., seven-year-old Cortney Clayton disappeared from a store parking lot in Stamford, Texas.  She had walked from her home, less than a block away, to buy a soda.  Cortney came out of the store and vanished.  Her soft drink was found on the bumper of a pickup in the parking lot.  There was little evidence.   A witness described seeing a suspicious male standing by a white car next to the pickup.  She helped police make a composite sketch, but no suspects were ever found.  Six months later, hunters discovered the skeletonized remains of Cortney in Shackleton County, near Baird.  The killer of Cortney Clayton has remained under the radar of police for more than 25 years.  The Texas Rangers currently list the Cortney Clayton abduction and murder in their “Top Twelve Cold Case Investigations.”

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