Marie Zickefoose

Marie Zickefoose

In January 1984 Marie Jenkins Zickefoose was discovered dead in her bed in her Skillman-Northwest Highway apartment, an open magazine at her side. Investigators guess she was reading when her killer struck.

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Her brother Talmadge Willard Jenkins, his bloody and lifeless body nearby, apparently visited at the wrong time, interrupting the crime. Though investigators lifted a good print from the scene, they could not track down the murderer

The Dallas Police Department has scarce resources dedicated to cold cases like this one.

You can’t fault the department for this — there are hundreds of recent and active cases on which to focus. They have boosted awareness about cold cases via the recently launched blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Zickfoose case recently was revisited on the aforementioned platforms.

The DPD also uses members of the Dallas Police Reserve — a 60-year old organization of professionals (often in fields of law or medicine or retired police officers) who undergo rigorous certification and dedicate at least 16 hours a month to police work — to solve cold cases.

One of the reserve officers working on cold cases is retired police detective and Lake Highlands resident Ron Pettie. I spent some time with him last fall when working on the October cover story, “History of violence.”

Ron Pettie: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Ron Pettie: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

In his home office, Pettie keeps stacks and stacks of binders stuffed with information on Dallas cold cases. The ones that get his attention are, essentially, those that someone still cares about. He dedicates about 50-60 hours a month to the job.

“In the Zickefoose case, for example, the retired detective who worked it told me it still weighs on him. He said he got real clear prints. It is the kind of thing you can retest with the latest technology,” Pettie said.

Pettie also is working on the case of Jill Bounds, who was bludgeoned to death in her White Rock-area home in 1988. And that of Myra Barrett, who in 1991 at age 44 was murdered inside the Uptown-area boutique she was preparing to open — the fulfillment of an entrepreneurial dream.

Full Advocate story: History of Violence

Dallas Police Department Cold Case blog