Real Name: Veronica "Tina" Jefferson
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Date: May 11, 1988
Details: At 3 am on May 11, 1988, 24-year-old Veronica "Tina" Jefferson was discovered raped and shot to death at point blank range behind McKinley Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. Her clothing was found nearby with bloodstains on it. There were no tears and rips in her clothing which would normally be found in a stranger attack. The condition of the clothing suggested that she knew her killer. The day after her body was found, her car, a Red Camero with the personalized license plate "MS VLJ", was discovered parked at a supermarket two blocks from her apartment. The vehicle was unlocked and the keys were missing. It was later determined that the car had been wiped clean of fingerprints. The interior of the vehicle was also examined; a time stamped receipt showed that she had left the market at 9:30 pm. Surprisingly, her purse was found with all of the money and credit cards still inside. A box cutter was also found in the vehicle; it is believed to have belonged to the killer.
Tina was a government accountant and a newcomer to the Washington, D.C., area; she was originally from Oklahoma. She had recently become a CPA and was working as a finance officer for the CIA. She was last seen alive the night before at a Giant grocery story near Columbia Pike. Authorities believe she may have met her killer that night at the store, and that she may have known her killer. Investigators interviewed several of the employees at the store along with customers, and although they had some good suspects, all were eventually cleared because their DNA did not match that found at the crime scene.
Four days after the murder, an off-duty police officer came forward and believed that he had seen Tina and her car on the night of the murder. At 9:45 pm on May 10, the officer saw the car make a right turn and go over the curb while making the turn. The officer followed Tina's car (identifying it based on the personalized plates), and planned to pull them over for driving erratically. Unfortunately, he decided not to and passed by her car. He then saw the unknown man in the driver's seat with Tina standing on the outside of the car, leaning on the passenger's seat. Authorities believe that the killer then took Tina out of her car and led her to the school yard where he then raped and killed her.
From Tina's friends and roommates, investigators received a list of possible suspects, as it appeared that the killer was someone that she had known. However, DNA testing cleared all of these suspects as well. The case remained at a standstill for about a year.
Then, in May 1989, a couple, John and Betty Flanagan, came forward claiming to have seen Tina at the grocery store on the night she was killed. When John went to the deli counter, he noticed Tina. While ordering, an unidentified African American man arrived and began flirting with her. A few minutes later, Betty was walking to their car when she noticed Tina putting her groceries in her car. She saw the man approach Tina and talk to her. Investigators believe that the Flanagans may have seen Tina with her killer.
Investigators had no suspects and few leads in the case until in the spring of 2000 when DNA found on Tina's body matched DNA found on the body of 22 year old Rachael Raver, who had been murdered in December of 1988 along with her boyfriend, Warren Fulton. After this connection, authorities re-interviewed Tina's family, and her sister Crystal then remembered visiting her sister in the summer of 1987 at her apartment complex in Virginia and meeting a man named "Tony", who also lived in the apartment and may have been Tina's boyfriend. Although not a suspect, authorities would like to question Tony to see if he as any knowledge about Tina's death. Her murder and the Raver/Fulton murders remain a mystery.
Suspects: A composite sketch was made of the man seen with Tina the night she was killed, who was a clean cut African American male who was 6'3", 170 pounds, and is the prime suspect in the case. Authorities also want to question the man known as "Tony" who may have been Tina's boyfriend at the time, and may have lived in Queens, New York, where Rachael Raver's car was found. He remains unidentified.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the November 1, 1989 episode of Unsolved Mysteries, and was revisited on August 29, 2001, after it was connected to the murders of Warren Fulton and Rachael Raver.
Results: Solved. In August 2005, DNA found on Tina's body was linked to a man named Alfredo R. Prieto, now considered a serial killer for the additional murders of other individuals including Warren Fulton and Rachael Raver. Investigators learned that he had lived in Arlington in the 1980s. They now believe he was responsible for at least nine murders in California and Virginina in the late 1980s.
Prieto was extradited to Virginia from California, where he was on death row for a 1990 murder. He was convicted of the murders of Warren Fulton and Rachael Raver and sentenced to death. On October 1, 2015, Prieto was executed by lethal injection.
- Tina Jefferson on Find A Grave
- DNA Leads to Suspect in 1988 N.Va. Killings
- Lawton woman's murderer executed