Real Name: Tracy Lynn Kirkpatrick
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Frederick, Maryland
Date: March 15, 1989
Details: Tracy Kirkpatrick was a senior honors student who was interested in poetry and writing. In early 1989, she had an after-school job at a clothing store, but on March 15, the night she was supposed to lock up, someone entered and brutally stabbed her to death, leaving her body in the storeroom. A security guard located her body two hours after she was supposed to close the store. At 11:15 pm, her parents, Diane and Bill Kirkpatrick, arrived at the store and learned of her murder. Police found no motive for the crime; there was no evidence of sexual assault and the store's cash receipts were still on the counter. Since there was no evidence of a struggle, police assumed that the killer was someone that Tracy knew.
Detectives were baffled, until three months later, a man named "Don" called the Maryland police and a Las Vegas murder confession hotline claiming to be her killer. A psychic later came forward claiming that a man named "Sean" was obsessed with her murder and was constantly trying to contact her. The psychic claims that she recognized the voice of "Don" as the man named "Sean". Police have been unable to find enough evidence to file charges against him and her murder remains unsolved.
Suspects: Three months after the murder, a man named "Don" called a nation-wide confession hotline in Las Vegas. He claimed that he was calling from Frederick, Maryland, and that he stabbed a girl to death three months earlier. He claimed that the victim worked in a ladies' sportswear store and that he often visited her and talked to her. He also claimed that on the night of the murder, he and the victim had gotten into an argument in the storeroom, and that he had stabbed and killed her. He also claimed that the would not turn himself in because Maryland had the death penalty. At one point, he mentioned that the victim's name was Tracy. Because of this and other similarities, investigators were convinced that he was Tracy Kirkpatrick's killer.
The call was traced to a supermarket that was about eight miles from Frederick. Investigators believe that the killer was trying to turn himself in. They wrote an open letter to Don, urging him to come forward.
Two weeks later, the police heard from Martha Woodwarth, a psychic, who claimed that she was in contact with a suspicious man named "Sean". This man had called Martha and asked her to help him solve Tracy's murder. He sent her newspaper clippings about the crime; when she received the envelope, she had a feeling that he was involved in the murder.
Investigators played part of the confession tape for Martha; she was convinced that the voice was Sean's. When investigators checked the return address on Sean's envelope, they discovered that his home was in Walkersville. This was the same city that the confession call came from. Interestingly, the man that lived at the home was not named "Don" or "Sean".
Investigators later had a local radio show play the confession tape. Three people called in, claiming that they had recognized the voice on the tape. They identified the man as the suspicious man from Walkersville. However, a search of his home found no evidence linking him to the crime.
The man calling himself "Don" and "Sean" was an obvious suspect in the case. When police attempted to talk to him, he pleaded the fifth amendment. The security guard that found her body was also a suspect in the case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 30, 1991 episode. Some sources spell her name "Tracey".
Results: Unsolved. Police have since determined that the man calling himself "Don" and "Sean" had nothing to do with the murder. However, they have since narrowed down their list of suspects to two people, including Don Barnes Jr., the security guard that found her body. Barnes's father was police chief at the time of the murder and some have suggested that he covered up evidence in the case. However, this has not been confirmed.
While police say that they are not certain that they will get a conviction at this point, they believe an indictment is possible. DNA testing of samples found at the scene began in March 2009; it is unknown if any evidence was found. The killer has yet to be identified or apprehended.
- Tracey's case on Unsolved.com
- Tracy Kirkpatrick Facebook Page
- Call to confession line recharges probe of Md. slaying
- 20 years of sorrow
- After 20 years, girl's murder still unsolved
- 24 Years Later, High School Senior's Slaying Still a Mystery
- 2014 News Story: Who Killed Tracy Kirpatrick
- Tracy Kirkpatrick at Find a Grave