Sunday, October 6, 2013

Debbie Makel Timeline: Part Two

In my research, I've noticed that most of the articles seem to jump from Friday's announcement at the J-M football game to Saturday's massive search. From the stories I've heard and read, she was considered to simply  be lost at this time. Until her body was found Sunday morning, no one was aware they were dealing with the worst crime the people of Rices Landing would ever know. In the days before Amber Alerts, cell phones, and social media, lost children were simply searched for by friends and concerned neighbors. I am going to talk with some folks and will add to the Friday night details as I get more information. For now, I will use Part Two to look at some facts that were established from the time Debbie arrived at the house at or near 3:40. As I mentioned, at this point (Friday evening), no one was aware a crime had been committed. I can't help but wonder how many clues were lost due to people coming in and out of the house and joining the search. I guess hindsight is 20/20...

The Makels, like many other Greene County folks, raised coon dogs and an occasional bird dog. An October 1974 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article mentions a witness who had claimed to have stopped at the Makel house earlier in the afternoon to inquire about buying one of the dogs. This person says when they knocked on the door a curtain moved but no one ever answered the door. In the research I've done, this witness is never mentioned again and reports claim no one remembers having seen this person. One thing that is repeated from one article to the next is that no one remembers hearing the dogs bark at any time. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with coon dogs knows that they howl incessantly at anything that captures their attention. Cats, dogs, other animals, or people not familiar to the dogs can trigger quite a racket. No one reports having heard the dogs bark at any time Friday.

The story of the plums varies from article to article. A bowl of plums was left either on the porch and carried inside or left inside and moved to another location. They were allegedly moved by Debbie around the time of her entering the house from school, as her school books were nearby. Most stories mention that the plums were left by Debbie's grandfather, one mentions they were left by a neighbor. It is difficult to piece together a timeline from forty year old newspaper articles, but the plums being moved must have been a major factor as they were always mentioned. I would figure this establishes that someone knew the original location of the fruit in order to know they were moved.

Perhaps one of the most outstanding facts was that a basement door to the rear of the home, which was usually locked, was found to be open. No signs of a struggle or forced entry to the home were found. It seems strange to me how these facts are casually mentioned in the reports but seem like glaring red flags. But, I wasn't there. Writing this blog post, for me, is like watching a movie you have seen before and picking out details. It is easy to recognize things when you know the outcome. I am trying my best to stay in the mindset of the timeline, which is tough.  What exactly was known at any given time is almost impossible to say.

In retrospect, finding signs of a struggle would have clued everyone in to the fact that something bad did happen prior to finding the body. Maybe Debbie went out the basement door and left it unlocked? Not uncommon for a child. Maybe the dogs didn't bark because nothing out of the ordinary alarmed them? Maybe signs of a struggle didn't exist because she simply went outside to play? I can imagine as the night went on and local searches turned up nothing that a sense of panic sat in. The search continued but Debbie was not found.   

Continue to part 3


Continued from Part One of the Debbie Makel story.

34 comments:

  1. Will you be continuing this? There is a lot more to it.

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  2. Yes,It will be continued.Part 3 will be up soon.I have several folks who want to share their memories about it.I will be updating it as I get these stories. The initial parts are just a timeline which I've been writing in sections.Its far too involved to write at one setting.

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  3. After going back and reading old PG accounts, two things stuck out to me, the Plums, (why this is so important is beyond me), but I wonder this, was there an autopsy done to see if she had ate a plum, that may explain the bowl being moved, and second, the cousins who found her Sunday morning saying a vision had led them to the body, and the testimony that one of the searchers had been in that spot twice as it was on a path along the creek, so many questions and no concrete answers.

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  4. The more articles you read,the more details change. I was led to believe the plums were left on the porch but found inside with Debbie's books. I believe the significance of this was that it was proof that she was in the house.We'll delve into the rest soon.

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  5. This investigation was botched from the outset, there is most likely more details that either have been swept aside, or just poor investigative work.

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  6. I am just new to the area, but my husbands family is from here so he was just a toddler at the time so I am sure my Mother in Law is familiar with this story. I am very interested in this story. I being an avid ID channel watcher am curious about this case now. From what I have read so far it sounds like it was not a very thorough investigation, but it was also the 70's where technology was not as enhanced as it is now. Very interested in reading part 3 of this story.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. Please do not post names or identity's of who you believe to be guilty. The idea of the blog is to promote discussion but we have to be careful as to what is posted as it could be a legal issue.

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  9. I know for a fact that the info of the cousins saying they had a vision is incorrect. Not all that was in the paper is correct.

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  10. Chipper, saw your comments on websleuth.com. whats you thoughts on some of the post there about this murder, do you feel there is someone in the community now dead or still alive that had or has info poon the murer

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  11. Excellent work, Cliff. Bravo. Looking forward to the coming chapters.

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  12. 1 reason this case has been left alone for 4 decades is, the investigators knew without a shadow of a doubt who murdered Debbie. Sadly & tragically , they just could never prove it with the available technology, of that time. Now, why the culprit wasnt pursued in the coming years of technological advancement i.e DNA testing, is truly a fascinating question. There is so much more to this case, than what meets the eye. As if the crime alone wasnt atrocious enough already, the sinister doings around & amongst this case, were an equal rival. While there is no shortage of unturned stones, in this case, I still do believe that someone, still alive, could shed some foresight on the truth. The truth is out there. Somewhere

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    1. Ten years ago new investigators renewed this investigation with the determination of solving this case. Personally knowing one of the key players, I was privy to some interview information. Two things have stuck with me. One, the investigators thought it odd that no pictures of Debbie were on display in the family home. (This can be argued from may points of view.) Second, the investigators stated they knew the murderer and gave reference to the family relationship. And so we waited...and waited....and nothing. As a parent, there is nothing worse than losing your child. As a parent, we would expect and demand justice utilizing all resources including the national media. This has not been done. Why?? Indeed there appears to be a cover up!

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  13. 40 years have passed and you would the think that the family members themselves would have been on a crusade over the years to find the murderer of their daughter. I find that terribly odd. Then again it doesnt seem as if the investigators and the media didnt raise to much of a stink either in all the passing years. Which is beyond strange here in this small area and that alone is just mindboggling to me.

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  14. Ive reread all of the newspaper articles regarding this case n 1 glaring mistruth I seen was the coroner stating that he believes the body was just overlooked on the massive hunt for Debbie on Saturday. That is total bs.Over the years I have talked with many people who were involved in that search who walked over the exact area where she was found n said that she was absolutley positively not there on saturday.

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    1. Definitely not there on Sat. What marked that makeshift grave was a brightly colored sock sticking up. That is what the brothers easily spotted. She was brought in by someone who knew the woods and knew Debbie. There's a name floating around of who did it. I don't know it. But, from all indications it was a family member. I'm related to the family, but it's not on my side. It seems the family lost one family member and doesn't want to lose another.

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    2. Anonymous (Oct 9, 2013)
      I agree with you in regards to frank Behm's remark about the body being over looked on Saturday. I do not buy that for one minute. I konw many of the firemen who had searched that area Saturday while the search was still ongoing. Heard several reports of many of them searching that area more than once. All that I heard remark about where the body was eventually found said they saw nothing out of the ordinary there that morning. then the search had been called off.... And then the 2 cousins who came to aid in the search, started a search of their own and find the body? Just my opinion, All those who searched that area and said they did not see anything there on Saturday, cant be wrong or that they all overlooked the body. I believe like many the body was moved from the place she was killed to that spot.... Some one knew her and they knew the lay of the land. Three names have been told to me.......I would never post or say anything as to who they are.......And like many, have my own ideas as to who did it.

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  15. There obviously had to be ALOT that the newspapers never reported and that in itself just seems very suspicious. Why the cherrypicking of the facts of the case to release ?I can understand suspects names/motives etc. but, the facts of the case? Thats absurd. The whole spectrum of the case, the reporting of the case, just wreaks of..... All of the bloodhounds brought in to track a scent, for example. Nothing ever mentioned as to the results. Why? Cmon now, they had to pick up something, or even footprints for that matter. The body just didnt magically appear there. Also, I just cannot fathom that no one seen anything, as to the body being transported to the discovery sight, especially with everyone on high alert with Saturdays search. It just isnt remotely logical.

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  16. I have some folks who are sharing personal experiences with me.Some I have been talking to,some I will be soon. I will be putting together more posts soon,but it will take a little while. Anyone who has personal memories of this they wish to share can email us at swpare@gmail.com. We're interested mostly in input from folks who were actually around at the time,involved in the search,etc. Also, I welcome comments as long as they don't name or point to a specific individual ( i.e. "I heard it was Joe Blow" or "The uncle from Detroit did it" ) Thanks.

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  17. I was not aware of this murder. I was wondering if this case connects to other cases in the area somehow?
    LE keeps some details to themselves but would be able to compare things to other cases in the area.
    I see no disadvantage to LE comparing the DNA from all similar cases nearby.
    Some killers continue killing but their MO is usually the same.
    Just thinking it may do some good to do DNA comparisons.

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    1. @the previous poster: this murder wasnt the doing of some roaming random killer. this has inside job written all over it.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. I just found your blog and I can't tell you how glad I am that you are trying to break all the secrets and silence. I've never been able to put this out of my mind and naturally thought of this event this past weekend at the 40 year anniversary. I was 7 in Mrs. Young's second grade and Debbie was 8 in Mrs. Litten's 3rd grade. I will never ever forget the day that Quinty Palone, our awesome janitor, removed Debbie's desk from the room and carried it downstairs to the basement. I saw him walk by our classroom with it and it is etched in my memory. I did not understand much of what was going on at the time, although I do remember the sense of panic about town. As my friends and I were growing up, I remember how we used to replay or act out the scenario, like kids do, to try to put details to the story and make some kind of sense out of what had happened. I've always hoped that someone or something like Unsolved Mysteries would swoop in and pick up the investigation and solve it finally. At around the 20th anniversary, a couple of friends and I tried to ask around to see if we could get any information, and we, too, were told to let it go.

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  20. Was it ever factually established
    that the body was
    stored in a freezer before the
    discovery on sunday?

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  21. I'm not really trying to break secrets or silence.I'm just trying to tell a story of a little girl from my hometown.I was almost six years old when this happened,so I barley remember it.Having grown up in the town,I as well as many others,are interested in the case.This happened before the internet and until recently,there was little information to go by other than old news archives.I'm adding the element of personal interviews and informal talks with people I've known my entire life.That,in my opinion,is the best way to add depth to the story.I can't control what people think or say.We all know people who have 'heard this' and 'heard that' so I carefully consider what I do and don't post. There is another forum on the internet where the case is discussed.I have linked to my posts to it but have no control over what is posted in that thread,it existed before I joined.If there is anyone who wishes to share anything,you can email me at swpare@gmail.com. As long as comments on THIS blog are not naming specific persons or outright inflammatory, I will leave them up. The idea is open,responsible discussion.

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  22. In regards to todays OR write up:
    Frankly, it was appauling. Complete &
    utter fluff. After 40 years, that was the
    best piece of journalism they could
    muster up. The meat, potatoes &
    ultimately,the TRUTH of this story just seems to get swept under the rug by the media.
    Its a damn shame. If DNA testing was available in 1987 why in gods name have
    they waited 26 years to implement
    it in this case? Something is fishy here.
    the rug

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  23. My father & uncle were both involved in the search for Debbie on Saturday & they both said that it is impossible that the entire search party down there didnt see her where she was found along that creek. They both said that many searchers walked right past where she was found & her bright sock couldnt have been overlooked by that many people.

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  24. everyone that I knew who were involved in the search said the same thing. there was no way her body was there the day before and also said her body was in such good condition she had to be kept somewhere very cool like a freezer> everything points to the perp being someone she knew could have been someone who was molesting her for a while and it went too far and he killed her that is just a theory,I dont believe this was some random killing it was done by someone they know. my thoughts

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  25. Chippertheripper, have you ever spoken
    to any of the actual search party who
    searched at discovery scene on saturday?
    This just doesnt sound right about LE dism
    Issing everyones claims

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  26. I have and am planning to talk to others. Of all the unusual aspects of this case,the fact that she wasn't there Saturday seems to be the one that is upheld by the townspeople.The OR article from the other day states that there is forensic evidence that disproves this theory.I would like to know what that is and why it wasn't mentioned for 40 years. Looking into it...

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  27. For an 8 year old girl to get abducted near home/ in her home, in broad daylight, then murdered ,in a small town like Rices Landing & then, for there to be no arrest after 40 years, takes 1 thing: 1 hell of an alibi. IMHO this wasnt the work of some mastermind, whomever just had an airtight alibi that had to be corraborated with others. "Close others".

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  28. DNA testing may or may not produce anything but why not try unless you don't want to find out? I understand after years they will finally but now it may be 1, 5 or 25 years too late! Something isn't right with this picture!

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  29. Has anything come about? Why would mom let her baby stay in the house without supervision? Why was she upset at the bus stop? Did she notice somebody following her?

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