45 Years After 11-Year-Old’s Horrible Murder, Cops Finally See The Monster
Sep 13, 2018
On July 6, 1973, 11-year-old Linda O'Keefe was walking home from Lincoln Intermediate School in Corona del Mar, California. She usually took the bus, but that day, her piano teacher had given her a ride. As she stepped out into the sunshine wearing the white dress with blue flowers her mother had picked out for her, everything was fine.
But she never made it back.
Her frantic parents alerted the police. A massive search across Newport, Calif., ensued. Helicopters and land crews scoured the area for any sign of Linda, but they came up empty.
A man looking for frogs in Back Bay found her body in a ditch the next morning. She had been strangled.
Linda Ann O'Keefe's killer was never found. Until now.
The 45-Year Investigation
Only five years shy of 50 years since her murder, the Newport Beach Police Department turned to a modern innovation Linda never grew up to see: the internet. Using a Twitter account, the police live-tweeted the events leading up to Linda's murder from her own perspective.
The 45th anniversary of the little girl's unsolved murder spread awareness using the hashtag #LindasStory.
The Turquoise Van
Linda asked the school secretary if she could call her mom to walk her home that day. She didn't really like walking, and her bike was back at her place. The secretary told her to wait in case her mother was already on her way, so Linda decided to head to the nearby market and pass the time until she could call her mom.
A classmate had noticed a turquoise van stop near Linda several times as she walked to the marketplace and back.
Linda made it back into the school office and dialed home. "Just walk," her mother told her.
Later that afternoon, another young woman name Jannine and her mother spotted the same van. This time there was a man in it, and he was talking to Linda as she sat on the curb, grumpy that her mother wouldn't pick her up.
Jannine's mother parked the car and instructed her daughter to write down the vehicle's license plate number, but the van drove the other direction before Jannine could copy anything.
Jannine and her mother were the last people to ever see Linda alive.
Linda's sister figured she'd be in a big trouble whenever she got home. Her mother, however, knew something was wrong. Linda wasn't the type to stay out after dark. She wouldn't disappear even if she was mad that she had to walk home.
Her mother was beside herself. Why didn't I just pick her up?
Linda's parents checked with all of her friends' families. Maybe their daughter had just gone home with a classmate and lost track of time. Kids did that kind of thing.
But every call was a dead end.
No one knew where Linda was.
No one knew until the next morning when her body was uncovered in Back Bay.
Reviving the Linda O'Keefe Case in 2018
Not much was left behind in the wake of Linda's murder. There was some DNA at the scene that was never traced to a suspect.
Linda was gone, and no one knew who killed her.
Using new technology, the Newport Beach Police Department released a facial model that was constructed using the DNA from the crime scene. Two images were shown: One picture depicted a male around 25, the age the suspect is estimated to have been at the time of the murder; the second shows how experts predict he would look today, an old man approaching 70.
"But now, 45 yrs later, I have a voice again," the police tweeted as a conclusion to Linda's story. "And I have something important to say. There is a new lead in my case: a face. A face that comes from DNA that the killer left behind. It’s technology that didn’t exist back in 1973, but it might change everything today.”
A video depicting Linda's case in more detail was also released. Anyone with information is urged to call the NBPD’s Cold Case Tip Line at 949-644-3669.
What do you think of the Linda O'Keefe case? Can you think of other cold cases that could be revived and possibly solved with technology in 2018?