UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA

Background 

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA
Image Credit: After Elizabeth Barclay

Elizabeth Lynn Barclay was born on 21st of December 1971 to parents Linda Barclay, and David Barclay, a Research Technician in the US Army. Her little brother Scotty, (aged 3 at the time of Elizabeth’s disappearance), followed in 1975.

Elizabeth had shoulder length blonde hair, stood at around 3ft 6 in, weight is unknown, and eye colour is unknown

In 1975 Linda and David divorced, Elizabeth, Scotty and Linda remained in Texas, but her father, David, was based in San Francisco. Elizabeth lived with her mother and brother at West Lake apartment complex, Vanzant County, Texas, which is where she was living when she went missing.

Elizabeth was 7-years-old at the time of her abduction and was a first grader. Her first-grade teacher stated that she was an independent little girl who had a tonne of sense, and was a natural leader amongst her peers.

Her mother reportedly said that Elizabeth was gutsy and loved being a big sister. Despite her parents divorce in 1977 being tough on her, Elizabeth showed resilience that even some adults aren’t capable of.

Abduction

At around 7 p.m. on the 23rd of October 1979 Elizabeth, wearing a red, white, and blue halter top, and white shorts left her home with her little brother, Scotty, and a childhood friend, JR Potter to go to a local convenience store to buy ice cream. Before they made the trip they stopped by JR’s home, JR collected some money from his father, George, who had asked if an adult would be accompanying them to the store (JR had told his father that there would be no adult in attendance). George allowed his son and his friend’s to continue to the store.

Elizabeth, Scotty, and JR followed the road of the 2900 West Northwest Highway K. The store was approximately a few minutes from where Elizabeth, Scotty and JR lived. It’s not known where on this road, the children got to before the abduction happened.

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA
Image Credit: Google Maps

The children were walking along the road when a dark coloured (black/dark grey) 1974 two door Buick with a damaged trunk pulled up alongside the children. The driver was said to be an African – American man with long sideburns, dark hair, around 5’10 – 6’0 with a stocky build. He was estimated to be around 30 to 35-years-old.

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA
Image Credit: After Elizabeth Barclay

The man exposed himself to the children before climbing out of the car, grabbing Elizabeth (striking her several times), and putting her into the back of the vehicle. Scotty and JR heard the man say that he would throw Elizabeth in the water, or that he would drown her (there is a lake very close to the abduction site).The abductor drove away, leaving the two boys alone. They both ran home to their parents and told them that Elizabeth had been taken. Linda reported that she heard Scotty crying in an odd way, and he came in to tell her that someone had taken his sister, he looked scared and upset.

JR told his father, George, what had happened. George, Linda, Scotty and JR ran to the road where Elizabeth had been abducted and searched. They checked the convenience store, and the complex, but found no sign of Elizabeth.

We have included a link to the type of Buick models that would have been made in 1974 as the police did not specify what model it was. 1974 Buick Models

There is no known E-Fit of the suspect.

 

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA
Image Credit: After Elizabeth Barclay

Police Search 

Elizabeth’s family initially raised $6,000 reward for her safe return. This has now been raised to $15,000 for the capture and conviction of the abductor and murderer of Elizabeth Barclay.

Elizabeth’s father returned from San Francisco to help aid the search for his little girl. The Barclay family, and the Texas Rangers searched the surrounding areas such as lakes, creeks, gravel pits, alleyways and overgrown areas with cars and on horseback, but they were unable to find any trace of Elizabeth, and the case went cold for a few months.

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA
Image Credit: After Elizabeth Barclay

Witnesses

A male witness witnessed the abduction on the 23rd of October 1979 (it’s not known if he went to the police directly, or if he contacted them after hearing of the abduction). The witness happened to be looking out of his window, and had reported to the police that the suspect seemed to be repeatedly hitting someone/something in the back seat of their car whilst driving away.

Statements were also taken from Scotty, and JR. It’s not known if there were any other witnesses to come forward.

Murder

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA

 

On the 20th of December 1979, the decomposed remains of a young girl were found on a remote road, Hiram Willis Point Road (now renamed to Wingo Way), Van Zandt County, which is just 45 miles east of Dallas, 3 miles north of the I-20 and 300 yards west of the FM2695 in Texas, by farmworkers that were hauling hay in the area. The body had been found just one day before Elizabeth’s birthday.

The bones of the body had been scattered across the roadway which police and farmworkers believed were due to animal activity. Farmworkers had reported it to be recent as the bones had not been there the day prior to the discovery.

Formal Identification

The clothes found near the body were said to have matched the clothes Elizabeth had been wearing on the day of her disappearance. There were bullet holes, and stab holes in the clothing, but due to decomposition the police had to await the results of the ME’s autopsy.

A week after the discovery of the body, Dallas County ME’s office were able to formally identify Elizabeth’s body. Elizabeth’s death was confirmed to be a homicide, and although they couldn’t confirm with 100% certainty, the ME believed the cause of death was two gunshot wounds to Elizabeth’s chest with an un. There were said to have been disfiguration on the child’s ribs.  She had also been stabbed several times, we have not found any suggestion of sexual assault, but this could be due to the state of the remains.

The police also found three .45 caliber bullet cartridges near by, but police were unsure if this was connected to Elizabeth’s case as the area was known for target practice.

Suspects

UNSOLVED: The Abduction and Murder of Elizabeth Barclay, aged 7, Dallas, TX, USA
Image Credit: After Elizabeth Barclay

 

Both parents were interviewed by the police, but were quickly cleared as suspects. The police also looked into the possibility that the abductor may have had a relationship with the family, but were able to ascertain that there was no connection between the abductor and the Barclay family.

The first known suspect was arrested on an outstanding traffic ticket and held in the county jail for questioning, but Sergeant John Adam Chick reported that the chances of this suspect being the abductor were very slim (we can’t find information on why he was ruled out, i.e. his alibi for the time of the abduction), but that the reason he was questioned was that he drove a similar vehicle and also matched the description of the abductor.

Another individual was arrested at a phone booth, after asking the Barclay’s for $10,000 in exchange for Elizabeth’s return. His name has never been released and it’s unknown if he was charged with extortion.

The final suspect, a man named Robert Douglas Turley/Turkey (citation needed) was arrested in connection with the abduction of 18-year-old Lisa Morgan from Oak Lawn parking lot. Lisa was abducted at knifepoint, but had managed to flee her attacker. Whilst in custody, Robert was questioned on the disappearance of Elizabeth Barclay, but he too, for reasons unknown, was ruled out as a suspect.

Status

Cold (42 years have passed since Elizabeth went missing and then was found murdered on a remote road.)

No further suspects have been identified that we know of, and the case is currently cold. Over the years investigators have worked on the cold case, and reviewed known sex offenders in the area, but to date, have not been able to link anyone to the crime. The most recent update is that the DPS Texas Rangers had reopened the case, in 2019.

Elizabeth’s case has been closely linked to two other abduction and murders in the area around that time. The murder or Ladina Anne McCoy aged 7-years-old went missing from the intersection of Columbia and Henderson stress in East Dallas, Texas, whilst walking to school. On the 12th of June 1977 Ladina’s remains were recovered near Mountain Creek Lake, in South-West Dallas, Texas. Her murderer has never been caught.

The murder of Susie Mages, aged 12-years-old from Denton, Texas on the 25th of September 1977. Suzie’s body was found on the 4th of October 1977,  in the water of an abandoned gravel pit. Her murderer has never been caught.

Elizabeth’s mother, Linda passed away in 2005 from cancer, never knowing who had abducted and murdered her daughter. The whereabouts of her father, David, brother Scott, or sister Sherry Lee is unknown.

However, according to the comments on Memories of Dallas (linked in references) Sherry Lee is currently estranged from her step father and brother. David Barclay, reportedly told her in the 90’s that the person responsible for his daughter’s murder, was in jail.

Contact

Crimestoppers – 1-800-252-TIPS (8477)

Texas Rangers Website – https://dps.texas.gov/section/texas-rangers

Texas Rangers – 1-800-346-3242

References

The Criminal Journal – Elizabeth Barclay, The Unsolved Murder of a 7-Year-Old Girl

DPS Texas -Cold Case: DPS Seeks Information in 1979 Slaying of Dallas Child

Gone Cold Podcast: Elizabeth Barclay and the Dallas Child Murders

KHOU – Seven Year Old Elizabeth Barclay was Abducted and Killed in 1979

KSAT.com – Public Safety: Asking for Public’s Help in Solving 1979 Homicide of 7-Year-Old Girl

Memories of Dallas – After Elizabeth Barclay

Mi Trust – The Top 4 Texas Cold Cases Dating Back to 1968 (Elizabeth’s case starts at 3 minutes and 28 seconds)

News 4 San Antonio – DPS Still Looking for Leads in 1979 Case for Slain 7-Year-Old

Reddit.com: Unsolved Mysteries: Seven Year Old Elizabeth Barclay 

SM Corridor News – Rangers Seek Information in 1979 Slaying of 7-Year-Old Elizabeth Lynne Barclay

True Crime Narrator – Elizabeth Barclay

Websleuths – Elizabeth Lynne Barclay

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