AMU Law Enforcement Original Public Safety

On-the-Ground Research: Debbie Williamson’s Murder (Part IV)

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By Jennifer Bucholtz
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice and Forensic Science 

This is the fourth article in a series of articles reviewing and analyzing the facts and evidence related to the murder of Debbie Williamson. Learn about the facts of the case in the first article. Read up on additional information provided by Debbie’s widowed husband in the second article. Learn more about Debbie’s injuries by reading an analysis of her autopsy report in the third article.

Deborah “Debbie” Williamson was brutally murdered outside the back of her home in Lubbock, Texas, on August 24, 1975. The medical examiner on the case later determined that Debbie had been stabbed 17 times, and she died from an extraordinary amount of blood in her lungs and a cut to her heart’s right atrium.

Investigative journalist George Jared and I met Debbie’s sisters, Liz Flatt and Paula Chasse, after presenting the case of Rebekah Gould at CrimeCon 2021. We’ve spent countless hours over the past months working with them to uncover new clues and information about Debbie’s killer. Coinciding with the anniversary of Debbie’s murder, we all decided to travel to Lubbock to continue our investigation.

Collecting Additional Information on Debbie’s Unsolved Murder

George and I had several specific goals we hoped to achieve during our week in Lubbock. First and foremost, we hoped to obtain an update from the Lubbock Police Department – which has jurisdiction over the case – on the status of their investigation. We also wanted to determine whether evidence that had been collected in 1975 was still preserved and viable for re-testing.

In addition, we made plans to visit the residence where Debbie was killed on the night of August 24 and hoped to interview several people who knew Debbie prior to her murder and might have critical information to report. Furthermore, we reached out to several local media outlets to gauge their interest in writing or producing a news segment on the renewed effort to solve Debbie’s case.

Plans were also made to record some audio segments with Liz and Paula for use on future podcast episodes. Finally, we planned to visit Debbie at her resting place.

Through the week, George and I accomplished many of the tasks we set out to achieve. Two detectives from the Lubbock Police Department agreed to meet with Liz and Paula. Two appointments were scheduled, and I attended the second meeting with them.

Much of the content of those conversations is confidential at this time. However, detectives agreed to take another look at Debbie’s case and evaluate any tips and new information we provide them in the future.

The Lubbock Police Department also identified a specific point of contact within the department to whom all information will be reported. Police representatives confirmed some (and possibly all) of the evidence collected at the crime scene is still preserved and stated they will consider options to re-test it.

Although the local newspaper did not return our phone calls or emails, one of the Lubbock news stations, KCBD, was immediately interested in our renewed efforts on Debbie’s case. We spent the better part of an afternoon meeting with KCBD reporter Blair Sabol, who produced a news segment that aired on August 25. Sabol reported on our re-investigation of the case in conjunction with Debbie’s family members, as well as offering a call to action for viewers to join our Facebook group and assist in our effort.

Recording a Podcast about Debbie’s Case

We took some time the next afternoon to sit down in our hotel’s conference room and set up our podcast recording equipment. George and I spoke with Liz and Paula about their memories of Debbie, recollections of events around the time of her murder, thoughts on the handling of the case over the years by police, and expectations for our current effort to achieve justice. These conversations will be released on future episodes of George’s podcast Diamond State: Murder Board and a new podcast currently in production by AMU.

Debbie Williamson
Investigative reporter George Jared interviews Debbie Williamson’s sisters about her case.

On the anniversary of Debbie’s murder, we visited her gravesite at a cemetery in the Lubbock area. Liz and Paula polished her headstone, trimmed the surrounding grass and refreshed the flowers. We said a prayer and made a promise that we would exhaust every possible resource and lead in order to achieve some resolution for Debbie and her family.

The Value of On-the-Ground Research

Attending the scene of a homicide is invaluable to investigators. Although photographs, videos and satellite imagery provide a great deal of insight, these visual aids do not compare to experiencing a crime scene firsthand. When one is on site at a crime scene, it’s possible to utilize all of the senses; sometimes a smell or sound may provide a critical clue about a crime.

Meeting people in person inevitably provides a more valuable communication method than simply speaking on the phone. An in-person meeting allows a better evaluation of someone’s non-verbal behavior and better gauge their true feelings. Conversations are also helpful in building rapport and gaining people’s interest in assisting with an investigation.

Uncovering New Revelations about Debbie’s Crime Scene

My next article will provide more details of the many discoveries we made while examining the crime scene where Debbie was killed, both during the day and at night. I strongly believe this information can provide crucial clues about Debbie’s killer and how the crime was committed.

Readers who wish to follow the future progress on Debbie’s case are encouraged to join the Facebook group dedicated to getting justice for her, Unsolved Murder of Deborah Sue Williamson (Deborah Agnew). The administrators of the group will continue to post updates and topics for discussion. Anyone who has information about Debbie’s murder is asked to please report tips to the Lubbock Police Department at 806-775-1425 or 806-300-6490.

Read the next article in this series.

Jennifer Bucholtz is a former U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent and a decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice, a master of arts in criminal justice and a master of science in forensic sciences. Bucholtz has an extensive background in U.S. military and Department of Defense counterintelligence operations. While on active duty, she served as the Special Agent in Charge for her unit in South Korea and Assistant Special Agent in Charge at stateside duty stations. Bucholtz has also worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. She is currently an adjunct faculty member and teaches courses in criminal justice and forensic sciences. Additionally, she is an instructor for the Department of State’s Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance and a licensed private investigator in Colorado. You can contact her at Jennifer.Bucholtz@mycampus.apus.edu.

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