AMU Law Enforcement Original Public Safety

Why Debbie Williamson’s Murder Remains Unsolved – Part II

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(This is the second in a series of articles reviewing and analyzing the facts and evidence related to the death of Debbie Williamson. Read the first article.)

Debbie Williamson was just 18 years old when she was stabbed to death outside the back door of her residence in Lubbock, Texas, on August 24, 1975. She was a newlywed at the time of her death and, as part of my investigation into her case, I wanted to connect with her widowed husband, Doug Williamson. He graciously accepted George Jared’s and my request to meet with him and provide us with additional insight into Debbie’s habits, personality, and the crime itself.

Doug recounted that he and Debbie met while working together at a McDonald’s in 1973. They began dating soon afterward and were married the next year on June 14. They had a small ceremony at a local church, attended by some close friends and family.  They had been married just 10 weeks when Debbie was murdered.

Debbie Williamson with husband Doug
Debbie and Doug Williamson on their wedding day. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bucholtz and Doug Williamson.

At the time of their marriage, Doug had moved on to a managerial position at another restaurant, the Pizza Inn. Debbie had quit her job at McDonald’s a few weeks before their wedding. Debbie sometimes went to the Pizza Inn to hang out with Doug and work on word search puzzles, one of her hobbies.

It was typical for Debbie to leave the kitchen light on when she left the house, because it provided additional illumination of the backyard area between the door and the carport where they parked their vehicles. Furthermore, she always turned on the outside porch light when leaving during the hours of darkness. Doug said he does not believe she would have exited the door without that outdoor light being on.

Doug recalled that Debbie was outgoing, personable and hard-working. He had no recollection of her ever owing anyone money, and she was not a drug user. She spent nearly all of her free time with Doug; therefore, he does not believe she was seeing any other men. He is stumped as to why someone targeted his wife.

The Hours before the Murder

On the Sunday of Debbie’s death, Doug was scheduled for the evening shift at his place of employment. Debbie slept in until the early afternoon and later went to dinner with her parents and younger sister at the Pizza Inn where Doug was working.

They ate dinner and left around 8:15 p.m. By the time they left the Pizza Inn, Debbie had already made plans to return to the restaurant later that evening to help Doug with the weekly inventory.

Debbie’s parents dropped her at home at approximately 8:30. It was the last time they saw their daughter alive. Debbie planned to shower, change clothes and then drive to the Pizza Inn around 9:30.

Debbie did not show up to the restaurant as planned. Doug quickly became concerned but could not leave because of a late evening rush of customers and only one other employee on shift. He tried multiple times to call her on their house phone but never received an answer.

After the restaurant closed at midnight, Doug called Debbie’s parents and woke them up, asking if she was at their house. They told him she was not. With all the restaurant customers gone, Doug was finally able to make the short drive to their home to check on her.  

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Additional Crime Scene Details

When Doug arrived home, he was immediately alarmed to see that the screen on the kitchen window was out of place, illuminated by the inside light over the kitchen sink. As Doug made his way towards the back door, he noticed the kitchen window was broken and the back door was standing open. Upon nearing the back step, he subsequently discovered Debbie’s body lying on the brick patio in a pool of blood.

In a panic and not knowing whether Debbie’s attacker was still on the property, Doug fled back to the Pizza Inn at which time he called police. Reportedly, that call was logged at 1:14 a.m. and police arrived at the residence four minutes later to begin their investigation.

After alerting the police, Doug called Debbie’s parents to inform them that she had been attacked and then returned home. He remained outside with police officers and says he has little memory of the rest of the events that night.

The Williamsons’ backyard was surrounded by an approximately six-foot-high wooden fence that had one gate. A graveled alley ran along the south side of the property but was rarely used by local residents. People who mistakenly made a turn onto 82nd Street often used their driveway to turn around.

There was a flower bed to the east of the back door, near where Debbie’s body was discovered. Doug stated in our interview that he had heard police say they spotted shoe impressions in the dirt of the flower bed, but he could not provide detailed confirmation of that report.

He also heard that, at the autopsy, Debbie’s fingernails were clipped and scrapings were taken for analysis of forensic evidence. At least two bricks from his backyard patio with blood on them were collected as evidence.

The police have never provided Doug with the results of the analysis of these pieces of evidence. In fact, police have not contacted Doug for any reason in more than 40 years.

Doug was eventually ruled out as a suspect. His coworker confirmed he did not leave the restaurant on that Sunday night. Additionally, he was fully cooperative with police and had passed two polygraph exams.

Doug has spent decades pondering the circumstances surrounding the murder of his wife and has come to several conclusions about her killer. His insight and thoughts will be discussed in a later article in this series.

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What Can Be Determined about Debbie’s Killer?

Subsequent articles in this series will include an analysis of the known facts and evidence in Debbie’s murder with the intent of identifying clues about her killer. Readers who wish to follow future progress on the 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 806-775-2865.

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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