The Main Stream

May 29, 2012 1:57 AM

Crime Trackers: You could help solve a 31-year-old cold case

TUCSON - On tonight's Crime Trackers, News 4 Tucson's Lupita Murillo reported on a 31-year-old cold case that you could help solve.

Pima County Sheriff's Investigators say two young girls hitched a ride with a stranger in December of 1980. Detectives say he took them to desert, asked them to take off their clothes, and to get into the trunk of the car. Twenty-year-old Karen Bishop was shot, and 17-year-old Fern Baker escaped.

Detectives say both had consensual sex with the man and were paid. It was later determined that the two were prostitutes.

Sheriff's Detective Kurt Dabb says, "I think it was a sexually motivated crime - one based on power. He paid for sex."

Investigators say the girls wanted to go to a motel, the man insisted going to the desert near I-10 and Wilmot. After they had sex, he asked for his money back and held them at gunpoint. Det. Dabb says the girls complied, but instead of climbing into the late model Ford Fairlane, the girls ran through the desert.

"Karen was the first to take off, and Fern was following behind her, at which point in time she heard approximately 3 gunshots and saw her friend Karen get shot in the back," Det. Dabb says.

Baker ran through the desert and eventually made it to the highway where she got help. When deputies arrived, they didn't find Bishop's body - they found foot prints and blood marks. They also located a used condom and got a DNA profile, but they still haven't identified the suspect.

"It could be he's deceased or he has never been arrested and continued doing this and he got smarter, didn't leave any DNA behind," Det. Dabb says.

Karen Bishop's body wasn't found until a year later. It had been buried in the desert. The detective believes the suspect had done this before, so he might still be out there.

The surviving victim told investigators the man was white, in his 30s or 40s, and wore western clothes. He had acne marks on his face, and had broken teeth. He spoke with a southern drawl and listened to country music.

If you have information call 88-CRIME.

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