The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on September 24, 1994 · Page 6
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 6

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Saturday, September 24, 1994
Page 6
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A6 THE NEWS JOURNAL SATURDAY, SEPT. 24. 1994 sterys Police seek leads TV looks into Del. slaying ill 1992 mUrder OI Elva PoOre Unsolved Mysteries' to air My j FROM PAGE A1 1 jn the bank that Wednesday af-' ternoon, and a wave of fear washed over her. She knew something terrible had happened to Elva. ,'; She stared at the detectives, trying to read the expressions on their faces. No clue. So she spoke, three words: "Is she dead?" The news wasn't good. A girl's body had been found along U.S. 13 near Odessa, Del., and someone .would have to identify her. Janice eventually reached her husband, who works on a horse-breeding farm, and their son Bobby, Elva's brother, then 23. They were taken to the Medical !Examiner'8 Office in Wilmington. There, they were led to a ster-iile-looking room, where the body .;of a petite young woman lay on a ;teel gurney. Her collar-length, Tight-brown hair was wet and combed straight back from her ashen face. Her body was draped Jn a white sheet drawn up tight Hjnder her chin. Although the iPoores had been told the young (woman's face was unmarked, it was bruised and blackened, t, Through their shock, anger and !jrief, the Poores told the detectives what everyone in the room ,.'had suspected. It was Elva. . J Thirty missing hours i. J The investigation into the death of Elva Jean Poore began 'even before her family was brought to the morgue. State police started to work almost as J soon as two truck drivers spotted her body at 8 a.m., June 17, 1992 !' about the same time Janice Poore was on her way to work. iThey flagged down a passing police officer about to start his own workday at Troop 9 in Odessa. !' Elva's body was lying just be-'yond the guard-ail off the north-ibound lanes of U.S. 13, between ', Odessa and the Drawyer Creek bridge. Detectives soon learned that ;Elva had gone to Ocean City, not with a girlfriend, but with four ! young men from Chesapeake City. ;Her parents believe she never planned to stay with the four, ;who were older than Elva, but ;just wanted a ride to meet up I; with other friends at the beach. J The five young people apparently stopped to do some fishing, .'then arrived in Ocean City Mon-' day morning, June 15, said Detective Sgt. Michael Fontello, who , has been working on the case ' since April 1994. Two other detec-I tives preceded him. - By late Monday night, two of .the men had apparently left for !; Chesapeake City and Elva had argued with another person at the Admiral Motel at Ninth Street ;and Baltimore Avenue. I She left the motel and was seen I walking along the boardwalk ! about 2 a.m. Tuesday, June 16. !She had no money and nowhere J; to stay, but several friends from j. Chesapeake City had rooms in the i area. Someone suggested she stay with a friend at the nearby Ocean ;! Lodge motel at Eighth Street and Philadelphia Avenue. ' There was a party at the Ocean 'I Lodge, and Elva loved parties, but she never arrived, Fontello said. ! Sometime in the next 30 hours, i Elva was hit on the head and ,' strangled and her body dumped ,' along U.S. 13. An autopsy found faint marks on her wrists and an-kles, as if she had been held down for a time. i; There is no proof that she was ! raped, police say, although they i found semen on her clothing. ! But police have been unable to ! find anyone who will admit to ; seeing Elva in the 30 hours be-! tween when she was spotted on the boardwalk and when her body f was found. j! "We have no idea where she i was or who she met or where she ! was killed," Fontello said. "That's '. what puzzles us." Delaware Crime Stoppers Inc. offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to indictment in any Delaware crime. In the June 17, 1992, slaying of Elva Poore, a family friend has offered an additional $25,000 reward. Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers anonymously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (800) 847-3333 in Delaware or (302) 739-5927 out of state; or state police detectives at (302) 323-4411 or (302) 739-5939. j- -i nn i ti,U' ing to tire themselves out enough StJglllCIlL Ull yy MctUUlII to sleep tnat mgnt. ine mare is with another friend or a stranger on the boardwalk and went with him; that she started hitchhiking home and was picked up by the person who killed her. So far, after more than two years, none of the theories has been proved or disproved. Many of Elva's numerous friends and acquaintances who were in Ocean City that week have been questioned, but others have refused to talk. Some have taken lie detector tests or volun teered blood samples, while others have been less cooperative. A family friend has offered a $25,000 reward. Detectives have publicized the case on television WBOC out of Salisbury and first state News in Delaware. But Janice and Wayne Poore, their grief compounded by frustra tion, wonder if the detectives could have investigated more aggressively. They question why ev ery possible suspect wasn't forced to talk and give blood and hair samples immediately. Last December, one of the four men who accompanied Elva to Ocean City, Michael Bailey, was killed in a car crash. Now the Poores wonder what he might have known that will never come to light. "There's a cloud of suspicion over them," Wayne Poore said of the remaining three men. If I were them, I'd want to clear it up." Fontello agrees but notes that police are limited in what they can force people to do. He and the previous detectives have worked long hours on the case, he said, and have also been frustrated by the lack of progress. Even the extraordinarily large reward offer didn't generate any leads, he said. But after his most recent appearance on a television news show, he received a tip that might take the case in a different direction toward a stranger instead of a friend of Elva's. "These people her friends were the obvious ones, but maybe they weren't involved," he said. "Maybe we were looking in the wrong place all along." After two years, and with an ever-growing caseload of new homicides, Fontello acknowledges that the trail often seems cold. But he is adamant that it remains an active case, with leads he is still pursuing. "I have sleepless nights, too, but the main reason I would be extremely happy to solve this case is for them," Fontello said of Elva's parents. "They live for this. They can't get on with their lives." Searching for peaco Janice and Wayne Poore admit that they can't stop thinking or talking about what happened to their daughter. They both work all day, come home and tend to Elva's horse, Maid of Medal, hop- kept at a farm near their home south of Chesapeake City, and when they're with her, they feel a connection with their daughter. They attend a support group that gives them a chance to talk about their grief. But they still have trouble sleeping. And they still have nightmares in which they see a faceless, nameless person beating Elva with his fists. "It seems like, night after night, we go over it and rehash it," Janice Poore, 45, said. "We're just so angry." Wayne Poore, 48, tries to comfort himself as best he can. "We're lucky her body was found," he said. "She's not going to rest in peace, in my mind, until the murderer is found. . . . But at least I can visit her grave and talk to her." He believes his own mind will be "95 percent" at peace once his daughter's killer is behind bars. But his wife isn't so sure. "I want them caught. They should pay with their life," Janice Poore said firmly. "But I don't know if it will really help me feel better. Elva will never get married; we'll never have her grandchildren. She's gone forever." By TERRY SPENCER Staff reporter HARRINGTON The murder of Dorothy Donovan seems so solvable. Several witnesses saw the likely killer in the hour leading up to the 70-year-old's slaying the night of June 22, 1991. Her own son, in a tragic irony, gave the man believed to have stabbed her a ride to the area near her home. He left evidence inside the house and was last seen in Donovan's yard, minutes before state troopers arrived. But somehow, he got out of the area. And though investigators have what they feel is a dead-on drawing of the man, they have never found him. Leads have been exhausted, and investigators say there is a good chance the man was passing through and is now in another part of the country. So in a final effort, state police have turned to the television se- SUSPECT ries "Unsolved Mysteries," which is in Harrington this weekend taping a re-creation of her murder. The NBC series will broadcast the re-creation and the composite drawing sometime this fall in hopes someone, somewhere will recognize the killer. "We know this is the person," said Lt. Michael Warrington, the lead investigator in the case, referring to the drawing. "We just don't know his name. We have run the picture on local television and in newspapers and it hasn't worked. Maybe this will do it." Stacy Schneider, producer of the segmen' for Un- Anyone with information about the killing of Dorothy Donovan should call detectives at 697-2014. solved Mysteries, said Donovans murder was selected because show executives wanted to do a Delaware case and this seemed solvable, it given national exposure. Warrington said the case has one other hook that makes it perfect for television: "It's bizarre.' It begins when Charles Holden, Donovans then 40-year-old son, got off work and headed to the Hardee's drive-in at U.S. 13 and Delaware 14, about a mile from both his home and his mother's home, which were next door to each other on Kent 384. The mystery man had been in the restaurant for some time, asking people for a ride, several told police. He told Holden he needed a ride to Milford to see his sister who had just had a baby. Holden told him he could take him part way. A scuffle broke out when, Holden got to Kent 384 and told the man he would have to get out. Both got out of the truck. The man picked up a screwdriver and threatened Holden. A passer-by told police he saw the scuffle. Holden was able to get back in the truck and flee. So he wouldn't tip off the man to where he lived, Holden said, he drove around for a while. Warrington said the man was then seen walking in the area and apparently knocked on another door before finding Holden's mother's house, breaking in and stabbing her to death as she lay in bed. He believes the killer did not know Donovan was the mother of the man he just fought. It was a coincidence. Holden whom police say they know is not the killer saw him on the lawn when he returned and called police, who found the body. Investigators have no motive for the slaying. iiAMiys II irw all movies at mm.mmrhmf 4, ,s I M I TtEifr ftfttti hymrjrf fcttjsfs I 1 L,, ,,,, mJ w.wmmm 1 I , f - t" " I The beauty of natural emerald, ruby or sapphire with 4 scintillating diamonds set in lOKt. gold. YOUR CHOICE $(JC)95 Take your pick as a great gift idea. Choose from natural emeralds, rubies, or sapphires accented with 9 dazzling diamonds. lOKt. gold. YOUR CHOICE $ 19995 Diamond Earrings 110 carat t.w. Starting at just $89 1 P carat t.w. Starting at just $119 1 4 carat t.w. 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