Nine years after the murder of a 16-year-old girl, there are still no suspects. Dena Dean would've turned 25-years-old on Monday, had someone not killed her and dumped her body in West Tulsa. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright has covered this case since Dena went missing in 1998. She reports that even though it's been nine years since Dena was murdered, her parents haven't given up hope that the case will be solved.
A balloon, some flowers and a headstone near her Grandmother's are all that remain of Dena Dean. Her family visits her grave often; they will never forget the girl who will always be 16.
"We have no closure at all,â€ Denaâ€™s mother Diana Dean said. â€œIt's important to let people know it's not a solved case. As long as it's not solved, I'll keep her name out there."
Dena had gone to work at a West Tulsa Arbyâ€™s on June 6, 1998. She paged her mom and told her she was going to meet a young man she'd been seeing at a nearby grocery store.
"The last thing I said to her was be careful, I love you. She responded, I love you too mom. That's the last conversation I had with her," said Dean.
Dena had told the young man she was pregnant, even though she wasn't. Her car was found at the store with her wallet still inside, but she was missing. A massive search began with friends and investigators handing out flyers and scouring the area, but she wasn't found until six days later and by then, it was too late. Her body was found behind a shopping center and even though the coroner can't say how she died, it was ruled a homicide.
â€œI think there was more than one person, and I want everybody who was involved in her homicide,â€ Dean said.
Dena had played the clarinet in the Webster High School band and had big dreams for her future.
â€œI think about it a lot,â€ said Dean. â€œShe wanted to go to college. She hadn't decided if she wanted to be a teacher or a corporate attorney, those were the two lines she was considering, but she did want to go to college and better herself."
The young man Dena was with the night she disappeared has been questioned. Some people close to him refused to talk to investigators until they were taken before a multi-county grand jury where they were forced to give statements.
The Sheriff's office works leads in the case; there's just not much physical evidence to tie to a suspect. What they need is information; anyone finally ready to talk can call the Sheriffâ€™s office at 918-596-5601.