California Double Rape, Murder Suspect Arrested In Creek County
CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Northern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force arrested a man in Creek County Tuesday in connection with the 1973 rape and murder of two teens in California.
The task force identified the man as Larry Don Patterson. He was found living in Oakhurst, Oklahoma - a small town on the edge of Creek County.
U.S. Marshal Dustin Ramsey said, "It was very secluded, kind of west of Oakhurst - very brushy, lots of structures that were way back in the woods."
California law enforcement believes the girls, identified as Valarie Janice Lane, 12, and Doris Karen Derryberry, 13, were driven to some woods near Marysville, which is north of Sacramento where they were shot at close range by a shotgun.
According to the Yuba County Sheriff's Department, the girls' mothers reported them missing November 12, 1973.
The two girls were described as the best of friends and were together the day before when they left Doris' Olivehurst home around noon on Sunday, November 11 to go shopping in Linda, California.
A news release says the girls were spotted several times that afternoon, including a last sighting on Olivehurst Avenue near 7th Avenue between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m.
Hours after the girls were reported missing, the Yuba County Sheriff's Department responded to two bodies found near a dirt road near Camp Far West Lake, the release says.
The bodies were identified as Lane and Derryberry.
It’s a huge case for the U.S. Marshals the Yuba County Sheriff's Department in California; at one point it was thought to be linked to the Zodiac killer, even Ted Bundy.
The case remained unsolved for decades, then, in March 2014, investigators reviewed the case to find new evidence using new technology and techniques.
In December 2014, testing of evidence revealed DNA that was matched and identified as suspects Patterson and William Lloyd Harbour.
The release says the case was reopened and after over a year Yuba County detectives presented the case which led to warrants for Patterson and Harbour.
Patterson was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Creek County jail. Harbour was also arrested Tuesday at a traffic stop on Rupert Avenue and Edgewater Circle in Linda, California.
Now, more than 40 years later, the sheriff's department finally has news to tell the two families.
"I'm sure the family will be very happy that there's some closure, you know, and that they have suspects now that they never had before," Ramsey said.
Investigators say Patterson hasn't been here very long, just since 2015, and has no connections to any businesses. Before coming to Tulsa, Patterson lived in Texas.
The U.S. Marshals said Patterson will be taken back to California in the next few days.