Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Investigators are trying to generate new leads in the cold case of a teenage girl murdered 13 years ago.
Dena Dean's family wonders if she would've graduated from college like she planned or gotten married and had children, but they will never know because her future was cut short when she was just 16 years old.
Dean was a beautiful baby girl when she was born and the light of her parents' life. She grew up in loving home and went on to Webster High School, where she played in the band and volunteered.
But on June 6th, 1998, she went missing from Tulsa's Town West Shopping Center, not far from where she grew up. Her body was found six days later and her killer has yet to be found.
"There's days I think it will never be resolved, but it makes me want to fight for it that much harder," Diana Dean, Dena's mother, said.
On Monday, the 13th anniversary of Dena's murder, her father fired up the grill to fix a feast for the family and friends who will drop by to pay their respects. He's thankful for every day he had with his daughter, but heartbroken by the days he's missed.
Larry and Diana wish by next year, they'd have word of an arrest.
"I would love for my next get together to be a party of triumph. We won. We fought and we won. That' what we would love to have," Diana said.
To try to make that dream come true, the Tulsa County Sheriff's office has set up a mobile command post on Southwest Boulevard to take tips from anyone who might know anything that could finally help them close this case.
"Loyalties change, people don't stick together like they once did. As they get older, their emotions change. They have family and friends and it gets harder to keep those secrets," Sergeant Shannon Clark, with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, said.
The Dean family has long believed they know who the suspect is, but there's never been enough evidence to arrest him. He's now a grown man with children of his own, while their daughter will forever be 16.
They are her last chance for peace.
"We are her only voice. No one is going to fight for her. I have to fight for her rights to bring her murder and her murderer to justice," Diana said.