Working to solve a 24 year old murder case

Thursday, September 4th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Private investigators from Kansas City came to Tulsa Thursday, to search for evidence in a 24 year old unsolved murder.

Tulsa Police's Cold Case Squad and the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office are trying to help crack the case of a young woman from Bartlesville who was murdered in a Kansas City hotel in 1978. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright went along on the search.

Several Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies are helping two private eyes from Kansas City look for evidence. Deputy: "We're going to look for bullet fragments near the tree stump." They hope that bullet fragment will help solve the murder of Louise Vilott; she was only 29 years old and the first woman to become an attorney for Phillips 66 in Bartlesville. She'd gone to Kansas City on business in October of 1978 and stayed at the Plaza, where someone shot her in the head.

Investigator Vernon Wilson, "homicide are never closed unless they're cleared. And, the family still cares. This woman has an 85 year old mom and we'd like to see closure for her." The deputies mark each hit on the metal detector with orange cones, then later dig in those spots for evidence. Investigators learned from someone who may have used to own the murder weapon, that they target practiced here on a tree.

If they can find the slug or shell casing and compare it to what was found at the murder in Kansas City, they might have a match. For a moment, hopes were high as deputies uncovered a shell casing in the mud, but it turned out to be from too big a gun. Deputy: "SKS round.”

There are other things that tie this murder to Tulsa, possible suspects live here and investigators are interviewing people who have information after all these years. Wilson, "the majority of people have talked to us. Some won't talk and some are not telling us the truth. We may have to go around to the backdoor and get the truth out of them."

Many theories surround this case, some involve Vilott's marriage, others, her corporate work. The investigators say they're not only close to getting answers, but possibly getting justice.

The private eyes say they've turned up some evidence they plan to have tested. They'll also return to Tulsa on Monday to interview more people.