Investigators search for answers in 11-year-old killing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

here are six overstuffed green file folders on Elizabeth Louise Donald in the cold case investigator’s office.

Six is a high number, Maj. Jody Waldrop said. One would think six means a killer is behind bars.

But numerous interviews, lots of possible suspects and a fair idea of what Donald was doing hours before her murder only make the case more complicated and the jail cell continue to be empty, Waldrop said.

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Without the daily duty of an oil man checking his wells, Donald’s body might have gone undiscovered until long after the Christmas trees came down. But as it was, the oil man stumbled upon Donald’s half-naked body near Carthage Point Road before his Christmas Day really got started.

Donald, 28, was found at 7:28 a.m. Dec. 25, 1994, shot in the head and in the stomach on the side of a dirt road surrounded by farmland and oil wells. The road, not far off Carthage Point, doesn’t appear on the Adams County map.

The body went unidentified for several days before Donald’s aunt called to report her missing and a positive ID was made.

An autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was shotgun wounds and evidence found at the scene indicated that Donald was shot where she was found, Waldrop said.

Donald was last seen the night before on the 900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Street, a known drug area at the time. Reports in 1994 after the incident said Donald was involved in a drug lifestyle and had a history of drug arrests dating to 1988.

&uot;Witnesses reported seeing her getting into several vehicles that night,&uot; Waldrop said. &uot;Several different theories developed as to why she was killed.&uot;

Though Waldrop didn’t want to reveal the theories while the investigation is ongoing, he said her location in the hours before she was killed led authorities to many potential suspects.

Interviews with many people &045; those who saw Donald on Christmas Eve &045; have filled investigators’ six folders, but didn’t lead to an arrest.

In recent months the cold case investigators have sifted through the old files and started making contacts again. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations Cold Case Task Force has assisted using modern investigating techniques to organize the known facts.

Investigators have talked with family still living in the area and both parties are hopeful closure will come soon.

&uot;They say time heals all wounds, but it’s taking a toll on me,&uot; Donald’s aunt Mary Ann Patterson said Tuesday night. &uot;I have flashbacks, I can be working and she’ll come across my mind. It hurts; I really need some closure.&uot;

Patterson said she’s spent a lot of time thinking about what her niece did that would lead someone to kill her.

&uot;Louise was a very loving person, very kind,&uot; Patterson said. &uot;Everybody that knew her loved her.&uot;

Donald’s three children, now nearing their 20s, and several aunts and uncles still live in Natchez. Her mother died in August.

Waldrop said he suspected the murderer was from the area, but could have moved around since then.

&uot;There are people in Natchez that have knowledge of this case that we need to come forward,&uot; Waldrop said.

&uot;They could solve it for us. Too many people were present in that area she was last seen for someone not to know the ID of the killer.&uot;

Anyone with any information that may assist the investigation can call the sheriff’s office at 601-442-2752 or Crime Stoppers at 601-442-5000.