Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart has reopened a murder case that is nearly 35 years old.
Sandra Carter Davis, 35, was last seen on June 2, 1978, Lockhart said Her body was found on Nov. 23, 1978 — Thanksgiving Day — in a shallow grave in a field south of Wild Horse Mountain and west of U.S. Highway 59, in the Sadie area, Lockhart said.
Her skeletal remains were first sent to Dr. William Wilson, Sequoyah County Medical Examiner, it was reported in the Nov. 26, 1978, edition of Your TIMES. Wilson said Davis’ skeletal remains could not be identified, and the body had probably been in the grave for about six months.
Lockhart said according to the case file obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Davis was last seen leaving an establishment known as Ray’s Bar on June 2, 1978. He said Ray’s Bar was in the downtown Sallisaw area. The victim and her parents, Edith Carter and Elmer Carter, were from Sallisaw. Her remains were found by deer hunters in the corner of the open field.
Your TIMES reported the grave was between eight and 10 inches deep, and the man who leased the land had noticed the disturbed dirt in June, but believed someone may have planted marijuana. Fall rains, it was reported, caused the grave to collapse enough to leave a distinct impression.
The two hunters began to dig up the area, but when they discovered bones they quit digging and called authorities, Deputy Burton Cheek told Your TIMES. Cheek said the dirt was carefully removed from the grave by authorities who brought the remains to Agent Funeral Home in Sallisaw.
Cheek said a blouse and brassier were still intact on the body, but pants and underpants had been placed neatly beneath the body. Cheek said there were slits and discoloration in the blouse that may have indicated knife wounds.
Your TIMES reported on Nov. 30, 1978, that the state medical examiner had identified the body as Ms. Davis.
Lockhart said Monday that he had recently requested all cold cases from Sequoyah County from the OSBI. In March Lockhart’s cold case investigations led to the arrest of Rex Robbins, 38, in the 1997 death of Mitchell Nixon, 28. Nixon’s body was found Oct. 9, 1987, on Tower Estates Road. Robbins faces a first-degree murder charge.
Lockhart continues to pursue cold cases, and said he had asked the OSBI for all the cold case files from Sequoyah County, but Ms. Davis’ case was not among them.
“I received an email from a girl in Houston,” Lockhart said Monday. “She wanted to know if we would look at her mother’s case.”
The girl is Kristi Soileau, Ms. Davis’ daughter. In her email Soileau told Lockhart that she was an infant when her mother died.
In an email to Your TIMES Tuesday, Soileau wrote, “Some of my sisters and I feel like we were robbed of the opportunity to get to know our mother. I think it would bring all of us peace if justice was served. It’s been 35 years. It’s been long enough.”
Lockhart contacted the OSBI again, and Ms. Davis’ file was found in the Tulsa OSBI office. It was delivered to Lockhart about three weeks ago.
“We found some very interesting information in that file,” Lockhart said. “I read the case file and noticed some particulars that stood out and needed to be followed up.”
Several people were interviewed in 1978, after the discovery of the body, Lockhart said, but no arrests were made.
“If you have any information about this unsolved homicide please call the sheriff’s department,” Lockhart asked.
The telephone number is (918) 775-1214.
Lockhart has been working these cold murder cases since he took office more than four years ago.