KILLEEN, Texas (KWKT/KYLE) – “Somebody out there knows what happened,” said Killeen Homicide Detective Fred Harris.
April 30th, 1997, almost 20 years ago was a day like any other in a Killeen neighborhood.
Danydia Betty Jacqueline Thompson was walking the same 4 blocks from her home to Malboro Elementary School like she did every morning.
Except on this day, she never made it to class.
“Everyone felt this was Killeen’s daughter, everyone was out there looking for her.”
Seven days later, Danydia’s body was found lifeless on Highway 195 South of Killeen near the Lampasas River.
At the time of the murder, Police had a person of interest, but never found the man for an interview.
“It’s difficult at times because this case is almost 20 years old, and I have other murder cases on my desk and those obviously take priority, but this is a case where it’s worth it to come in on my days off.”
Danydia was last seen walking to the school, which has since been renamed, with her two cousins and brother.
Somehow the four of them separated.
Police say witnesses have different accounts, some people saw her get to the school, others did not, however, they all agree on one thing.
A man talked to Danydia and left with her on his back.
Witnesses say the suspect, a black male in his twenties, back in 1997, around 5’10, 150 pounds seemed to know the victim.
The man was wearing a black waist-length jacket, black baggy jeans, and tennis according to a Killeen Press Release back in 1997.
Witnesses did not recognize the man, however, Harris says the 7-year-old was not known to speak to people she didn’t know.
But despite zero solid suspects or motives, police say this cold case might be burning up very soon.
After a $3,000 cash reward by the State of Texas, plus an extra $4,000 cash reward from KPD, detectives hope someone might start talking.
“We just hope it’ll encourage people and provide any information helping to this cold case,” said Ofelia Miramontez, of Killeen Crime Stoppers.
Harris is now the 4th lead detective to take on the Thompson case and says no matter how long it takes, Danydia’s case will be solved.
“Yes, it gets frustrating and you have bumps in the road but you do it for her and you just keep digging, you leave no stone unturned. This department has not given up.”
Harris has a picture of Danydia above his desk to remind him hope is not lost.
As for the killer…
“We’ll talk soon, i’ll be knocking on your door soon,” said Harris.
Danydia would have turned 27 years old this March.
If you have any information about this cold case, call 254-526-TIPS or visit http://bellcountycrimestoppers.com/.