21 Solved in ‘21 : Day 18 : Carla Walker
On February 17, 1974, Carla Walker was abducted from a parking lot in Fort Worth, Texas. She and her boyfriend had attended the Valentine’s dance at Western Hills High School before stopping at a local bowling alley to use the restroom. They sat in the parking lot a while before the passenger door was yanked open, and Carla was dragged out.
Her boyfriend, Rodney, was threatened with a gun before being knocked unconscious with the pistol. When he awoke, Carla was nowhere to be found, and her purse was on the ground.
3 days later, her body was discovered in a culvert in south Fort Worth. Early in the investigation, authorities questioned a man who had recently purchased a gun that matched a magazine found in the parking lot, and he also lived less than a mile from where Carla’s body had been left. He claimed his gun had been stolen, and a lack of any further evidence left police unable to arrest him.
In 2021, authorities sent Carla’s clothing to Othram Inc, where they tested for DNA. From there, the investigators ran the DNA profile through CODIS and private databases. While CODIS offered no results, a private database led authorities to 3 brothers. After discovering one of the 3 lived in close proximity at the time, they seized items from his trash before paying him a visit. This was the same man that was questioned 47 years ago. He submitted to a DNA test, which was a match.
At first, the suspect denied his guilt, but on August 24, 2021, he waived his right to a jury trial mid-trial, and changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Carla’s boyfriend Rodney lived almost 50 years under a cloud of suspicion. He spent several years avoiding close relationships with someone else for fear of losing them, and has suffered immense guilt for not being able to do more to save Carla.
Carla’s parents died before they received answers. Several siblings lived to see her killer imprisoned.
Carla Walker was described by family and friends as your typical “all-American girl next door.” She was an above-average student, participated in her school’s tennis club, and was described as having a bubbly personality.