The Killing of Gayle Barrus: How Mom of 3's Son Played Part in Police Solving the 1988 Cold Case Slaying
The 1988 Michigan cold case murder of Gayle Barrus who disappeared in 1988 has finall has finally been solved thanks to a blood sample –– but police will not be filing charges because the suspect is already dead.
The 1988 Michigan cold case murder of Gayle Barrus has finally been solved thanks to a blood sample –– but police will not be filing charges because the suspect is already dead.
Barrus, a mother of three, disappeared on Oct. 9, 1988, while living in Battle Creek. Investigators searched for her for 16 days until she was found along River Road with markings of sexual abuse and stab wounds, Wood TV reported.
Evidence indicates that Barrus was raped and murdered by Roger Plato, a 24-year-old man who was killed by police during a shootout, just three days before cops found Barrus' body. Plato was a suspect for a separate rape case and when he fled authorities, they opened fire, killing him on the spot.
Now, 30 years later, Battle Creek Homicide detectives linked evidence found on Barrus to Plato's DNA.
“Right now I’m just still trying to catch my breath and exhale at the same time," the victim's son James Barrus, who was only 13 at the time his mother was killed, told Fox 17.
Barrus went to the department, prepared with his own research, and inquired about where detectives stood on his mother's case, Det. Scott Marshall told Inside Edition Digital.
"When he came in, we looked at what direction we could take this," Det. Marshall told Inside Edition Digital. "And we quickly moved onto Gayle's case." Marshall said the department currently has over 60 open cold cases that date back to the 1960s.
Barrus recounted the day his mother went missing, recalling spending the day "sitting around waiting and hoping that she’ll turn up," he told the outlet. “It was unlike her to do that, so, we just hoped for the best but obviously it didn’t work out that way," he told Fox News.
He continued, “I think if somebody was around today, now we’ve got to endure a trial, which then creates a lot of other issues and then we potentially don’t get a conviction and then what? Even with a DNA match because there’s so much time has elapsed, eyewitnesses, have either passed away or they can’t be relied upon for their statements 32 years later so I’m kinda glad it wound up the way it is."
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