FBI Jackson
Public Affairs Specialist Brett Carr
(601) 948-5000
April 5, 2016

FBI, Pascagoula Police Re-Examine Three Cold Case Homicides

FBI and Pascagoula Police are taking a closer look at three separate cold cases from the mid-to-late 1970s. Investigators recently developed new information they think now links unsolved homicides in the Pascagoula area during that timeframe.

From 1975 through 1979, three Pascagoula-area women were murdered. Janie Sanders was killed in 1975, Debra Gunter was murdered in 1978, and Clara Turk was killed in 1979.

Janie Sanders, killed in 1975 Debra Gunter, killed in 1978
Clara Turk, killed in 1979

Police also believe a blue, mid-to-late 1970s model Chevrolet El Camino seen in the area
may be related to these murders.

Janie Sanders was abducted by a man while walking home from school near the corner of Louise and Lanier Streets. Debra Gunter was taken while she was at work at a local convenience store, and Clara Turk was taken on a street not far from the Sanders crime scene.

Sanders’ body was dumped in a wooded area near the intersection of Grand Bay-Wilmer Road and Airport Boulevard in Mobile County. The teenager was abducted about 3:30 in the afternoon, and, within an hour, she was found deceased.

Last week, FBI agents and Padcagoula Police detectives began distributing seeking information posters in Jackson County. Detectives are looking for information regarding a blue, 1970s model Chevrolet El-Camino that was seen in the area during the time of one of the murders. Investigators urge anyone with any piece of information about the car or the cases to contact the Pascagoula Police Department at (228) 372-6995.

“The FBI assists state and local agencies by bringing investigative tools, expertise, and resources to these type of investigations,” said Donald Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi.

One such way is through its Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) consists of a database and web-based tool available to law enforcement agencies to connect homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and unidentified human remains that may be geographically dispersed, allowing police departments to better coordinate communication and investigative efforts on potentially linked crimes.

The FBI maintains the database and analysts assist investigators with case linkages and other analysis. More than 5,000 law enforcement agencies have participated in ViCAP since its creation in 1985, contributing more than 85,000 cases to the system.