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Delaware County Cold Case Unit to look at 15 unsolved homicides or missing persons cases

JAY, Okla. – The Delaware County Sheriff’s Department has several unsolved homicides and missing persons cases, one dating back to 1973.

“The families haven’t forgotten about their loved ones – and neither have I,” said Delaware County Sheriff James Beck.

Beck said he feels drawn to bring justice to the grieving families no matter how many years have passed.

During the last election, Beck campaigned on developing a “Cold Case Unit” comprised of retired and former law enforcement officers.

“We are looking to expand the program with volunteers who have a medical background, private investigators and depending on their background – regular citizens,” Beck said.

Beck said it wants to get the “Cold Case Unit” operational by the first of the year. 

“We want to solve these cases,” Beck said.  “Some of these cases are cold cases, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be solved.”

After so many years have passed, people start remembering events or situations about cases that at the time of the person’s disappearance or killing, they didn’t think were important, he said.

“All details are important,” Beck said.

All volunteers must pass a background check.  For an application please click the link.

https://delaware.okcounties.org/file/jobs/delawareapplication_030718_263.pdf

Beck said he has comprised a list of unsolved murder cases and missing people but acknowledges the list may be incomplete.

“If someone knows of a case not listed in the Cold Case Unit please contact the Delaware County Sheriff’s office,” Beck said. 

COLD CASES

Georgie Cannaday

Cannaday’s body was discovered wrapped up in a rug or blanket at her Zena home on June 18, 1973.

William Reed

Reed was last seen on Dec. 9, 1987, in the Colcord and West Siloam Springs area.  He used three different dates of birth — March 12, 1955; March 31, 1955; and March 21, 1956.

Johnnie Ball, 60

Ball was last seen on Sept. 27, 1988, in a green Dodge vehicle in the Twin Oaks and Siloam Springs, Ark., area. A search in 2005 tuned up parts of a shoe or boot and an empty brown billfold.  Ball was declared legally dead in 1996.

Doris Harris and Danny Oakley

The couple was found on Feb. 21, 1996, inside their mobile home in rural Delaware County near Afton. They had been shot to death, and the home had been set on fire.

Ron Faulkener and Denny Hunnicutt, Fairland, were taken into custody as material witnesses in connection to the slayings.

On the morning of the slayings, an intoxicated Hunnicutt was arrested in North Miami. He was driving Oakley’s car.

 An Oklahoma State Bureau investigation report about the Oakley/Harris slayings shows there was an unidentified fingerprint and four unidentified palm prints found inside Oakley’s car. Hunnicutt pled guilty to federal drug charges in 1997 and was sentenced to seven years. He died in 2006, according to published reports. 

Barbara Ann Johnson-Willard, 29, of Colcord

Johnson-Willard was reported missing on June 17, 1996. Days later, her red Mercury Cougar was found in a ravine on a farm in southern Delaware County.  Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents recovered skin tissue from the trunk of the vehicle and cigarette butts from the ashtray.

John Lee Weeks, of Gentry, Ark., was charged in Delaware County District Court with first-degree murder. Testimony showed the fingerprints and DNA found in the automobile matched Weeks.

Weeks and Johnson-Willard both worked at Simmons. Weeks’ last day of employment was June 14, 1996 — the last day Johnson-Willard worked. The case was dropped against Weeks after some of the victim’s family expressed doubt Weeks was the killer.  Weeks is serving a sentence in the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kan., on multiple offenses, including aggravated kidnapping, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.

Peggy A. Sweeten, 52, of Grove

Sweeten has been missing since Jan. 17, 1998.

James Sweeten filed for divorce on Feb. 9, 1998, three weeks after his wife’s disappearance. Peggy Sweeten did not appear in court for the proceedings and a divorce was granted on April 6, 1998, court records show.

James Lee Sweeten, a former Arma, Kanas school superintendent, refused to submit to a polygraph test, according to the search warrant.  He also “appeared to be deceptive and evasive” during the interview and was attempting to find out how far the investigation had progressed and what direction the investigation was headed, the search warrant stated.

Coffey County, Kan., court records show Debra Hammond’s divorce was granted on April 1, 1998. James Sweeten and Debra Hammond moved in together in June 1998 and were married in December 1998, the warrant states.

Misty Dawn Faulkner, 29, Eucha

Faulkner was last seen on January 14, 2011, in Eucha.

After work, Misty contacted her grandmother to tell her that she would go pick up groceries from a Walmart in Jay, Oklahoma before heading home. Her purse, cell phone and groceries were left in the vehicle that was still parked in her grandparents’ driveway. Authorities administered several lie detector tests on a few persons of interest but they have not released the findings from those tests.

Timur Mardeyev, 27, of Grove

Mardeyev was last seen on Nov. 29, 2011, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

According to published reports, Mardeyev left his Grove home alone traveling to Tulsa.

His car was parked in front of the Riverspirit Casino for an hour, then it left and was parked again at the Batman Convenience Store. On December 9, his car was towed from the convenience store parking lot where it had been abandoned.

Mardeyev’s keys were in the ignition and his GPS system and expensive sunglasses were inside the car, along with a bottle of Coke and an open bottle of whiskey. His Bible and some paperwork he was filling out for his visa were missing.

He was carrying his wallet, passport, and approximately $3,000 to $5,000 in cash at the time he went missing.

Mardeyev was born in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, which was then part of the Soviet Union. He was in the United States on a work visa in 2011 and lived with his sister and brother-in-law.

He was due to fly to Russia for Christmas but never made his flight.

Michael Shane Chapman

Chapman was last seen alive on January 27, 2013.  His boat was recovered near Sail Boat Bridge, but no body has been recovered.  

Dustin Ray Carver

Carver was last seen alive on March 03, 2014. The state Medical Examiner’s office has bones retrieved from a site in Oaks, but they have never identified them as belonging to Carver.

Thomas William Barkfelt

Barkfelt was last seen alive on  October 12, 2015.  On Oct. 24, 2015, the Oklahoma State Game Wardens towed Barkfelt’s vehicle from the Wildlife Management Area west and south of Eucha Lake Dam.

Christopher Teel, 33, of Jay

Teel was last seen around Jan. 1, 2017. He had been staying with his aunt for a few nights before he went missing, according to published reports.

Aubrey Dameron, 25, of Grove

Dameron, who is transgender, was last seen leaving the family’s home near Grove around 3:30 a.m. March 9, 2019. Several searches in the area have been unsuccessful.

Tyson Wright, 49, of Grove

Wright died on Jan. 29, 2021. His body was found in a vehicle engulfed by fire in the Zena area. No arrests have been made for his death.

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