In May 1987, the physique of a younger Teresa McAbee was present in a lake, sending the tiny metropolis of Mascotte, Florida, right into a state of shock. As the authorities labored in the direction of fixing the homicide, they realized that the proof pointed to considered one of their very own. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Killer in Question: The Girl in the Lake’ delves into Teresa’s homicide and the way largely circumstantial proof led to the conviction of a police officer. So, for those who’re questioning what occurred to Teresa, we’ve bought you lined.
How Did Teresa McAbee Die?
Teresa McAbee was born in July 1975. At the time of the incident, the 11-year-old was a fifth-grader at Mascotte Elementary School. At round 10 PM on May 11, 1987, Teresa left residence to stroll to a close-by comfort retailer as a result of she needed to purchase a pencil. However, she by no means returned. Teresa’s mom went to the shop at round 11 PM, and ultimately, she filed a lacking report.
The following day, a fisherman got here throughout the physique of a younger lady submerged face down in Knight Lake in Mascotte. It was Teresa. She was absolutely clothed, and the lake was lower than a mile from the comfort retailer the place she was final seen. The health worker confirmed that Teresa was sexually assaulted, then strangled and drowned. There was blood discovered on her underpants and semen on her denims. In addition, a single pubic hair was collected from Teresa’s panties.
Who Killed Teresa McAbee?
Investigation revealed that after shopping for a pencil, Teresa walked out of the shop with a 16-year-old boy. Then, she was approached by a police officer on patrol, James Duckett. He was a rookie and a part of the five-person power in Mascotte. This was across the time Teresa was final seen. Close to the place the physique was found, distinct tire marks led the police to their large break. These marks have been made by particular tires that have been solely on two Mascotte patrol automobiles.
The solely officer on patrol across the time of Teresa’s disappearance was the 29-year-old rookie. James said that he solely spoke with Teresa outdoors the shop and instructed her to go residence. The 16-year-old later testified that James approached him and Teresa whereas they have been speaking. Then, he put Teresa within the passenger’s seat of his patrol automotive. The clerk on the retailer had additionally said that James got here in to ask Teresa’s identify and age.
Furthermore, Teresa’s palm prints have been discovered on the hood of James’ automotive, as if she sat on it. But after James was arrested, he denied that Teresa sat on the hood of his automotive. While the proof towards James was circumstantial, the skilled testimony relating to the pubic hair modified that quickly after. Michael Malone, an FBI agent and an skilled in hair examination, testified that there was a excessive chance of the pubic hair belonging to James. There was additional testimony the place three youngsters said that James tried to kiss them whereas in his patrol automotive. However, he denied these incidents ever occurred. Then, Gwen Gurley testified that she noticed James drive away with Teresa in his automotive. While she recanted her testimony later, she then claimed that she was coerced into recanting.
Where is James Duckett Now?
About a 12 months after Teresa’s homicide, James was convicted of sexual battery and first-degree homicide. The jury handed down a demise sentence. He was additionally sentenced to 25 years to life for the sexual battery cost. However, since James’ conviction, there have been questions relating to the reliability of Michael Malone’s testimony relating to the pubic hair. In 2015, the FBI admitted that there have been errors along with his evaluation. Michael had misrepresented proof and generally lied in sure circumstances. Nevertheless, James stays on demise row on the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida.
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