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A Teen in Oklahoma Left Work But Never Made It to Her Car. Her Murder Remains Unsolved 26 Years Later.

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Source: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office; MEGA

May 30 2024, Published 4:01 p.m. ET

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A 16-year-old girl left her job at a grocery store around 9 p.m. June 6, 1998. Her body was later found in a field near a pond, but her car remained at Marvins Food Store, where she worked.

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It's been 26 years since Dena Ann Dean of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was killed. No one has been arrested, and the case remains a mystery.

The Tulsa Medical Examiner ruled the manner of death a homicide.

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"It does not get any easier. They say it does, but it doesn't,” Dena’s mother, Diana Dean, told Channel 9 Tulsa in 2021. “They tore my family apart, and I want somebody arrested for it.”

Diana Dean told Channel 9 that her daughter's body wasn't found until six days after she was reported missing. Her car remained at 5616 W. Skelly Drive, where Marvins Food Store is located, and her body was found a less than 10 miles away, in a field near a pond approximately two miles North of Town West near 51st Street South and 49th West Avenue.

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“This guy wanted to speak to her after he got off work, and she asked me if she could go talk to him. And I told her she could go talk to him and stay at the store there in the parking lot. And to be careful and be home by 10:30,” Diana Dean told Channel 2 News Oklahoma.

When the clock hit about 10:30 p.m. and Dena's parents hadn't heard from her, Larry Dean went out looking for her, Channel 2 reports.

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“Located the car. Checked it out, made sure she wasn’t in it,” Dean recalled.

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Once he saw her car without her accompanying it, he started looking in dumpsters, according to Channel 2.

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“I figured they might have dumped her body," he said. "I knew Dena wasn’t around at that time."

A couple retired detectives recently stepped up to work the case, Channel 2 reported.

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“We made a commitment to the Sheriff and the Deans,” said Mike Huff, Tulsa County Cold Case Investigator.

The other detective, Doc Shannon, said they are hoping to get lucky one of these days and solve the case.

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“We would love to come up with the magic bullet,” said Shannon.

Both detectives told Channel 2 they believe they are on the right track. Still, the case remains unsolved.

“We’re very close and miles away. We know the facts that we can prove. But there are not enough facts there at this moment,” said Huff.

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