Carla Walker was 17 years old when she was abducted on February 17, 1974, pulled from a vehicle where she was sitting with her boyfriend Rodney McCoy after they’d attended a Valentine’s Day dance at school, WFAA reported. A couple of days later, the teenager’s body was found in a culvert close to Benbrook Lake, outside Fort Worth, Texas.
Walker and McCoy had been parked at the Ridglea Bowling Alley when someone pulled open the passenger door and dragged Walker out, according to WFAA. The individual told McCoy he was going to kill him, knocked him out with a pistol and disappeared with Walker.
According to authorities, Walker had been beaten, raped, strangled and tortured for two days after her disappearance, NBC5 reported. She had also been injected with morphine, the medical examiner determined. Authorities identified some people as persons of interest but the case eventually went cold as they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest a suspect.
DNA Advances Allowed Authorities to Finally Track Down & Identify Walker’s Killer Long After the Case Went Cold
On September 21, 2020, 77-year-old Glen Samuel McCurley was arrested and charged with capital murder, WFAA wrote. McCurley had been considered a person of interest at the time of the crime, authorities said, because he had purchased a gun that matched the type of magazine found near Walker’s purse at the scene of the crime. McCurley, who would have been around 31 at the time of the murder, lived one mile away from the bowling alley parking lot at that time.
He was interviewed by authorities in 1974 and denied involvement in the crime, saying his gun had been stolen several weeks before and there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the lead. At the time of the murder, authorities recovered DNA from Walker’s clothing but DNA advances didn’t allow the evidence to be used until recently.
According to NBC5, the DNA was sent to a private lab in 2020 that was able to develop a full DNA profile and narrowed the search to three possible individuals: three McCurley brothers. The outlet reported that authorities collected DNA from Glen McCurley’s garbage bin outside his home and it matched the DNA profile. He consented to further DNA testing and on September 16, 2020, authorities confirmed it was a match to the crime scene and arrested McCurley.
Her Family Said They Were Relieved the Killer Was Eventually Found & Thanked the Fort Worth Police Department for Not Giving Up
According to WFAA, Walker’s brother Jim Walker said at a police press conference after McCurley’s arrest, “Thank you, Jesus. When I was notified, the word that came across my mind was ‘finally.’ Finally. After 46 years, finally.”
McCurley was indicted in November 2020 and his trial began in August 2021. On the third day of his trial, McCurley changed his plea from not guilty to guilty, NBC5 reported. The trial wrapped up immediately as the 78-year-old was sentenced to life in prison, the outlet wrote. Afterward, Walker’s sister read a victim impact statement which said:
I wish you’d done this a long time ago. I spent 17 years in the same bedroom with my sister. I knew her. She was 4 feet 11 inches, 100 pounds. You had choices. Lots of choices that night. You went out to kill somebody. You kept saying in your confession that, ‘that wasn’t you,’ ‘it just wasn’t you.’ That’s you.