Update: fatal shooting of 2 Oklahoma girls

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25099550/

Wed., June. 11, 2008
WELEETKA, Okla. – Maybe they stumbled onto a crime in progress. Perhaps they were ambushed by “drunks and dopeheads.” Or maybe it was some kind of thrill killing.

The slayings of two girls — ages 11 and 13 — who were shot along a rural back road have baffled investigators and struck fear into townspeople, who are now afraid to let their children out of their sight.

“Still no motive, and I hate to say that,” Ben Rosser, an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said Wednesday. “This could be some kind of random thrill killing, it could be an attempted abduction, it could be somebody that just for whatever reason had a personal motive, maybe mistaken identity or possibly they did interrupt something down near the bridge. We just don’t know.”

Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11, were killed Sunday afternoon near a bridge. Both had been shot in the head and chest.

Community rattled and shocked
The brutality has rattled this working-class community of 1,000, situated 70 miles south of Tulsa.

Weleetka has long been the type of place folks moved to to escape many of the evils of the world. But townspeople said methamphetamine use — a particular scourge in small-town Oklahoma and elsewhere in the nation’s heartland — has gotten bad around here, and crime is up.

“You think you’re safe anywhere, but you’re not. All the thugs is moving out here, too,” said Skyla’s grandfather, Jimmie Farrow. “It’s a whole new ballgame.”

Investigators said two guns were used in the killings, which suggests there were two gunmen. But beyond that, locals have been left to guess who did it and why.

“I could walk down Main Street in Weleetka and maybe pass the individual and I wouldn’t know it right now,” Rosser said. He added: “This should just hit to the very core of America. I just think two little girls can’t go walking down a country lane road in this day and age. It’s pretty sad.”

Authorities are examining tire tracks, shell casings, bullets and shoeprints for any possible leads. They said they suspect a local person was involved because the killings occurred in such an isolated area. Rosser said that nothing is being ruled out but that there is no indication family or friends were involved. . . . .

Crime, drugs ‘worse than ever’
A neighbor, Ross Padgett, said drugs and the criminal element are worse than ever.

“Marijuana, meth, coke, you name it,” he said. “A number of the meth cookers are right over in this community. They are busting them so hard in the cities, they are going rural.” He lifted his shirt to reveal a 9 mm pistol, saying, “I’m not worried.”   Complete story

Okla. Town on Edge With Child Killer Loose

“We always thought she would be safe walking up our road. . ..”  Video

Okla. Town on Edge With Child Killer Loose

Sheriff Urges Parents to Keep Close Eye on Kids After Best Friends’ Shooting Deaths

Earlier story

Some callers have provided tips sending investigators from the sheriff’s office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations in different directions as they attempt to establish a motive for the double murder and identify a suspect.

Other callers have expressed concern for the safety of their children, knowing that someone responsible for murdering two children has not been brought to justice. Authorities have said they believe the killer or killers were local to the rural Oklahoma town, with knowledge of the area. The bodies were found on a dirt road near a busy highway overpass known as a trash-dumping spot.

There is a $14,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the deaths of Skyla Whitaker, 11, and Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, of Weleetka, Okla.  Source: ABC News

Earlier story

Little girls killed in rural Oklahoma

FOXNEWS.COM HOME > U.S.
http://www.foxnews. com/story/ 0,2933,364582, 00.html
Monday, Jun 9, 2008

Police Search for Motive in Double Slayings of Oklahoma Girls

Oklahoma police are searching for a motive in the double slayings of two young girls found dead Sunday night in a ditch along a rural road.

Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11, were discovered by a relative after they failed to return from an afternoon walk on the county road south of Interstate 40 in Okfuskee County near Weleetka, Okla.

The deaths of the best friends were labeled “double homicide” by investigators, according to News9.com in Oklahoma City.

The pair, who were sleeping over at Taylor’s house, decided to take a walk down the desolate road Sunday afternoon, something they were used to doing in their rural community.

Taylor’s grandfather, Peter Placker, found the children after he became worried when his wife tried calling a cellular phone the girls had with them and got no answer.

“I can’t describe coming up on it,” Peter Placker said, sobbing uncontrollably, as he tried to remember walking up on the scene, only about one-quarter mile from his house. “I done it once and I can’t do it again.”

The girls were found clothed in T-shirts and shorts with multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Oklahoman.

Okfuskee County Sheriff Jack Choate told the paper that they have a suspect in the case, but no motive.

“They were little girls,” Choate told the paper. “What possible motive could there be? You have to wonder, did they see something they were not supposed to? Were they at the wrong place at the wrong time?”

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Inspector Stan Florence said it was unknown if they were molested.

“This is a case that involves two innocent girls that were walking out on their own,” Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Inspector Stan Florence said. “Some evidence has been found at the scene which may be useful to us. We have spent a lot of time going down this road looking for evidence.”

Meanwhile, relatives tried to make sense of the grisly killings in a community where some folks still leave their keys in their cars and residents who live 10 miles apart still call themselves neighbors.

Skyla was the carefree adventurer, the girl who walked barefoot almost everywhere and rode her bicycle down endless dirt roads. Where she went, her many cats followed, along with her pet goat. Skyla wanted to become a veterinarian, said her grandmother, Claudia Farrow.

To know Taylor was to love her. She was the big-hearted girl who rescued helpless turtles crawling in the middle of the road and wanted to become a forensic scientist, like on the TV shows, said Peter Placker, who said he raised Taylor like she was his daughter even though he was her biological grandparent.

She was home-schooled until the family moved to Weleetka, located about 70 miles south of Tulsa and 90 miles east of Oklahoma City. It has a population of approximately 950 people.

“She was the best kid I’ve known,” Placker said.

Taylor attended Graham Public School in Weleetka, where in 2006 she was a fifth grade queen candidate in the Elementary Royalty Coronation, according to the school’s Web site.

“Taylor was the most lively, beautiful little girl you ever met,” her uncle Joe Mosher told the Oklahoman. “She was very intelligent and had good grades. She didn’t have an enemy in this world. People who didn’t even know her loved her.”