It was a hot, muggy night in Kansas City. Sixteen-year-old Fawn Cox had been working late at Worlds Of Fun amusement park.
Her mother Beverley had picked her up and brought her home at 11pm, and Fawn had gone straight to bed.
Fawn’s younger sisters Amber and Felisa normally slept upstairs with her, but on that hot night, she was the only one in the house’s upper storey.
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At some point during the night, someone got into the house through an upstairs window, possibly by climbing on top of a pickup truck, and raped and strangled Fawn in her bed. Semen stains were left on her sheet.
Downstairs, her family heard nothing. The sound of their loud air conditioner drowned out any noise coming from upstairs, and when the family dog started getting agitated, they put it down to her being pregnant.
The next morning, Fawn’s alarm went off at 9.30am to wake her for work. When she didn’t turn it off, Beverley and Felisa came upstairs to see what was going on.
“I went over to shake her: ‘Come on! Get up!’” Felisa told local TV station KCTV. “But she had been gone for a while.”
It was the morning of July 26, 1989. It would be another 31 years before the family found out who had killed Fawn.
Fawn was a high school student who had got her learner’s permit just three days earlier. She regularly attended church with her family, and loved Amy Grant music. Her devastated father John took comfort in the family’s faith.
“That’s the only thing that’s holding us together, knowing that I’ll be able to spend the rest of eternity with her someday,” he told a local newspaper at the time.
Kansas City was shocked by the crime, but it looked like it was going to be quickly solved.