Valentine’s Day Dance Cold Case

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On February 12th 1971, 20-year-old nursing student Patricia Man and 19-year-old student Jesse McBane attended a Valentine’s dance at Watts Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.

Sources state that the couple left the dance at 23:30 and parked in a nearby cul-de-sac and after failing to return, their families contacted the police. After McBane’s car was found, the search for the couple began.

Police found their bodies thirteen days after their disappearance in the North-West of Durham. A rope tied both victims to a tree in the woods with leaves hiding the bodies. Cause of death – strangulation. According to the medical examiner, both bodies displayed notable puncture wounds to their chest, most likely inflicted post-mortem.

According to Orange County Sheriff, Dawn Hunter, “They were probably approached by someone who made them get out of the car.” Investigators think the killer forced the couple into the trunk of a vehicle before taking them to the woods. There is little proof to support this.

Detectives from the Orange County Line investigated a phone call in 1995, after someone called the victims’ families and confessed to killing the couple. Police traced the couple to Hillandale Road, less than a mile away from where the couple were abducted. However, this line of inquiry soon went cold. An unnamed suspect saw a minor break in the case in 2010. According to official sources, the suspect refused to co-operate or provide DNA evidence. Once again, the case grew cold.

Half a century later and a suspect has yet to be charged. Police state they believe the killer could still be alive.

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