Monday, January 30, 2017

Mystery Monday: Marcia Trimble

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

***Warning: Today's mystery involves the death of a child.***

When I was a kid, my mom would never let me go door to door to sell things for school or Girl Scouts. She always mentioned one name: Marcia Trimble. Marcia was a Nashville girl who mysteriously disappeared while delivering Girl Scout cookies in the mid-70s.



While a missing nine-year-old is always alarming, the thing that shook Nashville most was where she disappeared. Marcia lived in one of the very wealthiest areas of Nashville, Green Hills. Most of the homes in Green Hills look like this:



For years, police focused on Jeffrey Womack, a 15-year-old neighbor who said Marcia stopped by his house, but he told her he had no money to buy cookies. When police interrogated him later, they found he had money in his pocket, as well as a condom.



Marie Maxwell, a neighbor of the Trimbles, was unloading groceries from her car just before Marcia's disappearance. Through a hedge, she saw Marcia speaking to two people--one tall, one short. She was holding a cookie box. A few minutes later, witnesses saw Marcia walking away from her house, the cookie box no longer in her hands. She looked confused. Police believe one of the two kids in the driveway may have stolen her cookie box and she was trying to find them when she disappeared.



Four weeks later, her body was discovered in a neighboring garage, only 200 feet from her house. Her murder was unsolved for 40 years, although there were many suspects. In 1980, Womack was arrested for the crime, but the charge was dismissed due to lack of evidence.



DNA evidence collected from Marcia eventually led police to her killer. In 2008, Jerome Sydney Barrett was charged and successfully convicted of the 1975 murder. Jerome had served time for the February 1975 rape of a Vanderbilt University woman, which happened just 8 days before Marcia's murder. However, it was another February 1975 case--the murder of a Vanderbilt University student named Sarah Des Prez--that finally inspired police to check his DNA in connection to the Marcia Trimble murder. Jerome Barrett was found guilty and sentenced to 44 years in prison.


Jerome Barrett--then and now.

For years, police were certain the murderer was a young person who lived in the neighborhood when all along, it was a complete stranger.




Did you have a local child abduction story where you grew up?

34 comments:

  1. A fifteen year old with a condom in his wallet surprised them?
    They caught that sick individual just a few days too late. Odd that a stranger was wandering around such an affluent neighborhood and no one saw him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm perplexed as to why having a condom in his pocket immediately meant he'd abducted a kid. It was the 70s, though...maybe they thought teenagers didn't have sex back then? You would think at least later someone would have said, "You know, I saw a man lurking around the neighborhood," but he must have gotten around without being seen somehow.

      Delete
  2. I suppose before the DNA tests came into our life, there were many unsolved cases or many people sentenced for a crime they didn't commit.

    However, as we learn from the media, even with the existence of the DNA tool, it could take some long years until certain crimes are solved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read a book recently where a killer was SURE he would be randomly attached to a murder because he'd left his DNA at the scene. I was quietly yelling, "NOT unless your DNA is in the databank, idiot!" Your DNA is only in the databank if they've taken it at some point--either you've been suspected of a crime or convicted. And they don't input DNA from the many rape kits they do each year into the databank, which is very controversial. Many people have called for them to add that DNA, too--they'd probably be able to solve more rape AND murder cases from that.

      Delete
  3. This is so sad but at least they finally found her killer. It just shows how important DNA is now for convicting someone. Unfortunately, I live in the city where Kristen French and Leslie Mohaffey disapppeared. It was found to be Paul Bernardo and his wife who raped, tortured and killed them. My niece in law knew Bernardo's wife's sister who was also killed by them. What is maddening is that she is free and living a nice life and now has children of her own!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I saw something on that. They were SICK! I actually had to stop watching the show on it, wherever it was (Dateline maybe?) because I can't take anything having to do with torture. I can't believe she's free. That's horrible! I'm sure she claimed that she was just brainwashed by him. Hopefully that's TRUE if she's out running around, free.

      Delete
  4. Your mother still worries about you--only now it is the strangers lurking in mall parking lots and car-jackers waiting to pounce that keep her awake some nights! This particular crime struck so close to home that it lurked in the back of my mind for decades. I'm glad the mystery was solved. Good blog. I love your Mystery Mondays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While walking at the gym a few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast about this mall murderer who somehow managed to get into women's cars in parking lots. I've never been more watchful while walking to my car as I was that day! There were tons of people around and it was broad daylight, but it was broad daylight when the mall murderer got his victims, as well. That's the good thing about crime stories--they make us more aware of the bad things that can happen.

      Delete
  5. This is scary. And yes, there have been murders of young girls in my hometown, including one that took place the summer before my senior year of high school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was one that happened to a college classmate of mine after graduation. I'm going to cover that in a future post...their story was part of an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, actually.

      Delete
  6. The Oakland County child murders of 1976-77 have never been solved. Lots of speculation over the years - just like with Jimmy Hoffa - all of thus occurring within the same geographic area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I have a post on the Oakland County murders coming up by your request.

      Delete
  7. What a horribly sad story! I feel badly for the poor other kid who they thought did it--that had to scar him as well--let alone the poor family of Marcia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When someone is falsely accused, it hurts everyone involved. The victim's family suffers because the police spend too long chasing the wrong lead and the accused and all his/her loved ones suffer. It's just horrible all the way around, but unfortunately, sometimes all signs point toward the wrong person...

      Delete
  8. That is heartbreaking. We've had one Girl Scout come to our door this season and she was accompanied by her mother. I was happy to see she wasn't alone. Scary world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody comes to our door out here, but that's probably a good thing! When we lived in a neighborhood where houses were closer together, one teenage boy would go door to door selling stuff for school and we'd buy from him. He was always unsupervised.

      Delete
  9. Oh gosh! So sad. There are two girls in our neighborhood who go door to door for all kinds of things: offering to walk dogs, offering to help out with younger kids, selling homemade trinkets. They're lovely girls, but whenever they come around all I can think is, what are their parents thinking letting them go door to door like this? It's a scary world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One thing that surprises me in listening to true crime podcasts is bicycle abductions. I would think that if someone were riding around on a bicycle, he or she would be safe, but there are MANY instances of someone being snatched right off a bicycle while it's in motion.

      Delete
  10. In Minnesota it was Jacob Wetterling in 1989--kidnapped in broad daylight riding bikes with his brother and a friend. Just had a guy confess and found his body in 2016. You think your kids are safe in a group. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...a blogger was largely responsible for solving that case, which is interesting! She pieced together a series of child assaults that had happened during that time that the police had never really followed up on for some reason. One of the kids was snatched right off his bicycle while it was in motion--which is weird because I just mentioned that happening in my previous comment!

      Delete
  11. That is heart-breaking. Parents around here (and probably most places) drive along as the kids walk door-to-door. I see them keeping an eye out in their cars as their kids come to my door. I like that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So sad. Sweet little girl.

    ReplyDelete
  13. At least this one was resolved. Still so sad... I grew up in a time where we always went door-to-door.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I never heard of this, but this is an example to remind us that criminals lurk everywhere unnoticed. It's a shame it took so long, but I'm glad the culprit was caught. Back in the day, we often went from door to door in the neighborhood. So sad.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sad and scary stuff.
    I grew up with a lot of "they'll take you away" and "don't talk to strangers" and things like that. I should have listened.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I know today is a drastically different time, but I think everyone in my community thought things were safe during the 70s. This girl was born the same year as my mother. This girl would be 51 today. The kids in the man's HOA run hog wild around the streets, and it makes me nervous. I can't recall anything similar for the small town I grew up in, but I am sure there might be at least one for Austin, TX.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I had an experience as a teen when a white van kept following me at a snail's pace. Only when I moved to the edge of the gully away from the sidewalk and waited did it eventually drive off. Thankfully it was a natural gully that I could run along the sides of. But if it was a concrete one I'd rather jump and risk breaking a leg (there was hardly any water during the hot months) than sticking around if anyone came dashing out that van. So sad what happened to that child. It could be that awful man was wandering where there were not much people around and saw her roaming about and grabbed her. I've heard other stories of people being grabbed unseen in affluent areas for that very reason. At least in crowded cities most likely someone will see something. A sad thought.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm pretty sure I'm going to accompany my daughter everywhere she goes until she's 30.

    ReplyDelete
  19. How awful and sad! Kids sell things door to door in my neighborhood and they are always accompanied by a parent. I can't even imagine allowing my kids to go up to homes of complete strangers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is so tragic. That girl was the same age as my daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Such a sad story. We think our children are safe in their own neighborhoods, but one never knows who's out there waiting for innocent victims. It would be so hard for a tragedy like this in a family.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That is so sad! I'm glad they found who did it! Very, very tragic!!! I know around here, the girl guides sell their cookies, infront of the local stores. They do it in a group, with parents. Big Hugs!

    ReplyDelete