Notorious serial killer linked to NC teen girl

Notorious serial killer linked to NC teen girl
Credit: WNCN
Credit: WNCN
Credit: WNCN
Credit: WNCN

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) - Investigators in Texas are working a local connection to one of the most notorious killers in United States history.

Officials hope someone recognizes a teen from Durham that a serial killer said he picked up and later killed.

Known first as the "Deadly Drifter," Henry Lee Lucas became as infamous for the murders he committed as the hundreds he may have lied about.

One of his confessions involved a teen girl that Lee claimed to have met while passing through Durham.

"I had her mouth reconstructed, she had all her teeth. She had 14 molars that were taken care of. Somebody loved this child. They took care of her teeth," John LeFlore, a former investigator on the case said.

On the southern edge of Durham along an interstate highway is where Henry Lee Lucas told investigators he picked up the teen girl.

Officials released a sketch of what she may have looked like. They say she was 13 to 17 years old with auburn hair and was between 5 feet 1 inches to 5 feet 3 inches tall.

"Henry knew things that nobody else would have known except the actual actors," LeFlore said.

Authorities said her remains were found in a trash bag in a ditch in the town of Iola, Texas back in 1981.

In 1984 investigators said serial killer Henry Lee Lucas led officers to that spot and confessed to her murder.

He told them the victim was a hitchhiker that he picked up near Durham and he knew her only as "Cheryl."

It's been nearly 40 years and still, authorities haven't been able to identify her.

"Regardless of who killed her we would like to see her returned to her family and place a name with the face. I think we owe that to her," Lt. Daniel Wagnon with the Grimes County Sheriff's Office said.

Every few years investigators review the case.

Police say the teen was also wearing a 1904 gold Saint Gauden's coin that was made into a ring. Similar rings were sold in teen magazines in the 70s and 80s.

They're hoping that the ring and sketch will help someone remember something and they might finally be able to identify her.