Real Name: Veronica Jefferson
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Date: May 11, 1988
Details: At 3am on May 11, 1988, 24-year-old Tina Jefferson was discovered raped and shot to death at point blank range behind McKinley Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. Her clothes were found nearby with blood stains on it. There were no tears and rips in them which would normally be found in a stranger attack. Their condition suggested that she knew her killer. The day after her body was found, her car, a Red Camero with the personalized license plate "MS VLJ", was discovered parked at a supermarket two blocks from her apartment. It was unlocked and the keys were missing. It was later determined that it had been wiped clean of fingerprints. The interior was also examined; a time stamped receipt showed that she had left the supermarket at 9:30pm. Surprisingly, her purse was found with all of the money and credit cards still inside. A box cutter was also found inside; it is believed to have belonged to her killer.
Tina was a government accountant and a newcomer to the Washington, D.C., area; she was originally from Oklahoma. She had recently become a CPA and was working as a finance officer for the CIA. She was last seen alive the night before at a Giant supermarket near Columbia Pike. Authorities believe she may have met her killer there that night, and that she may have known him. Investigators interviewed several of the employees along with customers, and although they had some good suspects. All were eventually cleared because their DNA did not match that found at the crime scene.
Four days after Tina's murder, an off-duty police officer came forward and believed that he had seen he and her car on the night of her murder. At 9:45pm on May 10, he saw her car make a right turn and go over the curb while doing so. He followed it (identifying it based on the personalized plates), and planned to pull them over for driving erratically. Unfortunately, he decided not to do so and passed by. He then saw the unknown man in the driver side with her standing on the outside, leaning on the passenger side door. Authorities believe that he then took her out of the car and led her to the schoolyard where he then raped and killed her.
From Tina's friends and roommates, investigators received a list of possible suspects, as it appeared that her killer was someone that she had known. However, DNA testing cleared all of them as well. The case remained at a standstill for about a year.
Then, in May 1989, John and Betty Flanagan, came forward claiming to have seen Tina at the supermarket on the night of their murder. When John went to the deli counter, he noticed her. While ordering, an unidentified African-American man arrived and began flirting with her. A few minutes later, Betty was walking to their car when she noticed Tina putting her groceries in hers. She saw the man approach and talk to her. Investigators believe that the Flanagans may have seen Tina with her killer.
Investigators had no suspects and few leads in the case until in spring 2000 when DNA found on Tina's body matched that found on the body of 22-year-old Rachael Raver, who had been murdered in December 1988 along with her boyfriend, Warren Fulton. After this connection, authorities re-interviewed Tina's family, and her sister, Crystal, then remembered visiting her in summer 1987 at her apartment complex in Virginia and meeting a man named "Tony", who also lived there and may have been her boyfriend. Although not a suspect, authorities would like to question him to see if he as any knowledge about her death. Both cases remain a mystery.
Suspects: A composite sketch was made of the man seen with Tina the night of her murder, who was a clean cut African-American male who was 6'3", 170 pounds, and is the prime suspect in this case. Authorities also want to question the man known as "Tony" who may have been her boyfriend at the time, and may have lived in Queens, New York, where Rachael Raver's car was found. He remains unidentified.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 1, 1989 episode, and was rebroadcast on August 29, 2001, after it was connected to that of Warren Fulton and Rachael Raver. The case was also documented on On the Case with Paula Zahn.
Results: Solved. In August 2005, DNA found on Tina's body was linked to a man named Alfredo Prieto, now considered a serial killer for the additional murders of other individuals including those of Warren Fulton and Rachael Raver. Investigators learned that he had lived in Arlington in the 1980s. They now believe he was responsible for at least nine murders in California and Virginia in the late 1980s.
Prieto was extradited to Virginia from California, where he was on death row for a 1990 murder. He was convicted of the murders of Warren Fulton and Rachael Raver and sentenced to death. On October 1, 2015, he was executed by lethal injection.
- DNA Leads to Suspect in 1988 N.Va. Killings
- Lawton woman's murderer executed
- Tina Jefferson on Find a Grave