Unsolved Mysteries Wiki
Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Tracy Kirkpatrick

Real Name: Tracy Lynn Kirkpatrick
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Frederick, Maryland
Date: March 15, 1989


Details: Tracy Kirkpatrick was a senior honors student who was interested in poetry and writing. In early 1989, she had an after-school job at a women's sport clothing store, but on March 15, the night she was supposed to lock up, someone entered and brutally stabbed her to death, leaving her body in the storeroom. A security guard located it two hours later. At 11:15pm, her parents, Bill and Diane, arrived at the store and learned of her murder. Police found no motive for the crime; there was no evidence of sexual assault and the store's cash receipts were still on the counter. Since there was no evidence of a struggle, police assumed that her killer was someone that she knew.
Detectives were baffled, until three months later, a man named "Don" called the Maryland police and a Las Vegas murder confession hotline claiming to be Tracy's killer. A psychic named Martha Woodwarth later came forward claiming that a man named "Sean" was obsessed with Tracy's murder and was constantly trying to contact her. She claims that she recognized the voice of "Don" as the man named "Sean". Police have been unable to find enough evidence to file charges against him and this case remains unsolved.
Suspects: Three months after Tracy's murder, a man named "Don" called a nationwide confession hotline in Las Vegas. He claimed that he was calling from Frederick, Maryland, and that he stabbed a girl to death three months earlier. He claimed that she worked in a ladies' sportswear store and that he often visited and talked to her. He also claimed that on the night of her murder, they had gotten into an argument in the storeroom, and that he had stabbed her to death. He also claimed that he would not turn himself in because Maryland had the death penalty. At one point, he mentioned that the victim's name was Tracy. Because of this and other similarities, investigators were convinced that he was her killer.
The call was traced to a supermarket that was about eight miles from Frederick. Investigators believe that Tracy's killer was trying to turn himself in. They wrote an open letter to him, urging him to come forward.
Two weeks later, the police heard from Martha, who claimed that she was in contact with a suspicious man named "Sean". He had called and asked her to help him solve this case. He sent her newspaper clippings about it; when she received them, she had a feeling that he was involved in it.
Investigators played part of the confession tape for Martha; she was convinced that the voice was Sean's. When investigators checked the return address on the envelope, they discovered that he lived in Walkersville. This was the same city that the confession call came from. Interestingly, the man who lived at the address was not named "Don" or "Sean".
Investigators later had a local disc jockey play the confession tape. Three people called in, claiming that they had recognized the voice on it. They identified it as the suspicious man from Walkersville. However, a search of his house found no evidence linking him to the crime.
The man calling himself "Don" and "Sean" was an obvious suspect in this case. When police attempted to talk to him, he pleaded the fifth amendment. The security guard who found Tracy's body was also a suspect in this case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 30, 1991 episode. Some sources spell her name "Tracey".
Results: Unsolved. Police have since determined that the man calling himself "Don" and "Sean" had nothing to do with Tracy's murder. However, they have since narrowed down their list of suspects to two people, including Don Barnes Jr., the security guard that found her body. His daughter allegedly claimed that he was abusive toward her and her mother. She also believes that he was involved in Tracy's murder and had over an hour to cover up the crime. His father was the police chief at the time of her murder and some have suggested that he covered up evidence in this case. However, this has not been confirmed.
A retired investigator who worked on this case in 1994 stated that he believes he knows Tracy's killer's identity. According to him, based on circumstantial evidence, her killer was a friend of hers (possibly Barnes). However, he claims that "politics and personal agendas" and "people not doing their jobs" prevented the arrest from ever being made.
DNA testing of samples found at the scene began in March 2009; it is not known if any evidence was found. Tracy's killer has yet to be identified or apprehended.