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Major Development In Cold Case Investigation Of Murdered 6-Year-Old Allegheny County Girl

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Major development in cold case investigation of murdered 6-year-old girl



Beth Lynn Barr Beth Lynn Barr

By Rick Earle, WPXI-TV

PITTSBURGH — Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle has learned exclusively that police have made progress in their investigation into the 1977 unsolved murder of 6-year old Beth Lynn Barr, and investigators tell Earle they hope to solve the case soon.

Earle recently sat down with the lead investigator who’s been reviewing the case.

“I think that we’re probably as closer, if not the closest we’ve been in 40 years, just because of some new things that came to light that nobody knew about,” said Allegheny County Police Detective Kevin McCool.

Barr vanished in November 1977 while walking home from school in Wilkinsburg. That set off a frantic search, but family members, volunteers and police came up empty.

Sixteen months later, her body was found in a shallow grave near a cemetery in Monroeville. She had been stabbed multiple times.

The case has not been solved.

“That’s obviously a case that needs closure, not that every unsolved homicide doesn’t, but that’s one of the more tragic things I’ve ever come across,” said McCool.

During the past year, Target 11 has been breaking new details in this decades old murder investigation.

Last November, Earle interviewed Beth Lynn Barr’s mother, who spoke out for the first time.

“The pain is incredible. and I think anyone in particular who has children they know,” said Donna Barr, who lives in Monroeville.

Earle also tracked down a former county detective who worked the case for years.

“We actually never got anything solid, nothing which is really an oddity,” said Robert Payne, who’s now the police chief in Edgewood Borough.

Then in February, Earle discovered that an anonymous letter had been sent to police after his first story aired. It actually pointed to a suspect.

Payne reviewed the letter but was skeptical about it. Allegheny County Police also examined the letter and then-Superintendent Coleman McDonough said that his investigators would be going through the letter attempting to corroborate any of the information.

Target 11 also spoke with a classmate of Barr who lived in the same neighborhood and recalled walking home with her the day she disappeared.

“I wish at that time we were a little bit smarter to say hey Beth don’t leave, walk with us, stick together,” said Tisha Davison, Barr’s former classmate.

“When I, we first started looking at it, it seemed like an uphill battle, it still is, but I’m hopeful that it can be brought to some sort of conclusion,” said McCool, who continues to push forward, reviewing reports and evidence and talking to people who may know something.

“You come across people that were six years old back then, or 50 back then, and their memories vary and you have,

people who don’t remember even talking to the police back then, and that can be discouraging but then you come across, somebody who says I remember it like it was yesterday and this is actually what happened,” said McCool.

But what’s made the investigation a bit more challenging is that some of the evidence in the case was lost when the county police evidence room flooded during the floods of 1996.

McCool said some of the evidence in the case was compromised, but he said they still have some important pieces of evidence that could prove pivotal.

“We have stuff, yes we have items, that are beneficial to our cause, yes so and I think, they will come into play very soon,” said McCool.

Earle also reached out to Donna Barr. She said she was shocked and surprised when Investigators reached out to her about a month ago. She said she and her husband met with Investigators for about an hour at their home in Monroeville. She said detectives declined to elaborate but told her they believe they are getting close to solving the case. Barr told Earle she is now just waiting to hear back from the Police.

As Target 11 Investigator Earle has been doing for the past year, he will continue to track and follow the latest developments in this case as county police are getting closer to possibly solving the case that has baffled investigators for more than four decades.                                                                                                                                                                                                           SEE PICTURE, VIDEO REPORT     ;   https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/major-development-cold-case-investigation-murdered-6-year-old-girl/CYMD5FBH3FBPNOO546CMLM7JXY/

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