MARIETTA, Ga. — Freckles dance across Debbie Lynn Randall’s porcelain-like nose, leaving a trail from cheek to cheek. Her shoulder-length, brown hair is pulled back with a floppy yellow bow, exposing her green eyes and timid smile.
Although the brown, wrinkled collared shirt she dons in her third-grade school photo has faded, the memories of her unassuming face plastered throughout Cobb County in 1972 on missing posters are still vivid for many in the community.
Debbie Lynn loved playing with her dolls; she was the “queen” of her neighborhood baseball team; and she loved collecting and stacking soap boxes at the neighborhood laundromat across the street from her apartment building.
But in January 1972, that’s where the 9-year-old holding a box of detergent was snatched from the street, brutally raped, murdered and tossed like a rag doll into the woods.
“When Debbie took her last breath, she was looking into the face of a monster,” said Morris Nix, a detective with the Cobb County Cold Case Unit.
And her “monster” remains elusive and her family, a witness and a dogged cold case detective are determined to reveal his identity nearly 50 years later.
On VAULT Studios’ latest podcast, “True Crime Chronicles,” former 11Alive investigative journalist and the podcast’s co-host, Jessica Noll, details Debbie Lynn Randall’s last moments alive, along with cold case detective Morris Nix—unraveling a Georgia mystery that has gone cold for nearly five decades.
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“Why not let it go? All my cases are personal to me. This one is very personal to me. This was a very innocent, sweet little girl,” Nix vowed nearly five decades later.
“I think of Debbie every day. And, she deserved justice, and it's really, just that simple.”