Killer Unknown Series Tackles Oklahoma Cold Cases on ID

Tulsa County cold case task force dusts off unsolved murder cases across Oklahoma in ID's Killer Unknown.

The late Leon Russell, in his song “Home Sweet Oklahoma,” described his home state as dusty, but the cops there are clearing some of the deeper dirt. The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) Cold Case Task Force is blowing the dust off 31 unsolved murder cases Investigation Discovery’s all-new series, Killer Unknown.

“What happens when some of the finest investigators in the country come out of retirement to put their collective talents and years of experience towards the most notorious cold case murders in the area they call home,” ID asks in a press statement. Killer Unknown will aswer as their team follows an active investigation in real time.

Further reading: Investigation Discovery to Profile Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy

The TCSO Cold Case Task Force was created in June 2016. Made up of volunteer veteran homicide detectives and specialized experts, it focuses its resources on cases with the highest probability of being solved with fresh new leads and modern forensic technologies. The task force is is led by retired Tulsa police sergeant Mike Huff.

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The force is currently examining 31 cases across Tulsa County, with the ultimate goal of finding answers and justice for victims and their families. The series will begin with two of its most terrifying: the 1973 murder of 38-year-old Veda Woodson, and the 1998 murder of 16-year-old Dena Ann Dean. Both unsolved cases continue to haunt the Tulsa community, and now the TCSO Cold Case Task Force is determined to find justice for the victims.

Further reading: The Unsolved Series on ID Will Put Cold Cases To Rest

16-year-old Dena Dean was working at her after-school job at Arby’s in Tulsa, on June 6, 1998. “After work, Dena asked her parents, Larry and Diana, if she could go to local grocery store Marvin’s Food Warehouse to see her best friend, as well as her boyfriend,” according to ID’s press statement. “With her parent’s permission, Dena left her shift and drove to Marvin’s – but was never heard from again. When Dena failed to return home after curfew, her parents became uneasy; that uneasiness turned to panic when they received a call from a friend who found Dena’s car. A manhunt was launched, and six days later, Dena’s body was found at a local dump site where kids would often hang out – it was too decomposed to determine a specific cause of death. Now, 20 years later, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office has several new leads – but can they finally solve this case for good?”

Veda Woodson, 38, a mother of four, 38-year-old, was willing to make great sacrifices for her kids. She left home for her late-night job as a cleaning woman at First National Bank in Tulsa on July 26, 1973. “It was just the second night of the first job she ever had,” reads the official synopsis. “Her husband and children couldn’t have known they’d never see her again. At approximately 1 a.m., Woodson was on her 20-minute drive home when her 1958 Chevrolet broke down on the side of the road. Stranded in her vehicle, another car pulled up behind hers. Was someone going to help? Hope quickly turned to terror, as the stranger broke Woodson’s car window, dragged her out of the vehicle, and then raped and strangled her. The next day, Woodson’s body was discovered by her brothers in a nearby field. Her killer has never been found. “

Each episode of Killer Unknown chronicles the TCSO Cold Case Task Force as they re-examine the Woodson and Dean cases with fresh eyes, speaking with loved ones and reviewing evidence through modern technology in hopes of generating new leads for the cases.

Killer Unknown premieres November 24 at 10 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

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Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.