A 36-year-old 'boyfriend' and the texts that seemed to lead to her killer.
In August 2010, pictures of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt were posted on lampposts all over her home town of Great Bend, Kansas. Above the image was the word MISSING. Alicia hadn’t been seen for three days, since going to a party.
Her family called the police, and a search party was raised. The search ended in horror.
Because, three days after Alicia was last seen, a worker discovered what he thought was a burnt mannequin.
At first he assumed it was a joke played by co-workers. But the buzzing flies around the ‘mannequin’ told him that this was no joke. Police identified the body.
Her body was badly burned and she’d been sexually assaulted. Traces of duct tape were found near her mouth and ankle.
But why would anyone want to hurt Alicia? A high-school cheerleader, she was a popular girl. And who…? It didn’t take long for the police to pinpoint their main suspect – a 36-year-old man named Adam Longoria.
And clues were found on Alicia’s mobile phone… It was filled with texts to and from Adam.
The first message was from a month earlier. ‘Good morning beautiful,’ it read. The last message was on the night of her murder, when Longoria had asked Alicia to a party.
At 10.57pm that evening, Longoria sent Alice a message: What’s the address? She texted him the address, then he sent her another message: Be there in three minutes. And finally: I’m here. After that there was nothing.
Police were sure they had their man. They arrested and charged him with capital murder.
‘I’m innocent,’ Longoria told the Press. But were a handful of texts enough to convict a man of murder? He said he wasn’t the only one with access to the phone that night.
In March 2012, Adam Longoria, 38, appeared in court. He denied killing Alicia.
Forensic tests had found Longoria’s semen mixed with Alicia’s DNA in the back of his Jeep. His defence argued that he’d previously had sex with Alicia so it could have got there on another occasion. Plus tests had shown a tiny amount of DNA from an unknown male in Alicia’s mouth – was it the real killer?
Longoria’s girlfriend testified he’d asked her to throw away the t-shirt he’d been wearing on the night of Alicia’s murder, which reeked of petrol. CCTV footage showed him buying petrol on the night that Alicia vanished.
The fact he had sex with 14-year-old Alicia was despicable. But his behaviour didn’t necessarily make him a murderer….or did it?