When Laura Long woke up on July 10, 1977, she was a happy, carefree 18-year-old. She lived with her parents in the tiny town of Claremore, living a quiet life. She spent the last day of her life washing the family’s vehicles and then heading into town to visit with a friend, get a soda, and put gas in her car. Laura’s parents passed their daughter as she drove down the street both honking and waving as they went, not knowing they would never see her alive again. Her parents reported her missing on July 11th, after Laura’s father found her car abandoned in the Ne-Mar shopping center parking lot with her purse locked inside of it, however police didn’t begin looking for her until 24 hours later due to a policy requiring them to do so.

On July 20th Laura’s body would be found lying by the side of a country road. She had been missing for ten days, had been suffocated to death, and was badly decomposed when a boy riding his bike found her. For days after finding her, police would find Laura’s clothing scattered about along country roads.

Now, 42 years, and a lot of twists and turns later, police still aren’t really any closer to knowing what happened to Laura between that parking lot and that country road.

In 1997, Claremore detective Tim Norris would re-open the case, hoping that time and advances in forensic technology would help to solve the case. By then, 83 interviews had been conducted- the last of which had been done in October of 1977. At the time, Detective Norris also stated that there were a few pieces of evidence that could possibly be tested for DNA which had not previously been tested.

Then the twist came.

After the story ran in Tulsa World that the case was being re-opened, Claremore Police Department received three anonymous letters; postmarked 8/22/97, 8/30/97 & 9/15/97. All of them talking about the same suspect abducting and murdering Laura Long, and each becoming increasingly frustrated with police, with the author believing the police weren’t moving on the information that was being provided fast enough.

Then- nothing.

The informant never came forward despite pleas from both the police and Laura’s mother, and it’s worth noting that police do not believe that the informant had anything to do with Laura’s murder. Just that they know about the crime- probably because they know the suspect they named in their letters.

Detective Norris also points out that everything that the Informant wrote within the three letters was verified, and the suspect- who at the time of the murder lived in Claremore but had since moved about an hour away- was brought in for a series of polygraphs, which all showed deception. Polygraphs aren’t admissible in court, however, and without any other evidence to tie the suspect to the crime- there simply isn’t anything the authorities can do. The suspect has not been named publicly- but he isn’t someone that Laura’s mother knows, though he was apparently briefly considered a suspect at the time the murder occurred in 1977.

Laura’s life was cut tragically short. She didn’t get to go to college or get married. Her parents were robbed or seeing her grow into a woman. They have been robbed of justice; they have been robbed of closure- for 42 years. It’s been long enough- in fact it’s been too long.

If you’re the person who wrote those now long-ago letters- you can message us if you wish. We have no issues either being a go between or getting messages to the police. Please, bring a mother some peace.

If you know anything at all about the abduction and murder of Laura Long, we urge you to contact the Claremore Police Department at (918) 341-1212

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