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Caravan to catch a killer

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – A local mother has driven a caravan for hundreds of thousands of miles across the country in search of her daughter's killer.

Brittany Phillips was raped and suffocated in her Tulsa apartment in 2004. Since the murder happened, her mother, Dr. Maggie Zingman has traveled to every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Rhode Island in what she calls "A Caravan to catch a killer" showing Brittany's pictures and information to help spread the word about the cold-blooded case, that remains unsolved.

Dr. Zingman says every day when she gets in her car, the photos of her daughter Brittany are just daily reminders to keep pushing and never give up on finding the killer. She wants to educate others about DNA swabbing people under arrest.

"Losing a child is probably about the worst event to go through because whether it's murder or illness, it's a loss of expectations, said Zingman.

Zingman says she will never forget the night police came knocking at the door telling her that her daughter was raped and killed. Brittany Phillips was murdered 3 days before her nineteenth birthday. That tragic day still haunts her mind.

"Even though every single year when we celebrate it. I think of her coming into my life and I think her exiting my life. It's hard, but I decided I want to honor her coming and leaving that way, said Zingman.

Several people were questioned about Brittany's murder, but no one was ever arrested. The killer's DNA was collected from the crime scene, but it didn't match any of the more than 3-thousand felons whose DNA is listed in the Tulsa database. That's when Dr. Zingman saw something that she could do to help other parents like her.  She began pushing for a change in the law so that the state could draw DNA from anyone who is arrested for a felony, not just convicted. This year, Oklahoma finally changed their law on allowing DNA to be obtained at arrest.

"Nothing can be done with the DNA, its protected. It also cuts down on cold cases. If we want to help our police forces, our sheriffs and they were behind us with the law every year it will cut down on cold cases to a third. It will save lives and that's a thing DNA saves lives, said Zingman.

She decided to take her crusade outside the state, and found a man in Tulsa who volunteered to put a wrap on her car, with pictures of Brittany, and links to information on her case, and publicizing her mission. It's taken her to 47 states, in 12 years.

"He has given us a voice, and all of the murdered young woman around the united states a voice because this car has probably traveled a hundred and fifty thousand miles across the US on 14 tours so far. It's not just about her murder but the laws that allow it, said Zingman

Even if they don't find her daughter's killer, she still wants to spread the word about the importance of DNA collection and how it can protect young women like her daughter. Zingman will travel to Connecticut, Vermont, Kentucky and New York in the next few weeks before returning to Tulsa to celebrate the 12th anniversary of her daughter's death.

If you have any information about the murder of Brittany Phillips, you can contact the Tulsa Police Department.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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