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Lawton teen's remains identified; LPD, OSBI investigate 2003 murder

Lawton_The remains of a 17-year-old Lawton girl missing for five years have been identified.  Tanja Marie Hook went missing on June 30, 2003, and two months later, skeletal remains were found in a ditch north of Highway 74-B in McClain County.  Hook's parents submitted DNA samples, and a match between the parents and the remains was made in May.  Authorities didn't confirm the identification until the girl's dental records were matched with the remains.  The cause of her death has yet to be determined, and police are still looking for a suspect in the case.

The Lawton Police Department (LPD) and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) hope that the recent identification of the murdered teenager will help them find her killer.  Hook's neighbors remember the girl well, even five years later.  They say they were shocked to learn what had happened to her and they hope that friends, acquaintances, or anyone who knew her, will be able to fill in the blanks and help lead investigators to her killer. 

Neighbor Margaret Fultz had a special and instant bond with Tanja Hooks and her family.  "The mother was born in Germany and she was German citizen, that's how we met and talked one day," said Fultz.  From there, Fultz got to know the Hooks family pretty well.  She says Tanja's mother brought her kids to Lawton from Germany after marrying a soldier, and that it was a tough transition for Tanja.  "Very, very troubled life," said Fultz.  "Young teenager.  She was not happy.  She was an unhappy troubled teenager, that's what she was."

Other neighbors didn't know Tanja personally, but on the surface the remember her as a nice girl.  "I just remember she was a good kid - outgoing, very sweet, very pretty, and she was very nice to everybody." 

No one that knew her can understand why someone would want to hurt Tanja, let alone take her life.  But, Tanja definitely put herself in jeopardy.  On several occasions she ran away from home.  Police say she was possibly involved with prostitution in the north Lawton area prior to her June, 2003, disappearance.

Neighbors say Tanja's mother was determined to find her.  "She always looked for her and asked us to help find her and put fliers out - you name it.  The mother left no stone unturned to find her child."  Sadly, Tanja's mother never found out what happened to her - she passed away early this year.  "Makes me very sad that the poor young woman, the mother, was still a young woman when she died, that she had to go to grave and did not know what happen to her child.  That's tough."

Lawton Police detectives are working with the OSBI on the investigation, and they are focusing on anyone who may have seen Tanja in June or July, 2003.  If you have any information about Tanja Hooks, please call Crimestoppers at 580-355-INFO.

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