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New leads in cold case

Stephens County_The investigation into a missing persons case in Stephens County has brought new light to two others.  Duncan police and Texas Equusearch - a search and rescue group - were in Loco last weekend searching for a car that may have been buried after a 20-year-old homicide.  The same day they discovered the car, Equusearch led police to a submerged car in Duncan Lake.  Investigators say they believe the human remains found inside belonged to Virginia Carter, who went missing five years ago.

Now, police are getting new information on yet another woman who disappeared in 1986.  After the 7News story aired last Sunday about the search in Loco, police, the dispatch center, and the Stephens County Sheriff's Department began getting calls about a woman named Frankie Duvall.  She also went by the name Bonnie Duvall, and she vanished more than 20 years ago.  Now, there are new hopes of finding her.

A search of newspaper articles from May, 1986, never mentioned Bonnie or showed the face of the mother and wife.  "People thought it unlikely for her to just up and leave her children without ever making contact with them," said Duncan Police Lieutenant Jimmy Williams.  However, that's exactly what happened according to old records on the investigation.  "She was last seen at the cafe down there in Loco, and never heard from or reported since that time," said Williams.

Williams says it seems that people are opening up about the case, and a lot of phone calls have been made in the last couple of days to the Texas Equusearch, and they were trying to locate another missing person over the weekend in Loco.  "There are people calling in that feel like that is the case at this time, and they're even giving us pretty distinct locations on where to look," he said.

Williams says he wants Equusearch to return to Stephens County as soon as possible, but he says it's going to take willing property owners' cooperation to look on their land.  "Twenty years ago, someone might have thought, 'I need to keep my mouth shut,' or 'I just don't want to stir anything up,'" he said.  "Now, they're looking at it as this person deserves justice.  If they're a missing person, they need to be found."

Late on Wednesday afternoon, Duvall's sister said that Bonnie would not have left her kids, and for that reason she believes she's dead.  She says she's thankful for the new focus on the case, and hopes the truth about what happened to Bonnie will emerge.  As for the original missing person's case, police say it involves a man named Odis Smith, who was last seen in the Duncan area in October, 1985.  Investigators say they have received information that he may have been killed and placed in a car trunk before the entire car was buried somewhere in Stephens County.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.

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