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Cherokee County Unsolved Cases​

District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp and the law enforcement agencies of Cherokee County are committed to solving major crimes, no matter how long ago they occurred. To assist in their quest to find answers for victims’ families, District 27 deploys all of the weapons in its arsenal, including a seasoned OSBI special agent who contributes her vast expertise to help coordinate resources and uncover new evidence and testimony.

Thorp and his team also capitalize on the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Multicounty Grand Jury, which has the power to compel testimony that local law enforcement doesn’t have. 

Many of Cherokee County’s cold cases were featured in a story on News on 6, Tulsa’s CBS affiliate, in March of 2018. District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp remains committed to supporting local law enforcement in their quest to find answers for victims’ families.

Email Us

If you have information about any major crimes in Cherokee County, drop us a line.

Public Forum

Watch our Facebook page and this website for upcoming cold case forums in a town near you.

Call Us

Call the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney's tipline at (918) 772-7568.

District 27 Unsolved

Check out our unsolved crimes in other District 27 counties.

Photo of Stephan Adams

Stephan Adams

Cherokee County, 2004

Stephan Adams has not been seen nor heard from since December 13, 2004, shortly after the 26-year-old college student finished his finals at NSU in Tahlequah.

His family members were told he was planning to drop off a hitchhiker in Keys. Authorities say Adams’ cellphone pinged for the last time in that area, but he never showed up at his planned destination – his mother’s home in Webbers Falls.

District Attorney Jack Thorp has been involved in the case since 2012. He and other officials believe Adams was murdered somewhere along the road between Keys and his mother’s home, some time after he was last seen in his white Chevy pickup truck at a convenience store near Cookson.

If you have information on Adams’ whereabouts,  call the OSBI at (800) 522- 8017 or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568.

No photo available

Inez Carpenter

Lake Tenkiller, 2001

A fisherman came across Inez “Jay” Carpenter’s lifeless body near the Cherokee Landing State Park area of Lake Tenkiller on December 7, 2001.

The state medical examiner determined the 65-year-old woman died from a blow to the chest. She last was seen leaving a bar in downtown Tahlequah the day before.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist with the search for Carpenter’s killer.

If you have information about Carpenter’s 2001 murder, call the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568.

Image of Deborah Cordell in Cherokee County case

Deborah Cordell

Tahlequah, 2003

Tahlequah authorities suspected someone Deborah Cordell knew beat her to death in her Cort Mall apartment. That’s where her badly-bludgeoned body was found on July 21, 2003. The state medical examiner determined the 49-year-old woman’s death was caused by blunt force trauma.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist with the search for Cordell’s killer. They determined she was attacked inside her apartment during the morning of July 20. They did not believe the killer or killers were motivated by robbery.

If you have information about Cordell’s 2003 murder, call the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568.

Jack and Elaine Denney

Cherokee County, 2004

On Christmas Day, 2004, the bodies of Jack and Elaine Denney were found shot to death in their rural Cherokee County home on Iron Post Road.  It is believed that they were shot prior to that date.

Mug shots of Justin Walker 2007 and 2018

A multicounty grand jury in March 2018 found sufficient information to bring two first-degree murder indictments of Justin Walker, 32, of Tahlequah. Walker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and will begin serving his 40-year sentence upon completion of a 10-year federal sentence.

If you have information that may help investigators close this case, contact the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568.

Photo of Donna Kingston

Donna K. Kingston

Tahlequah, 1984

Donna Kay Kingston, also known as Donna Kay Dirteater, was only 18 years old when she disappeared from Tahlequah on on May 11th, 1984.

Authorities learned she had met a male from Tulsa who told her she’d be able to find a better job if she moved to the city. Donna left town in a red four-door 1980 Mercury Monarch with the Oklahoma license plate CZ4818.

Donna promised to call her family once she arrived in Tulsa but was never heard from again. Her vehicle was never recovered.

According to the website “Find the Missing”, operated by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), Kingston, an American Indian, was 5′ 4″ – 5′ 5″ tall and 160 – 165 lbs when she went missing. She would be 53 years old as of this posting in 2018.

Call the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568 if you have information about Kingston.

Photos of Paul Knight

Paul Knight

Tahlequah, 2017

Paul Knight was last seen walking on Highway 62, east of Tahlequah, at about 7:45 a.m. on July 12, 2017. He was leaving an assisted living facility where he left his cellphone and medications. 

According to the website “Find the Missing,” operated by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), Knight was wearing denim overalls,a dark-colored t-shirt and tan ball cap the last time he was seen.

News on 6 covered Knight’s disappearance in July of 2017.

If you know anything about Paul Knight’s whereabouts, call the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at (918) 456-2583, the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s tipline at (918) 772-7568.

No photo available

Billy Ray Knott

Welling, 1995

The body of Billy Ray Knott was discovered in the Illinois River on July 12, 1995.

The state medical examiner determined the cause of death was drowning, but the manner of death was later ruled suspicious.

Knott was known to have been boating with friends when a fight broke out. Investigators are seeking information from anyone with information about what happened. If you have information you believe is helpful, contact the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s tipline at (918) 772-7568.

Photo of David Lewis

David Lewis

Park Hill, 2017

David Lewis disappeared from the Park Hill area of Cherokee County on April 28, 2017.

According to the website “Find the Missing,” operated by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), Lewis was last seen on April 28 walking down Keeler Drive away from his home.
The NamUs site says Lewis is an American Indian male, 5′ 10″ – 5′ 11″ tall, 175 – 190 pounds. He has long brown hair and possibly a beard. He was 43 years old at the time he went missing.

Photo of David Lewis tattoos
Lewis has several distinctive tattoos, including a green dragon on his upper right arm, and a naked woman on each side of his chest. Lewis is also missing one of his front teeth.

If you have information that might lead investigators to David Lewis, contact the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s tipline at (918) 772-7568.

No photo available

Jackyie Tarrance

Welling, 2002

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation joined the search for Jackyie Tarrance’s killer after the 50-year-old’s bullet-riddled body was found in his pickup truck (below) in April of 2002.  His family last saw him alive and well at his home near Welling on April 24.

Image of burgundy Chevy owned by Jackyie TarranceThe burgundy Chevy was parked at the entrance to the Boudinot Cemetery in Cherokee County.

Anyone with information is asked to call Cherokee County sheriff’s office at (918) 456-2583, the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568.

Photo of Yancey

Jessie Yancey

Cherokee County, 1994

Jessie  Yancey was 27 years old when he disappeared around May 28, 1994. Authorities believe he was murdered in an area near Highway 10 in Cherokee County.

Yancey’s body has never been recovered.

According to the website “Find the Missing,” operated by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), Yancey was last seen on or about May 28.
The NamUs site says Yancey, American Indian male, was 5′ 7″ to 5′ 8″ inches tall, 195 – 205 pounds when he went missing. He has long brown hair and a full beard. He was 27 years old at the time and would be 52 as of this posting in 2018.

Yancey has large scar on his right hand between his middle and ring fingers. He also has a tattoo of a half moon with a lit cigarette in its mouth.

Anyone who may know the location of his body is asked to contact the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department at (918) 456-2583, the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s anonymous tipline at (918) 772-7568.

Innocente Yanez "Shawn"

Tahlequah, 1998

Tahlequah authorities suspect foul play in the disappearance of Innocente “Shawn” Yanez in January of 1998.

According to the website “Find the Missing,” operated by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), Yanez’s mother returned home to find her son gone. She never heard from him again.

Family members believe the 26-year-old father would never leave his children behind.  Described as an American Indian / Alaska Native male, 6’2″ tall and 180 pounds at the time, Yanez would be 46 years old as of this posting in 2018.

If you have information that might lead investigators to Yanez, contact the OSBI at (800) 522-8017, or the District 27 District Attorney’s tipline at (918) 772-7568.

We need your help

If you have information about any of these unsolved crimes or any other major crimes in Cherokee County, please call the the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or the District 27 District Attorney’s tipline at (918) 772-7568.