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The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office says the murder of Phyliss O’Brien Carson, who was from Newfoundland and Labrador, will be one of the cold cases it looks into.
The California department emailed The Telegram Wednesday after a news feature on O’Brien Carson’s case was published. The Telegram had sent messages to the department a couple weeks ago and in previous years.
The case is on the list of two cold case officers tackling 200 unsolved homicides and 150 missing-person cases and sexual assault cases dating back to 1964.
“There isn’t an exact date or time frame as to when that will happen, as they will be looking at all of the cold cases with a fresh set of eyes, public information officer Sandra Mendez said of O’Brien Carson’s case.
“No case is more important than the other and they plan on seeing if new technology can be applied in hopes of solving these crimes. With hard work and determination, our hope is to bring these cold cases to a resolution.”
O’Brien Carson’s daughter, Melissa Carson, meanwhile, has not yet been contacted by the unit.
She has been a vigilant advocate for solving her mother’s 1970 murder in French Camp, Calif., lobbying the state to issue a reward for anyone who provides information that solves the case.
O’Brien Carson was 18 when she left Stephenville in the late 1950s to marry an American serviceman, who has since died, but passed a polygraph test after his wife's rape and murder.
Carson remains frustrated and said she passed on a recent tip from a former resident of French Camp whose brother was implicated in rapes and knew her family. That man is now deceased and she has no idea if the lead was followed up. He had helped her father build chicken coops. His sister, who was friends with Carson's older sister, contacted Carson out of the blue.
Carson wants the sheriff's office to test the woman's DNA to see if he was responsible or can be ruled out.
“I feel and I have found lately they are not doing anything. That it is sitting on somebody's desk,” she said of opportunities to solve the case.
On Oct. 26, 1970, 32-year-old O’Brien Carson, a mother of four, was reported missing by her husband after she failed to return home from a local bar in French Camp.
Her body was discovered by hunters on a rural road four weeks later.
She had disappeared from the truckstop bar that late October night after telling family she was getting a ride home with a friend.
O’Brien Carson was out for the evening with a couple of in-laws and had apparently called home to check on her children before she and her relatives went their separate ways.
No one ever came forward to report who the “unknown male” was that O’Brien Carson left with or to offer any other clues to the crime. Her capri pants found at the scene were turned inside out, indicating that she might have been raped. DNA tests — when technology allowed — resulted in no usable evidence.