A Georgia county cold case unit solves the 1972 murder of a 9-year-old girl

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — The more than 50-year mystery of who killed a young Georgia girl has been solved, authorities said.

Cobb County District Attorney Flynn D. Broady Jr. confirmed at a news conference Monday that the killer of 9-year-old Debbie Lynn Randall – whose body was found Jan. 29, 1972 – was William B. Rose, 24, of Mableton was.

Investigators said the then-third-grader was on her way home from a laundromat about a half-block away on Jan. 13, 1972, when she was kidnapped, raped and strangled to death. A nearly citywide search for Randall was launched, involving approximately 4,000 volunteers. A group of Southern Tech students found her remains 16 days later.

Marietta police unsuccessfully pursued hundreds of leads. In October 2001, investigators sent a hair taken from Randall’s body for DNA testing. The Cobb County Cold Case Unit received the case in 2015. In May of that year, an item of Randall’s clothing was sent for updated testing. Both pieces of evidence were then used to create a partial profile of a suspect. After many years, a familial DNA profile was found. Rose’s body was exhumed and DNA testing confirmed he was responsible for Randall’s death.

Rose committed suicide in 1974, two years after Randall’s murder, authorities said.

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At the press conference, Broady expressed sympathy for Randall’s parents, who were unable to learn that the case had been solved. Randall’s mother, Juanita, died of leukemia in 2018; Her father John died in 2022.

“The loss of a loved one, especially one so young, is difficult to understand. This family has waited decades for an answer. “This information will not replace the pain of the loss of Debbie Lynn,” Broady said.

Randall’s brother spoke briefly with reporters from WSB-TV reported.

“I wish my mom was here, but I know she’s in heaven now and it’s finally over and we want to thank you all for making this day happen,” Marvin Randall said.

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Brian Ashcraft

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