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The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

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The Cold Case of Aurora White

Unsolved crime leads to changes in investigation process
The+Cold+Case+of+Aurora+White

Neighbors noticed flames and smoke coming from 26-year-old Aurora White’s home on March 1, 1990, at 1417 S. Jackson St. around 9:30 p.m. Responders quickly worked to extinguish the fire, then found what they hoped they would not. White’s charred remains. 

“Some people were walking in the area and saw [the] smoke and flames went to the door and tried to holler in and see if anybody was there and didn’t get any response,” Erick Bohannon, Potter-Randall Special Crimes Lt. from myhighplains.com said. 

White’s remains were found lying on a daybed on the westward side of the house, fire officials initially thought an ignited cigarette on the mattress sparked the deadly fire. They deduced her death was a tragic accident. 

“She was extremely badly burned,” Potter-Randall Special Crimes Lt. Gary Trupe from amarillo.com said. “There was nothing they could do to save her.” 

A routine autopsy later determined that White died of a stab wound to her upper torso, unlike their original theory. Police concluded that someone set the fire in a tedious attempt to cover up the malicious homicide, with evidence showing that the killer poured accelerant around the area where White died. 

“I just don’t think there’s any indication she was alive,” Trupe said. “She died from the stab wound. That’s bad enough. I would hope she wasn’t alive when they set that place on fire. That’s just adding insult to injury.” 

Witnesses reported seeing White three hours before her death at 6:30 p.m. but did not remember any details regarding what she did or whom she may have been with at the time. 

“It was about 9:30 at night, the investigators at the time were able to show where she had been up to about 6:30 so there was a period there that we can’t really explain,” Bohannon said. 

Investigators think that White may have been a robbery victim and the assailant killed her to leave no witness. They also think White possibly knew her killer. The Police had several people of interest in the case, but not enough evidence to push the topic to the next stage. White’s killer is still unknown 33 years later. 

 Since her murder, law enforcement changed how they investigate these types of deaths. Back in the ‘90s, the Special Crimes Unit did not get contacted for fire-related deaths due to the common misconception that the fire was responsible for any victims. The start of White’s homicide investigation, delayed 24 hours, revealed the necessity of contacting the Special Crimes Unit and changed the protocols of a fire-related case for the better. 

According to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, “The Special Crimes Unit investigates crimes such as narcotic activity, gang activity, vice crimes, and crimes where an officer has to conduct an investigation while undercover.”

 

Quotes from: 

https://www.amarillo.com/story/news/crime/2011/06/06/police-1990-fire-likely-set-cover-womans-stabbing/13158578007/ 

https://www.myhighplains.com/news/1990-murder-of-woman-remains-unsolved/ 

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About the Contributor
Hannah Hunter, Assistant Editor
Hi Barbie, I'm a Junior and an Assistant Editor. This is my third year on staff. A fun fact about me is that I'm obsessed with true crime and love writing investigative stories about mysterious cases I come across. I love writing and am really excited for this year and to get more stories written. Ka-chow.