Cold Case: Who Killed Patricia Webb?

By: Dave Roberts
By: Dave Roberts

It's the only unsolved murder in the history of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office. The only case in the way of a perfect record.

Someone shot and killed Patricia Webb in 1974.

Now, nearly 4 decades later, the lead investigator on the case believes he can still catch her killer.

"We have to keep a very open mind and not get sucked into that, you know, down the wrong path. There's so many paths that this investigation did take," says Captain Gary Juilfs.

So far, the known paths all lead to dead ends.

A boyfriend, a lover, a serial killer even the mafia.

All theories posed by previous investigators except Captain Juilfs.

"There were over 5,000 documents that we needed to go through and organize so that we can wrap our head around where the investigation had gone."

On April 20, 1974, a cattle farmer found Patricia Webb's naked, bullet riddled body, buried under a haystack at a farm south of Lincoln.

The 24-year-old, often describe as a fun loving free spirit, went missing two days earlier from her job at the Adult Book and Cinema Store in downtown Lincoln.

"She was supposed to testify that day after she disappeared. She didn't show up and that's what started the search for her," says Juilfs.

At first it appeared to be retaliation, for her upcoming court testimony and work as a police informant to help catch drug dealers.

"It's the only unsolved homicide in the county."

Now with all the evidence in hand the case is as hot as it's ever been. While photos paint a picture of the crime scene 38 years ago it also displays the difficulties facing investigators today.

Deputies and Officers, handling evidence without gloves, never foreseeing the future of DNA and forensic technology.

"Just things that we do differently now that would have been done then. I am not belittling the people that worked on the case back then. It's just the way things were."

Now, the way things are, advancements in DNA detection may be the break needed to turn this cold case into a closed case.
"We're hoping that some of the physical evidence that remains we've examined can give us some further clues to go forth with."

The best piece of evidence is a quilted extra large jacket, from Gooch's feed mill.
The maker only produced 143.

"If someone recalls having a jacket at one time or someone that may have had a jacket at on time from Gooches mill, we're talking 40 years ago, that's about impossible, but that would be a great help."

Your help is what police need most. Maybe it's something you saw or someone you know. Any new fact may be the final piece to this puzzle.

"There's a lot of things when I look at the investigation that I wish were more recent things that would be beneficial for us to know now."

Juilfs believes the killer is still alive and out there. Unlike young Patricia Webb. A woman smiling in every photograph, taken from this world, before her time.

If you known something that can bring closure for Patricia's family and the investigators who spent thousands of hours working the case this is your chance to make a difference.

Call Crimestoppers at 402-475-3600. Tips can remain anonymous. Up to a thousand dollar reward is being offered for help that leads to an arrest.


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