#LindasStory: Evidence From 1973 Cold Case of 11-Year-Old's Murder

For the anniversary of Linda O'Keefe's case, the Newport Beach Police Department tweeted through the case as it happened exactly 45 years before. In Linda's voice, the NBPD narrated her final day from the moment she left her home to when her body was discovered.

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Newport Beach PD
Linda O'Keefe disappeared in July 1973 on her way home from school. She was found dead the next day in a nature preserve.
Newport Beach Police Department
"Hi. I’m Linda O’Keefe (or Linda ANN O’Keefe, if I’m in trouble with my mom). Forty-five years ago today, I disappeared from Newport Beach. I was murdered and my body was found in the Back Bay. My killer was never found. Today, I’m going to tell you my story. #LindasStory"
"Orchid Avenue. That’s the street I grew up on. It’s a small house, and we’ve lived here most of my life. At 8:00 am, I walk out my front door… and have no idea that it will be the last time. My piano teacher is giving me a ride to summer school."
Newport Beach Police Department
"I’m wearing a dress today… It’s white, with light blue flowers on it, and dark blue trim. My mom made it. She makes a lot of my clothes, and my sisters’ clothes. She’s really good at sewing, and we don’t have a lot of money for fancy store outfits anyhow."
“I’m still getting used to the schedule here. I go to Lincoln Intermediate School…which was a middle school back in 1973, although I hear it’s an elementary school now. A lot has changed between the last time I was here, and what it looks like in 2018.”
Newport Beach Police Department
"Time for another break. I have a few coins in my bag, so I head over to Richard’s Market. It’s only a block and a half away, so I can get over there and back in time for my next class."
"I'm an easy crier. Not all crying is the same, though. The last time I cried-REALLY cried-was a few months ago. We have three cats and one of them died. They told me she had cancer, but I don’t really know what that means. I missed her SO MUCH for weeks and weeks after she was gone."
Newport Beach Police Department
"Usually, I ride my bike to school. The ride home is easy, because it’s almost all downhill. But today, I got a ride to school, so no bike. I’m going to call my mom and see if she’ll pick me up, so I don’t have to walk home."
Newport Beach Police Department
"Late tonight, the police will talk to a young woman named Jannine. She and her mom are driving up Marguerite right now, and they see something they won’t forget for a long time. It’s me. And a turquoise van. The van is parked along the curb, just before the intersection of Marguerite and Inlet Drive. The front passenger door is open, and I’m standing right beside it. Jannine will remember that she sees the driver: a man, white, in his mid-20s or early 30s."
Newport Beach Police Department
"My mom also made the book bag I’m carrying. It’s red, white, and blue, with stars – and it feels very patriotic after the 4th of July. My mom made matching bags for all three of us (my sisters and me)."
Newport Beach Police Department
"Let’s see… What else can I tell you about me?? I’ve always been *really* good at tidying up. Mom says I’m like a ‘little mother’ and always keep my room very neat. Whenever I clean up, I ask her to come see. I like hearing her tell me that I did a good job."
"When my dad gets home before me, my family's worry turns into action. There’s a feeling that I’m being disobedient, not that anything is actually *wrong*. No luck. I’m a Girl Scout, and a member of the Corona del Mar Youth Center, so there’s a few places to check. I stopped going to the CdM Community Church a few months ago, but they check there too, just in case.

n"At 6:42 pm, the NBPD receives a call from a house on Orchid Avenue. Linda Ann O’Keefe is missing."
Newport Beach Police Department
"Officers are searching everywhere. Back then, there were vacant fields south of Pacific View and east of Marguerite. They search the fields, the reservoir, the neighborhoods, the streets. Nothing."
"Officers are searching Fashion Island. The Back Bay. On foot. By car. By helicopter. Jeeps are used in the places the patrol cars can’t get to. Still… nothing."
"When my big sister gets to work [the next morning], she is shocked to see the headline on the front page of the Daily Pilot: 'Girl, 11, Vanishes in Newport'.n

nLinda? Vanished? 'No, no, no,' she thinks, 'They must have it wrong.'"
"A man is looking in the ditch on the east side of Back Bay Drive, searching for frogs in the cattails. Instead, he sees something small, and pale. My hand. He sees my hand. He screams, trying to rouse me. His friends come over when they hear him screaming. Peering through the cattails, they gasp... I've been strangled."
Newport Beach Police Department
"The search for Linda Ann O’Keefe is now the search for Linda Ann O’Keefe’s killer. Was it someone I knew? A stranger? The man in the van? There are so many questions."
"There will be theories, and a sketch of a ‘person of interest’, but my murder will eventually become a cold case. NBPD detectives still look at my file, interview people who saw me or knew me, follow leads… but the trails lead nowhere."
"But now, 45 years later, I have a voice again. And I have something important to say. There is a new lead in my case: a face. A face that comes from DNA that the killer left behind. It’s technology that didn’t exist back in 1973, but it might change everything today."
Newport Beach Police Department
"If you can help find my killer, please call the NBPD’s Cold Case Tip Line at 949-644-3669. And please share my story... all it takes is for one person out there to recognize his face, even after all these years."
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