Tracy Holloway beaten to death in Searcy 13 years ago

    10:00 PM, Sep 1, 2010   |    comments
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    In the last 13 years, Donna Vinson has made hundreds of trips to a Searcy cemetery. "First couple of times it was pretty hard," she says.

    She visits Tracy, her daughter and best friend.

    Vinson says, "Tracy was just the life of the party a lot of times. She lit up a room."

    But on June 27, 1997, the celebrating ended.

    "It seems like it was just yesterday to me," explains Vinson.

    The night before the murder, Tracy was at the Elk Lodge in Searcy playing pool with her girlfriend. They left together about 1:30 a.m. Tracy then drove her friend home and no one would ever see her again.

    Vinson says, "This person knew they better get her from behind and they better get her good and they did."

    When Tracy didn't show up to work at a local beauty salon, her mother immediately went to check on her.

    She says, "As soon as I opened that door, I knew something was wrong because that door would have been locked."

    She found Tracy beaten to death just one day after her 30th birthday.

    Vinson says, "I know it was somebody she knew very well."

    Even though it's been more than a decade, Terri Lee with the Searcy Police Department believes this case will be solved.

    Lee explains, "We aren't giving up and we won't; the police department, we are here to serve and protect these people and protect others."

    The case file is thick. It's a puzzle with missing pieces. It could be DNA, or a clue hidden in the file just waiting to be discovered. A retired detective on the case in recent months re-organized the file for future investigators.

    Lee says, "Somebody that has never looked at it can start at the beginning and get a lot of the information and they might pick up on something that nobody has."

    Police say its likely only one person committed the crime but they have three persons of interest and there's not enough evidence to clear or charge any of them.

    DNA was tested as recently as 2007 came back inconclusive.

    "If it all pointed to one person we would have that person in custody but there is enough little circumstantial evidence to point to different people that it's just not clear," Lee explains.

    Police are also encouraged by Vinson. She stays in touch with them often just as vigilant today as 13 years ago.

    She explains, "This is on my mind every day all day long and I know that seems hard to believe but it is. I don't know how I got to today from 13 years ago."

    Her grandson, Tracy's only child, was a toddler when she died. Today he's 15.

    Vinson says, "Only two years old he didn't have too many memories but I certainly keep them alive."

    Solving the case won't bring her daughter back, but Vinson says it will allow her to start grieving.

    She's anxiously waiting for justice and peace of mind.

    Vinson adds, "She would do the same thing for me."

    If you have any information on this unsolved murder, you're urged to contact Searcy Police at 501-279-1038.

    If you know of an unsolved murder or missing persons case, email us at news@todaysthv.com

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