On Sunday, August 24, 1975, Deborah Sue Williamson went out to dinner with her parents. After dining until around 8:30 p.m., they dropped the eighteen-year-old off at her Lubbock, Texas, home where she lived with her husband, Doug, who had been married for less than three months. Doug wasn’t home when Deborah returned from dinner because he worked the night shift at a nearby pizzeria. After a while of television watching, she called Doug at work and said she would come over later to visit while he was finishing his shift. She did not make it to the pizzeria.
Doug didn’t worry too much when Deborah didn’t arrive. He surmised that she might have chosen to stay at home because she was engrossed in whatever TV show she was watching. At around ten o’clock at night, he called the house but got no answer. He returned to work, assuming that Debbie had changed her mind and gone to her parents’ nearby house for a while.
About one in the morning, Doug completed cleaning up the restaurant and made his way to the couple’s house, which was close to the pizza place. Doug was horrified to find his wife’s battered body lying in the carport when he arrived. Her mur*der had been brutal.
Doug was obviously shocked, but he called for assistance right away. Doug was only able to stutter, “My wife…she’s been raped,” as he pointed to Deborah’s still body when the first police officer arrived at the scene. Her blouse was unbuttoned, her pants and underwear were half-down, and she was lying on her back between her car and a wall. There was a pool of blood around her and she had been sta*bbed more than a dozen times.
Debbie was sta*bbed 17 times in total, according to the medical examiner, in her back, arms, torso, cheek, and scalp. She didn’t seem to have been se*xually assaulted, despite the fact that she was only partially dressed when she was discovered. When her husband discovered her, it was estimated that she had been dead for about three hours, which would put her death around 10:00 pm.
Debbie’s injuries were likely caused by a knife of some kind, Lubbock Police Sgt. F.C. Hargrave told reporters, but the mu*rder weapon had not been discovered at the scene. At this point, I’m unable to discern any sort of motive. Undoubtedly, it was a brutal murd*er.
Search warrants were issued for the couple’s home in an attempt to uncover any information that might identify the murd*erer. They discovered that there was shattered glass all over the house’s floor and that one of the kitchen windows had been broken. Since there was no blood discovered inside, it’s possible that Debbie had fled into the carport before being attacked.
Debbie’s ki*ller seemed to have ambushed her just as she was about to head to the pizza parlor. Detectives discovered her car keys, a pen, and a crossword book on the ground next to her body. She enjoyed doing crossword puzzles while she waited for her husband to get home from work. While some loose change was discovered close by, Debbie’s purse—which had held about $120 in cash—was gone.
Authorities alerted the public to the possibility that the mu*rder suspect would discard Debbie’s missing purse after searching it for cash. It was a faded blue color, holding her checkbook with individualized checks, some personal documents, and a wallet the color of rust.
Since nothing was taken from within the house and Debbie was still wearing her wedding rings and wristwatch when she was found, burglary did not seem to be the reason behind the mu*rder. Her car was undamaged and locked. When police got to the scene, Doug said that Debbie would never have left the back door unlocked. Normally, when she left the house, she would make sure the door was locked.
Sgt. Hargrave informed reporters on Monday that detectives were making every effort to solve the heinous crime. “In order to find out if neighbors heard or saw anything, we have canvassed the neighborhood twice.” A few hours before the m*urder, a neighbor claimed to have seen an enormous car that he didn’t recognize parked in Debbie’s driveway; however, it was unclear if the car had anything to do with the crime. Debbie’s parents dropped her off at the house at 8:30 p.m.; there had been no strange cars in the neighborhood.
After being ruled out as a suspect in his wife’s mur*der, Doug was devastated by her passing. He complied completely with investigators and multiple witnesses were able to attest to his presence at the pizza parlor at the time of the m*urder. “It is beyond me who would do that…Whoever it was had to know that she was at home alone and that I was at work.
Two days after Debbie’s death, a knife with an eight-inch blade was discovered in the middle of a Lubbock highway, prompting someone to call the police. Detectives declined to speculate as to whether or not the knife was the mur*der weapon; instead, they sent it to the Texas Department of Safety crime lab for analysis as evidence.
According to detectives, fingernail scrapings from Debbie’s body were also collected, and these were forwarded to the crime lab. They searched the crime scene extensively for tire tracks, footprints, and fingerprints but came up empty-handed. “There are no fingerprints or footprints that we can tie to somebody,” Sergeant Hargrave acknowledged. Even whether the prints are usable is unknown to us.
Capt. Wayne Love of the Lubbock Police Department informed reporters Thursday night that following the mur*der, the Williamson family’s wedding photo album had vanished. “There’s no doubt the album was at the house on the mur*derous night.” Although he believed that it might have been taken by a kind-hearted relative, he asked the public to keep a look out in case the murd*erer had taken it.
No progress on the case was made over the course of several weeks. The mu*rderer eluded authorities despite hundreds of interviews and polygraph tests being administered to a number of people. Newspaper reporters were informed by one detective that the case was becoming less and less likely to be solved; all leads had been followed, and they were still unable to identify Debbie’s ki*ller. Investigators did their best, but the case quickly became unsolvable.
Detectives reopened their investigation into Debbie’s m*urder in July 1979. Investigators hoped that by offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the k*iller’s arrest and conviction, a local non-profit organization would encourage someone to come forward with the tip they needed to identify the k*iller. Lieutenant Doyle Nelson of the Lubbock Police Department stated, “A lot of the puzzle pieces are in place. However, someone out there has the extra knowledge needed to connect the dots and crack this case. Unfortunately, not many tips came in, and the case again stalled.
After 25 years as chief, J.T. Alley retired from Lubbock Police Department in 1983. One of his regrets, he told reporters, was that Debbie’s mur*der had eluded the department’s investigation. We examined lead after lead and the device has file after file. Each of them ended in a dead end.
Police charged Henry Lee Lucas with Debbie’s mur*der in May 1984, but he was already being prosecuted in numerous other cases across the country. While he liked the fact that detectives would bring him junk food to enjoy during his interviews, Henry eventually admitted that he had falsely confessed to over 600 murd*ers, some of which had occurred thousands of miles apart on the same day. Despite this, detectives still believed that Henry was the real culprit.
Bob Lemons, Debbie’s stepfather, never thought Henry was the one who k*illed her. “Henry’s willingness to confess is being used by the Lubbock Police Department to close the case.” He emphasized that Henry’s admission of the mu*rder was inconsistent with the case’s facts. “I don’t think he was involved in any way. A mur*derer is at large in the world.
Henry admitted to the police that Debbie’s house had been olive green when it had actually been white. He stated he went in through the back patio door, but the Williamson’s back door was unusable because of a piece of furniture. In addition, he stated that Debbie had not been se*xually assaulted and had been ki*lled outside, but that he had followed her around the house before raping and k*illing her in the bedroom. Additionally, there was proof that Henry was in Maryland when Debbie was mur*dered.
It took more than a year for authorities to agree to examine Henry’s confession despite the discrepancies. The charges against Henry for Debbie’s mur*der were dropped in August 1985 after Lubbock criminal district attorney Jim Bob Darnell declared there was insufficient evidence to bring Henry to trial.
In November 1986, Lubbock police declared that they were resuming their investigation into Debbie’s death because there was no proof that Henry was the murde*rer. After going over the whole case file, they acknowledged that they had no suspects in mind, and the investigation quickly came to a standstill.
The identity of Debbie’s k*iller is still unknown as of April 2023. Debbie’s sister, Liz Flatt, was optimistic that the new detective assigned by the Lubbock Police Department in 2021 would finally be able to bring Debbie’s case to justice. A private laboratory received the case’s evidence in January 2022 and tested it for DNA. “We won’t know if DNA has been found on any of the evidence or not until the results come in,” Liz said. The identity of Debbie’s mu*rderer may finally be revealed if DNA is discovered.
In August of 1975, Deborah Sue Williamson, then just eighteen years old, was brutally mur*dered in Lubbock, Texas. Detectives are certain that her spouse was not involved in the crime, even though they had only been married for less than three months at the time of her death. In 1984, Henry Lee Lucas gave a false confession to the murd*er of Debbie, but as soon as the authorities discovered he was lying, they dropped all charges against him. In this case, there have never been any additional suspects. Please contact Crime Line at 806-741-1000 or the Lubbock Police Department at 806-775-2865 if you have any information regarding Debbie’s mur*der.