6 eyelet dr martens OSBI reopen Rose cold case
Darla Rose’s friends and family remember her as an individual full of life.
Everything changed when family members reported the 33 year old Hartshorne woman missing on March 30, 1990. Highway 270 and State Highway 31, west of McAlester.
Chris Morris was a teenager at the time. He personally knew Darla Rose as the sister of his uncle by marriage. The unsolved murder has continued to concern him, especially after he received a phone call from one of Rose’s now adult children shortly after he became the new Pittsburg County Sheriff in 2017.
When asked if he would look at the case again, Morris said he would but with a steady stream of new cases as well as ongoing ones, he had difficulty finding the time he wanted to devote to it.
Then one day recently, retired Assistant McAlester Police Chief and former Det. Capt. George Scott walked into the sheriff’s office.
Since his retirement 14 years ago, Scott had spent some time as a volunteer at the Pittsburg County Health Department. Now, he wanted to offer his services in another way. Scott said the McAlester area and Pittsburg County have always provided for his family, so he wanted to give something back.
“I told the sheriff I would like to volunteer,” Scott said. “He said they were looking to start a cold case investigation.”
Morris recalled the day when Scott offered his services.
“Out of the blue, George came in,” Morris said. The sheriff told Scott about the plans to restart an investigation into the Darla Rose case. He already had the thick file on the case nearby, close to his desk.
“I reached down and grabbed it,” Morris said. He handed the file to Scott, who agreed to serve as the sheriff’s cold case investigator in the capacity of a reserve deputy.
Scott soon began working with Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent John Jones while pursuing the case. Several interviews have already been conducted and more are planned.
Jones said investigators are pursuing several possibilities.
“We’re going to track down some evidence,” Jones said, referring to evidence that was taken as part of the original investigation and should still be on file.
“Technology changes,” Jones noted. He hopes to send that evidence to the OSBI lab for a new analysis using equipment and techniques not available in 1990.
Darla Rose went missing not long after she returned to McAlester on a bus on April 29, 1990, following a trip to Tulsa, Scott said. She later was seen at two local nightclubs, including the now defunct Cowboys, according to Scott. Events related to the investigation are believed to have occurred either on the night of April 29 or in the early morning hours of April 30, 1990, he said.
Investigators were told that Darla Rose went with some of her friends to their McAlester residence that night after they left Cowboys. They said she later left on foot alone, Scott said. That’s the last instance investigators have of her whereabouts until her body was found a month later, he said.
Scott was not one of the investigators on the original case, but he recalls going to the scene when Rose’s body was found.
“I remember when it happened,” he said.
As he started the new cold case investigation, Scott gathered all the information he could and got in touch with the OSBI. He and Jones are continuing to move forward with the investigation.
Scott noted that many things change with the passage of years. Some people who were not willing to share information 27 years ago may be willing to do so now, he said.
A member of Darla Rose’s family spoke with the News Capital and wanted to thank the sheriff, Scott and all those involved in reopening the investigation and making sure that the case is not forgotten.
In addition to serving as assistant police chief and a captain of detectives during his 30 years with the McAlester Police Department, Scott also became a certified polygraph examiner and a negotiator for the department.
He now plans to put all that experience to use as the cold case investigator for the sheriff’s office.
Scott said he had previously worked with Morris, as well as Undersheriff Frankie McClendon and Sheriff’s Chief of Security Loyd London while they all were at the McAlester Police Department.
“I wouldn’t have come in if it hadn’t been for them,” he said of his new role as the sheriff’s cold case investigator.
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