Best friends beaten to death in North Portland home
A wall in the front room of Bambi Thompson's Portland home is covered with dozens of family photos. They include aunts, grandsons, cousins and one sister who's been gone for 38 years.
'She didn't even get a chance to know her own kids, you know,' says Bambi, Delores Thompson's sister.
Clark Thompson was only 7 when his mother, Delores, was murdered. He has few memories of his mother. 'And the last memory I have of her was two caskets,' says Clark.
Fox 12 is doing a series on unsolved murders being reviewed by the Portland Police Bureau's Cold Case Homicide Unit. KPTV reporter Nicole Doll spent weeks looking at the unit's files. Here is her most recent report, which was broadcast Thursday on the 10 O'clock news.
Two caskets, two young women, their lives snuffed out on a tree-lined street in North Portland. One was 27-year-old Delores. The other was 21-year-old Gwendolyn Fulce, her best friend.
'And wherever Poochie went - Poochie, that's my sister - wherever Poochie went, then Gwen was there, you know,' says Bambi.
Investigators say the two women were murdered on Sept. 8, 1973. Their bodies were discovered by the father of Delores' 2 1/2-year-old son, Ronnie. The father came to her rented home in the 500 block of North Ivy Street to pick up the boy. He found the two young women bludgeoned to death, the child left with the bodies. Investigators say the toddler was the only witness.
'He was laying on a couch near one of the victims. The victims were in different rooms, and unfortunately, the father had to search for his son because his concern was if his son was also a victim,' says Portland police Det. Meredith Hopper.
The killer or killers had spared the child, but the Thompson family says their emotional wounds run deep.
'I go through my little, you know, during their anniversaries and Mother's Day and her birthday, I go through little withdrawals from family,' says Teresa Tigner, Delores' daughter.
Police say both women had drug issues, but don't know if that's relevant to their murders.
Such an old case presents unique challenges for Hopper, who wasn't born when the crime happened. 'It's also interesting, it's like a history type of lesson because you kind of get a feel for what was going on at the time, and what was going on in their lives at the time,' says Hopper.
The motive for the murders remains unknown. Forensic evidence is now being re-examined with new technology. But Hopper needs someone who had a theory or heard a rumor about the murders, a lead detectives haven't followed before.
As for little Ronnie, he's now 41. His family is still haunted by the brutality of the crime.
'How would you feel if your momma didn't make it to 30?' Clark asks. 'I just want justice to be served, you know what I'm saying. They took my mother away from me.'
If you have information about this case, call CrimeStoppers, 503-823-HELP (4357). A $1,000 reward is available and you can remain anonymous. There's also a link on the Fox 12 website, www.kptv.com .
• Next week on Fox 12's Most Wanted Cold Case Unit: a 42-year-old Portland man vanishes. Police find evidence of Mark Dribin's murder, but no body. How do investigators track a killer without a body?