35-Year Old Fresno Murder Case Goes Cold Again

September 28, 2009 7:50:53 PM PDT
The trail in a 35-year old murder case goes cold again. Murder charges have been dismissed against the man investigators believed murdered Debra Curb.Investigators found Curb's body in 1974. Just two years ago, they arrested and charged James Blaylock for her murder, but in a surprise move early Monday morning, the DA's office dropped the charges.

Blaylock is not walking out of jail because he is facing other unrelated criminal charges. Investigators actually used d-n-a evidence to arrest him for Curb's murder, but Blaylock's defense team used the same technology to clear his name.

Defense Investigator Janet Pirie took a second look at the evidence surrounding Debra Curb's murder. DNA technicians even tested the necklace worn around the girl's neck. Pirie says no exact match came back to her client Blaylock. Pirie said, "There were hairs that were tested as well. But there were actually no physical marks or anything done to the body that showed signs of rape."

The district attorney dropped the murder charge against Blaylock Monday because of evidence issues. On New Years Day 1974, investigators found the teenager dead in her home on North College Ave in Fresno County. Her parents left her alone for the holiday. When Debra's parents returned home from their trip, they found their 17-year-old's body on her bedroom floor. At that time, the corner determined she was strangled and possibly sexually assaulted.

Debra's death remained unsolved until September 19, 1988, a sheriff's department report shows investigators closing the case and labeling it an "autoerotic death" meaning the girl may have suffocated while engaging in sexual activity. More than a decade later in 2004, the case was reopened and Blaylock eventually arrested.

Despite the DA dropping charges against him, the sheriff's department still considers the man their prime suspect. Deputy Chris Curtice said, "We feel that we have a suspect in it, so there may be some other work that needs to be done on it. So the investigators will have to pull everything out and go forward again."

The district attorney could re-file charges if new evidence is discovered. We are told Debra's parents are deceased but she has a sister. We were unable to reach her.

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