“I said, ‘Is she alright? Can I see her?’ and when he [a police officer] shook his head no, I just blocked out everything. I didn’t want to hear the rest of what was going to be said to me,” her mother recalled.
The heinous act completely baffled authorities, who could not find any motive for the murder of Tracey– a hard-working and beloved teen.
Investigators also found that no money was stolen from the store, there was no murder weapon left behind, and Tracey had not been assaulted.
This led them to question for months if she had been murdered by someone she knew or possibly a passerby traveling through the city.
However, three months after Tracey’s death, investigators got their first break in the case. A national confession hotline received a call from a man who admitted to the crime. The call was recorded and forwarded to Frederick police.
“Hello, my name is Don, and I am calling from Frederick, Maryland. I know this is going to sound surprising, but three months ago, I stabbed a girl to death, and you might think that in making this tape, I am setting myself up to be caught. But, there are a lot of guys named Don in Frederick,” the man began.
“The girl I killed was working in a ladies’ sportswear store. I often came by and talked to her when she was working alone and, one night when she was in the storeroom, and we were talking, our conversation turned into an argument,” he continued.
“And so I took out a knife I have with me at all time, and I killed her. A few days later, I realized I had created a lot of sadness, and I thought about turning myself in to the police. But whatever they do to me, that won’t bring Tracey back. So, I’ve decided that I better keep free because we have the death penalty in Maryland. Thanks for listening. I’m sorry about what I did, but nothing can change it. Bye.”
And after Corporal Barry Horner heard the recording, he was shocked.
“The sincerity that I heard in that voice and the knowledge that the person was displaying, talking about what he had done, at that point convinced me that I probably was listening to the killer,” Horner revealed.
Authorities were then able to trace the call to a Walkersville, Maryland, supermarket that was just eight miles away. Horner also believed that was significant and that the killer wanted to be caught.