Jackson man to give DNA samples for '82 murder case

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Twenty-one years after their mother's murder, Don and Gary Call are still waiting on answers.

When Margie Call, 57, was found dead in her bedroom in her Brink Street home in January 1982, police called it an "obvious homicide" but wouldn't release details of her injuries or the crime scene until well after the autopsy report was released.

Gary Call, 53, of Licking, Mo., said the recent effort to compare DNA from suspects to evidence from the crime scene may reveal who killed his mother but probably not why. One of the suspects, Roger L. McIntyre, 38, of Jackson, was ordered by a judge to submit samples today. Another man submitted samples last month.

"You'd like some closure to this and we never had any," Call said. "It was quite staggering to hear the news about the DNA evidence. It's kind of a wait-and-see thing now."

The widow's body was discovered by her brother, Albert Bertling, who died a few years ago. "He never would tell me what he found," said Don Call, 54, of Strafford, Mo.

More than two weeks passed before police revealed Margie Call was struck on the head, bound and gagged before she was strangled to death. They hesitated confirming she was sexually assaulted until June 1982, when Mildred Wallace, 65, was found dead in her William Street home in 10 blocks away. Wallace died of a gunshot to the head, but other circumstances were strikingly similar.

"I would like to release more information, but as we've said before, there are certain things that only we and the perpetrator know and we just can't give out that information," said former chief of detectives Michael B. Seib in a Feb. 12, 1982, Southeast Missourian article.

More revealed

Now police are sharing more about the killings and the suspects. During a recent court hearing over an investigative subpoena for evidence, investigators said the killings were likely done by the same person or persons.

They described the FBI profile of the killer -- a young white male who lived within walking distance, probably knew the victims and made obscene phone calls. Several young men who lived within a 2-mile radius were considered suspects.

Detective Jim Smith said hair, blood and semen were left on the victims by the perpetrator and such items could be used for DNA testing. McIntyre was 17 in 1982 and lived near both victims.

Like his brother, Don Call wants closure, too. But he doesn't want the wrong man convicted.

"Part of me wants it to be that it was him, just so that it would be done," he said of McIntyre. "But of course if he didn't do it, I don't want him to go to prison for it."

For at least a year, police kept in regular contact with the Call family, letting them know when they had another strong suspect or theory, he said. As the casebook pages yellow with age, chances of finding a killer grow slim.

"The more time that passes, the odds go down quite a bit that they'll ever catch someone," Gary Call said. "And after all this time, that's where the DNA comes into play. It's a tremendous piece of evidence, and I'm glad they're using it. It's quite exciting really, and we hope they catch somebody."

Giving up DNA

On Monday, McIntyre said he stalled giving up his DNA because he wanted to know exactly what it was going to be used for. After reading comments from Call's niece, Margie Sewing, in Saturday's Southeast Missourian, McIntyre believes the family may see him as guilty because he at first refused to cooperate.

"I'm just like the victim's families -- I want closure, too," he said. "I don't want these people thinking I killed their aunt. I'm not a murderer."

McIntyre intends to prove he was not in town when Wallace was killed by showing investigators paperwork that would place him as serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Waiting with the investigators for the DNA test results are the remaining Call family members, all hoping the results will answer their lingering questions.

"It still haunts us and bothers us," Don Call said. "Part of me hopes the guy who did it is dead and is not out there doing it again."

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: