Ocilla Investigators Seek Answers to Cold Case Murder - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ocilla Investigators Seek Answers to Cold Case Murder

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Ocilla Police Department Ocilla Police Department
Det. Doug Douglas, Ocilla Police Department and Arlenda Roberts, Victim's Mother Det. Doug Douglas, Ocilla Police Department and Arlenda Roberts, Victim's Mother
Arlenda Roberts standing where her daughter's body was found at 805 E. 7th St. Arlenda Roberts standing where her daughter's body was found at 805 E. 7th St.
Arlenda Roberts crouching over her daughter's grave stone Arlenda Roberts crouching over her daughter's grave stone
Det. Doug Douglas, Ocilla Police Department Det. Doug Douglas, Ocilla Police Department
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OCILLA, GA (WALB) -

An Ocilla murder case, nearly four decades old, is getting new attention from investigators.

Ocilla Police Department detectives say they have some new leads that could help identify the killer of a 7-year-old girl. And they're turning to the public for additional information on the 1976 case, hoping to bring some closure for the victim's family.

Faleshia LaFrance Battle was suffocated and dumped in her neighbor's garden before she was found four days after her disappearance. The badly decomposed remains and limited information left detectives struggling to fill in the blanks, but detectives said some new information and technology could hold the key to the 37-year mystery.

Arlenda Roberts has been visiting her daughter's grave every week for nearly 40 years. She said her life was destroyed when her daughter disappeared on April 19, 1976, and all she's left with are unanswered questions.

"It's been like a living nightmare. I mean, it's rough. It made me a very angry person. A lot of resentment, a lot of bitterness, and it's just as if my baby was killed an forgotten," said Arlenda Roberts, the victim's mother.

She said she still cries when she thinks about who her daughter could have become, and has even faced accusations for the murder.

"When I get into an altercation or disagreement with somebody, they always tell me 'You murderer! You killed your child!' And I just want some closure. I really want some closure so people...'case there's still some people right her in Ocilla who feel that I killed my child," Roberts said.

No suspects were ever identified, but Roberts is working with investigators to retrace steps and point out where the body was found.

Police reopened the case in 2011, and say some recent tips may be pointing them in the right direction.

"There's promising leads and more information coming in. And we're hoping that this is going to provide more information that will produce more leads and direction for us to go in," said Det. Doug Douglas, Ocilla Police Department.

Douglas said many in the public are still seeking answers, and says the killer will be brought to justice.

"You know, something like this with a child 7 years old is horrific in a community. You don't get over it, you never forget it, and these people have carried it with them. So the people that have come forward to talk about it, it's something that they think about day-day," Douglas said.

He said he's working hard to finally bring closure to the victim's mother, and is certain the body was purposely placed just a few hundred yards away from the victim's house.

Douglas said investigators still have lots of questions they're trying to work through. He also urges anyone with any information on the case to contact the Ocilla Police Department at (229)468-7494.

A $500 reward is being offered to anyone with information that could lead to an arrest.

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