Cold Case Files: Double Homicide in Northeast Dallas

Paula Zickefoose and her brother Talmadge were found dead in her apartment in 1984.

On January 16, 1984, Paula Marie Zickefoose and her brother, Talmadge Willard Jenkins, were found dead in her apartment near Skillman Street and Northwest Highway. Zickefoose, 38, was in bed with an open magazine next to her. She had been shot once. Jenkins, 31, suffered multiple gunshot and stab wounds. Police theorized Jenkins had walked in on the murder of his sister.

Initially, investigators were hopeful that they’d be able to solve the crime. They had managed to lift a very clear fingerprint from the scene. But none of the evidence collected led to an arrest. 

The Dallas Police Department’s Homicide Unit still has an open case file on the double homicide, and—as the Lakewood Advocate reported last year—members of the Dallas Police Reserve are taking a closer look. The Reserve is made up of retired police officers as well as moonlighting legal and medical professionals. Members of the 60-year-old group must spend at least 16 hours a month on police work.

One of them is retired police detective Ron Pettie. Pettie dedicates 50 to 60 hours a month to the cold cases that sit in binders on his desk, including the murders of Zickefoose and her brother. He told the Advocate that he believes the fingerprints found at the scene in 1984 should be retested with today’s technology, which could help find a suspect.

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