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Denise Palmer was killed in 1981 while attempting to sell her wedding dress

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Denise Palmer's gravestone in Graham Memorial Cemetery, Pryor.
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TULSA, Okla. -- This Red Dirt Report reporter didn't know her, but saw her beauty and heard it when she sang at a wedding in 1978. Her melodic voice has never been forgotten, but she sings no more. Patricia Denise (Siever) Palmer was murdered in Tulsa in 1981, and the crime remains unsolved.

Known as "Denise," the young bride advertised in a Tulsa newspaper the selling of her wedding dress in the hopes of multiplying her and her husband's house-buying fund. A man called her mother, whose number was listed, on Nov. 15 about the ad. Two days later, Denise left work alone, though several co-workers offered to accompany her, to meet the man at her mother's home on Sandusky Avenue.

On that day, a man was seen on the porch with Denise holding her wedding dress.

“The subject was described as a white male 5'10"-6' tall, 180-190 pounds. The subject's vehicle parked in the driveway was a black over dark blue 1972-74 Chevrolet Impala.

The vehicle had an Oklahoma license plate. The vehicle was very clean, possible recently repainted. A chrome dealer decal was on the left side of the bottom of the trunk lid.

"The vehicle may have had a black CB antenna mounted in the center of the trunk lid, or a fully extended radio antenna that was bent back over the top of the vehicle," as is described in the tulsapolice.org information.

Construction workers in the neighborhood at the time helped police to create a composite sketch of the man.

A 1996 Tulsa World article reported that the man appeared to have a birthmark or some other type of skin blotch on the left side of his face.

When Denise's mother couldn't reach her later that afternoon, a neighbor checked on her.

What she found was a 19-year-old, recently married, murdered woman lying in the bathtub. She had been sexually assaulted, strangled, and drowned.

“Police said they theorize Mrs. Palmer's slayer first raped her, then grasped her neck in his hands and held her under water," states a newsok.com article.

In another 1981 Daily Oklahoman story, a neighbor described hearing a cry.

“A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said she heard screams about 11:30 a.m. 'I was working in the kitchen and I heard this screaming,’ she said. ‘I thought it was some children. I found out later it wasn't.’”

DNA evidence was collected at the scene, according to a tulsapeople.com story.  Semen evidence collected at the scene was destroyed from being stored in a test tube.

But the Newson6.com 2007 story relates that DNA was gathered from gum found in the bathtub.

In a 2007 NewsOn6.com article calling for help in solving the case, the crime scene was described.

“She and the attacker struggled all the way down the hallway, leaving a trail of blood smudges on the walls and edge of the bathtub.”

Red Dirt Report recently spoke with Randy Palmer who had been married to Denise for six months when she was killed.

“Denise was very sweet. She was a little shy and a trusting person. I don't think she thought twice about showing the dress alone,” he said.

Randy Palmer said he was contacted to give a DNA sample about 15 years ago and isn't aware of any new leads.

“I didn't go in the house, so I don't really know about the scene. I was at work, and someone called and said I needed to go to my in-laws' house that afternoon," he said.

In a recent phone conversation with Detective Eddie Majors of the Tulsa Police Department, he related to RDR that tests were run on other evidence, but nothing new came from the results.

“What we need could just be a phone call away,” Majors said.

"She was a very good singer and sang at a lot of weddings," Palmer said. She shared her voice with others on their special day, but law enforcement agents haven't heard from someone who could help solve this Oklahoma mystery.

She is buried in the Graham Memorial Cemetery in Pryor. One friend left this comment at findagrave.com:

“You will never be forgotten sweet friend. I think of you often. Your extraordinary beauty, talent and laughter are still fresh in my mind after all these years. It's easy to see you as an angel. I pray you sleep in heavenly peace."

To provide any new information about Denise's murder, contact Detective Eddie Majors at the Tulsa Police Department 918-596-9133.

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About the Author

Roxann Perkins Yates

Roxann Perkins is a teacher, writer, poet, and an amateur smartphone photographer. She lives in...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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