The details were predictably sketchy. A body found last week in rural far eastern OKC was identified as that of Alina Fitzpatrick. She was seventeen years old. Police have yet to determine if it was a homicide. One thing is certain, the cause of death wasn't old age.
She is the third teen aged girl to be found dead within a month in the metro area. Carina Saunders was the first. Her dismembered body was found in a duffel bag in a wooded area behind a suburban supermarket. The second was Kelsey Bransby. She was discovered shot in the face in a southwest side apartment.
There are similarities and there are differences. Saunders had graduated from high school, but was living on the dark fringe. Bethany police who are in charge of that investigation have said publicly she had a taste for a variety of drugs and no fixed address, or job that they could tell.
The information released about Bransby by Oklahoma City Police through the daily paper is minimum at best. She was in the same high school class as Saunders, but had dropped out a few months before graduating. She apparently lived in the apartment where she was found dying. There is no published account of how she was supporting herself.
Fitzpatrick had attended Putnam City North High School until last spring. She began to take classes over the school system's internet, Putnam City Virtual, this fall. Her parents say she left North because of bullying. School officials say they have no reports of bullying that involve her. A district spokesperson, always the careful bureaucrat, was sure to mention all the anti-bullying procedures in place there.
Saunders was last seen getting into a SUV with an older, gray haired man. Fitzpatrick was last seen when she was dropped off at an apartment complex near NW 23rd St. and Western Ave, across town from the PC North district. There is no word about what she was doing there, or who she was going to see. That was on November 4th.
If there is any evidence that all three deaths are related, the police in two different departments and the OSBI are keeping it to themselves. Credulity, however, is beginning to be stretched. Oklahoma City isn't Mayberry, but three dead teenage girls in a month, two confirmed murders and one fairly reeking of homicide, would seem to take us beyond the realm of coincidence.
Alina Fitzpatrick's parents had established a facebook page after she went missing, looking for help in trying to find their daughter. Ms. Saunders' parents had done the same thing. Kelsey Bransby's parents didn't have time to.
As the leaves dry up and fall, then scuttle away in the wind, a chill is settling in. It has nothing to do with the season. This is the chill that is never chased away by a fireplace in a warm den or living room. This is the chill that comes from within.
Children are being killed. It doesn't get any colder than that.
The police have no suspects.