Gloria Pointer, the 14-year-old Cleveland teen who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered over three decades ago, will be the prime focus of Thursday’s Motives and Murders on Investigation Discovery.
ID’s Motives and Murders: Cracking the Case focuses on murders that have gone cold but are eventually solved by good detectives who eventually crack the case. The new episode, “Mommy Speak For Me,” tells the story of a 14-year-old teen who went missing on her way to school, but the disappearance case turned to murder after the girl’s body was found at the bottom of a basement stairwell. Listen for commentary from detectives who helped solve the case, friends, and family members. Hernandez Warren was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for her death.
Fourteen-year-old Gloria Pointer always walked to school, but on a cold December morning in 1984, she left her home at E. 114th Street about 10 minutes earlier than usual so that she’d have time to stop by her classmate’s home to borrow a hair barrette. When she didn’t arrive, the classmate notified school officials, and Gloria Pointer’s mother, Yvonne Rashid, aka Yvonne Pointer, was notified. Not showing up to school wasn’t like Gloria Pointer, who teachers say was a cheerleader, student council member, and an overall good student with a perfect attendance record.
A building cleaner soon found Gloria Pointer’s body at the rear of a building located at E. 105th Street. The African-American girl was wearing only a shirt and socks, and her underwear and coat had been removed. An autopsy revealed that she was beaten about the head and neck repeatedly until she died. The victim had also been raped.
Outraged residents and school officials agreed that more needed to be done to protect the students, who often times had to walk to school in the dark during winter months. The death of Gloria Pointer left her family, the community, and her schoolmates at Harry E. Davis Junior High School in anguish and disbelief. On the day of her funeral, there was great sadness among her friends, one detective observed.
In researching the case of Gloria Pointer, an old article found at the Plain Dealer revealed that Gloria Pointer was one of 13 other students who had been kidnapped and murdered that same year, leading law enforcement officials to scour the streets in an effort to find the killer. A teacher had seen Gloria walking to school that morning. She told police that a man in his 20s was walking behind her. It didn’t alarm the teacher, since it seemed that they knew each other and that Gloria Pointer didn’t seem upset.
Almost a dozen young men were picked up and arrested, but they had no information on the murder. The case eventually went cold. Still, police never forgot about the murder. Her mother, Yvonne, quickly became an advocate for crime victims and found her strength as she spoke out against violence and helped other families.
The case was solved in 2013 after DNA evidence linked a man named Hernandez Warren, a sex offender, to the case. In a taped interview with police, the killer claimed that he was scared while he was raping and killing the young teen. At one point during the interview, he tells detectives that he began to weep after he saw Gloria Pointer whimpering and calling for her “Mommy.”
When police tried to clarify whether Gloria actually said “Mama” or “Mommy,” Warren told police not to tell the girl’s mother because it would tear her up. He also claimed the dope made him do it, and in the many years after her death, he often thought about her and wondered how he could possibly do such a thing.
People who knew Hernandez Warren growing up said that he was always a bad person and eventually had a criminal record. For Gloria Pointer’s murder, Hernandez Warren would have received the death penalty had it not been for his confession, which allowed him the chance to serve life in prison instead.
Gloria’s mother, Yvonne Pointer, continued to fight for justice for her daughter and wrote about her story in the book Behind the Death of a Child. Hernandez Warren is eligible for parole in 30 years, according to the Ohio Department Of Corrections. Watch Motives and Murders: Cracking the Case this Thursday, March 10 at 9/8 central on Investigation Discovery.
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