Milwaukee Family Still Searching For Answers 36 Years After Body Of 17-Year-Old Barbara Davis Was Found In A Snow-Covered Alley

Although it has been 36 years since 17-year-old Barbara Davis was found dead, discarded in a snow-covered alley, her Milwaukee family has not given up on searching for the person responsible for the teen’s untimely death.

According to the Journal Sentinel Online, when Justiliano Lopez and his wife were walking home on February 4, 1980, they found the body of a petite, badly beaten girl, who was wearing a “red, green and yellow long-sleeved blouse, blue jeans and black, high-heeled shoes,” in an alley in the 1300 block of S. 19th Street.

The couple covered the girl’s body with a blanket and immediately contacted Milwaukee police.

The body was later identified as Davis, who had moved out of her mother’s home three months prior to her death. She had been “living with friends in the 1000 block of E. Pleasant St. on the east side.”

The teen’s mother, Effie Pace, tried desperately to convince her daughter to move back home, but Davis was reluctant and determined to “make it on her own.”

It was reported that the night before the teen was found dead, she was seen leaving the old Sardino’s nightclub in the 1600 block of N. Farwell Ave at around 10 p.m.

Due to the amount of blood uncovered at the crime scene, police officials determined that Davis was fatally beaten at another location before the killer or killers dumped her body in an alley and fled the scene.

Witnesses recall seeing a “late-model red or maroon and gray Pontiac” near the crime scene with its trunk open, but Milwaukee police have not been able to locate that vehicle. A 19-year-old unnamed boy was also questioned in Davis’ murder, but an arrest has not been made.

Three decades have passed and no one has been brought to justice, making Davis’ death a cold case. However, her family is still searching for answers and praying that someone will come forward.

In an interview, Davis’s mother said, “I am 72-years-old and I would love to have closure. It may not happen while I’m here, but at least closure comes for the family.”

Laticia Pace, who is Davis’ sister, told reporters that “when your family member is murdered and you don’t know who did it that’s the hardest pain ever to have.”

“No, we don’t have closure. I am at peace and I have that comforting spirit that I know she’s all right, but I need to know who did this and why.”

In a 2013 interview, Pace recalled the night her sister was found dead – she was 7-years-old and had awakened to find her mother’s friends in the home.

She said, “My mom took me into the kitchen and told me I wouldn’t be going to school that day, that there had been an accident, and my sister wouldn’t be coming back home.”

“I knew what death was about. We went to church, and I knew if someone died or they were killed, they weren’t coming back.”

Another sister, Sherry Davis, said, “I want to be at ease. I want to know who did this to her.”

Unsolved murder
Barbara Davis' found dead in snow-covered alley 36 years ago - case remains unsolved. [Image By Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]

Detective Katherine Spano, who is with the Milwaukee Police Department’s cold case unit, stated that “it has got to be so hard to lose a loved one the way Barbara’s family did.”

“But to never find the answers – who, why, how – makes the loss so much greater and harder for them to accept what happened.”

Davis’ family told reporters that “there isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t think about her and wonder if and when someone will come forward.”

If anyone has information regarding the three-decade-old cold case of Davis — who would have been 54-years-old — you are urged to contact Milwaukee police at 414-933-4444.

[Featured Image by Rahman Roslan/Getty Images]