Tina Faelz: ‘Cold Case Files’: Steven Carlson, Killed Pleasanton 1984 Classmate


An after school detention could have saved a girl who was found dead in a ditch after school. On the next Cold Case Files on A&E, the sad story of Tina Faelz will be told. Authorities say that Tina Faelz, a freshman at Foothill High School, was murdered by Steven Carlson, an old classmate. The cold case went unsolved for almost three decades before Steven Carlson was finally brought to justice. On Cold Case Files‘ episode, “She Never Came Home,” listen for details and follow the footsteps of investigators as they search for clues to solve this old crime.

Cold Case Files: Tina Never Arrives Home

She was supposed to go to detention that day. However, Tina Faelz decided to skip and headed home instead. That turned out to be the mistake of her life. What she didn’t know was that someone was watching her—someone who had every intention of making sure that Tina never arrived home.

Tina Faelz’s dead body was found in Pleasanton, California. According to an autopsy report, she had been stabbed 44 times. Her purse hung in a tree near the body. There was little evidence for police to go on, and since technology wasn’t what it is today, the case came to a screeching halt.

Who wanted Tina Faelz dead? There were no clues and a ton of suspects. Authorities say Tina was being bullied at school, which seemed like a viable theory to explore. But nothing ever came of that, either.

For years, Tina Faelz’s mother was sick over her daughter’s death. Her brother, who was just 8-years-old at the time of the murder, was crushed to hear of his big sister’s death. Not only did her death cause him incredible sadness, but he was unable to sleep for years and was always afraid, according to San Francisco-CBS.

Bad To The Bone: Steven John Carlson

Tina Faelz’s death didn’t just haunt her mother and brother, it also haunted a teacher who always suspected that a 16-year-old boy named Steven Carlson had done it. Carlson was a troubled kid. And just hours before Tina was found dead, a teacher had to help Steven Carlson out of a big garbage can some other students had dumped him in.

But instead of going to the office and reporting the incident as the teacher instructed him to do, he took off, headed for the culvert where Tina Faelz walked home from school.

2011: A Cold Case Cracked!

Fast forward 27 years later. DNA proved that the teacher was right all along. Steven Carlson had followed Tina Faelz and attacked her as she walked home from school. His blood matched evidence found at the scene.

Over the past 27 years, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Steven Carlson did nothing but get himself into trouble. His extensive criminal record shows that he was a drug addict and a sex offender. Now, he has murder to add to the list.

Despite his cries of innocence, Steven Carlson remains in prison today.

More On The Tina Faelz Cold Case

According to East Bay Times, Tina stopped taking the bus after having a fight with one of her girlfriends. Plus, some of the other kids had started to bully her. The area where Tina Faelz walked home from school felt creepy to some of the other students, said Kelly, a former friend told East Bay Times.

“Kelly said that Tina stopping taking the bus to school with her after their falling out. Kelly named two girls and a boy — not Carlson — who would bully and threaten her and Tina with violence at the bus stop in their neighborhood. Kelly said she was too scared to ever walk through the dark and creepy storm drain tunnel near where Tina was found dead. Students used the culvert to travel between the school and the Valley Trails neighborhood divided by Interstate 680. The Las Positas overpass was under construction at the time of Tina’s death.”

  • Tina Faelz’s mother, Shirley Faelz Orosco, died in 2014.
  • Steven Carlson called in sick that day but was seen around the campus.
  • Tina didn’t appear to be friends with Steven Carlson.
  • There is a book about the case. Look below.

Watch the story of Steven Carlson and Tina Faelz on Cold Case Files, which airs weekly every Monday night at 9 p.m. Central on A&E. In the meantime, you might find the case of Janet Walsh interesting.

[Featured Image by Victor Chetvergov/Shutterstock]