JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — July 4, 1987, is a day that brings nightmares to a local mother, as it was the day that two of her young children were murdered. To this day, there have been no arrests or suspects.
While it’s been over three decades, she’s still communicating with detectives and isn’t giving up hope.
Betty McDuffey’s daughter, Yvonne, was 14, and her son, Bilalian, was just 10 years old.
“I just want closure for my babies and to live in peace,” McDuffey said.
It happened on the Fourth of July in 1987 when both police and McDuffey told Action News Jax on Wednesday she was out with a friend that night. When they went home, the front door was locked, and the children didn’t answer.
McDuffey said she went around back and a back screen window was open. When she went inside, she found Yvonne and Bilalian dead inside two different bedrooms. Her oldest child wasn’t home at the time.
“I touched him, and he didn’t move. So then I started screaming, ‘Something is wrong with my baby,’” she said. “I pushed my room door open, and there she was laying in the bed naked — one of her legs up the other stretched out.”
JSO has asked the media not to disclose the cause of death for the integrity of the investigation. Cold Case Detective Glenn Warkentien said evidence was collected from the crime scene, but investigators didn’t get far.
They tried again in 1997 and 2013. But still no suspects or answers. After resubmitting evidence to a new lab, they’re now hoping for a different outcome.
“That’s what we are in the process of doing, getting with different labs like our fingerprint lab, FDLE. Submitting stuff to them to see what they can get from what we still have,” Warkentien said. “Even from 2013 to what we have today in terms of fingerprint and DNA — hopefully, we can get something.”
Their home was located on Brook Forest Drive the night of the murder, but it has since changed. Though time has passed, the pain hasn’t. McDuffey said she will never stop praying for answers.
“It’s just not the same. I didn’t get a chance to see them grow up,” she said. “I just wish I had a chance to see them grow up and get married.”
McDuffey told Action News Jax she believes she was set up and knows the people who did this.
While detectives are waiting for lab results to come back, they’re hoping someone remembers the tragic events of that day back in 1987 to help them with the case. They are asking anyone with information to give them a call.
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