According to law enforcement reports, Haraway was last seen at McAnally's convenience store around 8:30 P.M. on Saturday, April 28th,1984. She was the lone clerk on duty that evening. This was not uncommon.
In relation to Haraway's disappearance, a regular customer, Gene Whelchel, made three calls that evening: first he called Mr. McAnally, the owner of the store; second, he called the store manager, Monroe Atkeson; and third, he called the Ada (Oklahoma) Police Department. Mr. Whelchel explained that when he arrived at the store, the clerk was not there and the cash register drawer was open.
It is helpful to understand that Karl Fontenot and Tommy Ward were convicted of abducting and murdering Hawaray 5 months before her body was actually found.
There were four major findings, the last of which is perhaps the most significant.
First: The investigative and forensic efforts of law enforcement at the location of Haraway’s abduction (McAnally’s convenience store; April 28, 1984) were inadequate rising to the level of abandonment.
This prevented the recognition, preservation, collection, and testing specific items of evidence, as well as an untold volume of evidence that would have been missed.
Note: As discussed in Crowder and Turvey (2013), and Gershman (1997), professional abandonment refers to incompetence and negligence to the point of effective professional absence causing harm to the client. In effect, it also refers to the abandonment of one’s professional duty of care.
Second: The investigative efforts of law enforcement subsequent to Haraway’s abduction were inadequate rising to the level of abandonment.
Third: The investigative and forensic efforts of law enforcement at the location where Haraway’s remains were found (West of Gerty, off a county road; Monday, January 20, 1986) were inadequate rising to the level of abandonment. This prevented the recognition, preservation, collection, and testing specific items of evidence, as well as an untold volume of evidence that would have been missed.
A Missing Child
Everyone agrees that Donna Haraway had not given birth prior to her abduction. However, her remains tell a different story. The remains found West of Gerty, which are conclusively identified as those of Donna “Denice” Haraway, belong to an adult female that has given birth to at least one child through her birth canal. As stated clearly in the Report from Richard McWilliams, Phd, Consulting Forensic Anthropologist to the ME’s Office, dated January 23, 1986: “Marks on the pelvis indicate she had given birth to at least one child."
Hopefully, these and other relevant issues will be considered by the court in relation to the Application for Post-Conviction Relief filed by defense Attorney Tiffany Murphy late last month, on behalf of The Oklahoma Innocence Project.
See: The Oklahoman: Report sparks debate over innocence of Karl Fontenot
Chisum, J. and Turvey, B. (2011) Crime Reconstruction, 2nd ed., San Diego: Elsevier Science.
Crowder, S. and Turvey, B. (2013) Ethical Justice: Applied Issues for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals, San Diego: Elsevier Science.
Fontenot v. State (1988) OK CR 170, 742 P.2d 31, Case Number: F-85-769. See also: Karl Fontenot v. State of Oklahoma, District Court of Pontotoc County State of Oklahoma, No. CR-88-43. Brief in Support of Application for Post-Conviction Relief.
Gershman, B. (1997) Trial Error and Misconduct, Lexis Law, Charlottesville, VA.