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But after weeks, and then months, and then years, even the girls’ parents began to fear that maybe police would never solve these murders.“What happened? “I need to know that somebody’s paying for this.”That was just the question everyone was asking. Bowl of cereal every morning with chocolate milk,” Bob recalled fondly.“I can see her riding, and just taking off across a pasture on a horse and enjoying it because she loved it so much,” said Pam.“Every day I go down there and throw a leg over her horse, I think about her. When I caught up with Bob and Pam Ayers almost eight years after their daughter, Amy, was killed in the yogurt shop, there were still no arrests.“It’s hard to think that your child had to go through that and you couldn’t do anything, you were not there for them,” said Pam.“Your life changes when you have kids, and boy, does it ever change when you lose one,” added Bob. So from the very beginning, I was with lead detectives John Jones and Mike Huckabay. They were determined to find out who killed the four girls: Amy, Eliza, Jennifer and Sarah.Bob and Pam Ayers describe their daughter, Amy, as “a cowgirl, she’s country… For years, they got nowhere.“It seemed like every time that you opened a door and you thought an answer was going to be on the other side, there would be a brick wall,” said Huckabay.
Austin, Texas was a big city, but with a small-town attitude -- that kind of crime happened somewhere else.It was they were killed.“I’d seen homicides,” Jones said. And not four all tied up, and not four stripped down, and not four burned.”“They were stacked. They were burned and they were stacked,” said Ayers-Wilson.“One of toughest parts about this was having to deal with those parents the next morning,” Jones explained.“Having to look them in eye and tell them we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we get the people that did it.”It took years to come up with any answers. “…I’m just a normal guy.”I never thought more than 25 years after these girls were murdered, that I would still be reporting on this story. All we knew when we first started on this story was that four young girls, one was as young as 13, were murdered.But finally, in 1999, there were suspects and arrests.“Are you one of the killers of those four little girls in that yogurt shop? But, as it turns out, that closed case wasn’t closed after all.“It’s the first time we have physical proof about who was there,” said defense attorney Joe Jim Sawyer. They were executed and then the building was set aflame. These were the facts: Jennifer Harbison and Eliza Thomas – both just 17– had been working the late shift in the yogurt shop.” I asked Robert Springsteen, one of the individuals charged.“No. Jennifer’s 15-year-old sister, Sarah, and her friend, 13-year-old Amy Ayers, had dropped by to help close the shop for the night.“I feel the loss everyday, I miss her everyday.There would be stacks and stacks and stacks of tip sheets on the desks,” said Huckabay.
I had never seen a case where there were so many leads coming in. When asked how this compared to a normal murder case, Jones said, “It’s off the scale.
One of them, Michael Scott, confessed: The police theory was these four guys planned to rob the yogurt shop.
Three of them would go in and then one of them -- Forrest Welborn -- would stay outside as the lookout.
But something went awry and then the killings began. Don’t say you weren’t there because you were there. “I wasn’t going to lie about something like that,” he said. Police were convinced he was the mastermind, but they just didn’t have any evidence to prove it.“That’s tough.
Seeing the suspects actually admit to the killings made it all too real for the families.“We had accepted the fact that Amy had died quick, but she didn’t,” said Bob.“They suffered that night and we’ve tried to make it less than it was. They tried twice to indict Forrest Welborn and they couldn’t do it. Because he -- he doesn’t have the-- he’s so guilty and he’s walking around.
I would tell you ‘cause I’d be proud of it,’” said Huckabay.