The Deck - Kelly Dee Wilson (10 of Spades, Ohio)

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Our card this week is Kelly D. Wilson, the Ten of Spades from Ohio.

Kelly D. Wilson was a young woman whose life and career as a rising star on radio was tragically

cut short, with few clues left behind to piece together the mystery.

What happened to Kelly at the start of the new millennium shocked her fans, it horrified

her family, and it left detectives baffled to this very day.

Bringing her story to a wider audience might be the spark investigators need to kickstart

their work, and to bring whoever took her life to justice.

I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Deck.

Monday, March 25, 2000 was the start of a new week at U92 Radio, also known as WROU

in Dayton, Ohio.

Just three months after worldwide Y2K, fears had calmed, and people in the entertainment

and broadcast industry realized the world was not going to end.

The vice president of the station, Stan Boston, spent most days buzzing around the office,

feeling really good about the channel’s programming.

U92 was known as an R&B station, so back then the channel played bands and artists like

Boyz II Men, Destiny’s Child, and Missy Elliott, who were all topping the R&B and

contemporary music charts.

And singers like Mariah Carey and J.Lo were helping blur the genre lines between pop and


And because DJs at Stan’s station were also playing those artists all the time, the channel

just kept gaining more and more in popularity with listeners across Ohio.

Stan credited a lot of U92’s recent success to one of his biggest disc jockeys, Nikki


Nikki was just an on-air name, though.

The real woman behind the name was 29-year-old Kelly D. Wilson.

Kelly hosted a weekday evening show called Jammin’ 8 at 8, and listeners loved her.

U92 had scooped up Kelly from a station in her nearby hometown of Cincinnati about a

year earlier.

And from the moment she hit the airwaves in Dayton, listeners tuned in regularly for any

programming she was a part of.

People were just drawn to Kelly’s on-air energy and confident voice.

Fans could tell she genuinely loved her job and the music she played.

Kelly was dedicated to her work and building the station’s branding around her DJ personality,

Nikki Brooks.

So that’s why Stan, her boss, was confused around 7pm on Monday when Kelly hadn’t shown

up for her shift yet.

She was never late, and she usually got to the station right at 7 to prepare for her

show, which went on air at 8.

Now Stan didn’t panic right away, he figured maybe she was just having car trouble or had

gotten stuck in traffic, so he waited.

But by 7.20, he really started to worry.

Tons of questions were swirling around in his mind.

Would Kelly have an unforeseen family emergency?

Why would she be flaking?

But no matter what, Stan knew the station would need to be prepared to fill her show’s

airtime with, you know, a rerun, maybe a syndicated program, or worst case scenario, call in a

substitute host last minute to keep their programming going.

Stan looked up the phone number for Kelly’s apartment landline and gave it a ring, but

no one answered.

Next, he called Kelly’s mom, Charlene, who lived in Cincinnati.

He knew that Kelly was super close with her mom, and he figured she might know where her

daughter was, or at least be able to explain why Kelly had just ghosted her shift.

But when Charlene answered, she told Stan that she had no clue where Kelly was, or why

she failed to show up to work.

She also said that Stan’s call made her very worried, because she’d actually been trying

to call Kelly the day before on Sunday, but hadn’t been able to reach her.

Stan tried to keep Charlene calm and said, you know what, I’ll just go over to Kelly’s

apartment to check on her.

This was actually no big deal for Stan, because coincidentally, he lived in the same apartment

complex as Kelly and knew exactly where her unit was.

The community they lived in was called The Meadows, and it was in a part of the city

known as Harrison Township.

The Meadows complex is still there today, and it’s one of those apartment building

layouts where there’s several residential buildings sprawled around a pool with an office

and a clubhouse, which are sort of the hub of everything.

And it also has an on-site bar and social hub.

When Stan drove over to Kelly’s place after talking with Charlene, he arrived by like


And the first thing he saw was her car parked in its space, which he thought was kind of

weird because that seemed to indicate that Kelly was home for some reason and just had

not been answering her phone.

He went up to the door, jiggled the knob, and realized it was locked.

So he knocked a few times, but Kelly didn’t answer.

And there weren’t any sounds coming from inside that indicated she was making her way

to the door or anything.

Stan went to the front office, but no one was there working, so he decided that his

only other option to try and get someone on staff to help him was to go to the on-site

bar and see if the bartender could get a hold of someone.

The bartender called a maintenance man who agreed to come over, but he said there was

no way he was going to be able to just let Stan waltz into Kelly’s unit and look around.

That would be way against policy.

Stan explained to the bartender and maintenance guy that he and Kelly’s family were really

worried about her because no one had heard from her in two days.

So they came to a compromise.

In order not to break their company policy and just let Stan take a peek, the staff ended

up calling the police, who offered to come by and do a welfare check at Kelly’s unit.

A few minutes later, a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy named Johnny Campbell heard the call

come in over his patrol car’s radio, and he headed over.

Just like when Stan had knocked on Kelly’s door, when Deputy Campbell rapped on it a

few times, no one answered.

So he used the maintenance man’s key to open the door and go inside.

To help explain what happened next, our team went to Dayton and interviewed Montgomery

County Sheriff’s detective Melanie Phelps.

Detective Phelps is currently in charge of Kelly’s case, and sometimes you’ll hear her

switch between calling Kelly by her real name and her on-air name, Nikki, throughout this


He let himself in with a key and announced, you know, Sheriff’s office, you know, is anybody


Sheriff’s office, anybody here?

It’s not a very big apartment.

So as he went through, he then located Kelly on the floor, deceased, and made sure that

everybody got, you know, stayed out, secured the scene, and called the supervisors and

the detectives.

According to what Phelps knows from reading through the case file, Kelly lived in a one-bedroom

apartment, and her living room, dining room, and kitchen were all in an open floor plan.

There weren’t walls separating those rooms.

But to access the bathroom, you had to actually walk through Kelly’s bedroom, and that is

where Deputy Campbell found Kelly’s body, about halfway off the side of her bathtub.

She was laying on her stomach in the bathroom, and she had on just a robe and a bra and a


She didn’t have anything on below the waist.

According to crime scene reports filed at the time, there wasn’t much blood on or around

Kelly’s body, so it wasn’t immediately clear to the police how she died.

But one detail the investigators noticed right away was fecal matter.

It was on Kelly, it was around the bathroom, and back in her bedroom on her bed.

Now, fecal matter being in the bathroom itself wasn’t super strange, I mean, it’s a bathroom

after all.

But the fact that it was also found on the bed indicated to authorities that they may

have been looking at a scenario where Kelly had originally been killed on her bed, then

fecal matter from either her or her killer became present there, and then she was moved

to her bathroom.

They also had to consider the possibility, too, that the fecal matter may have originated

in the bathroom, and then the killer left traces of it in the bedroom post-crime.

The sequence of events couldn’t be determined for sure just by where the matter was found,

but it gave police the ability to theorize.

Another glaring clue police found near Kelly’s body were residues from cleaning supplies,

which appeared to be an attempt by someone to cover up the crime.

During her interview with us, Detective Phelps wouldn’t say specifically what kind of cleaning

products had been used, but she said it was likely something Kelly had under her sink

and not a chemical that the killer had brought with them to the scene.

We just know there was cleanup at the scene, or attempted cleanup at the scene.

After discovering Kelly’s body, detectives collected some of her clothes and other items

from her room and bathroom as evidence, and were able to lift fingerprints from surfaces

in those areas.

One of the big things that puzzled investigators was that there seemed to be no signs of forced

entry, or like a break-in, no broken windows, no damaged locks, nothing.

The absence of those things caused police to think two things.

Either the killer had a key to get in, or Kelly willingly let them in.

And nowhere in the apartment had things been viciously tossed around or turned over.

But there were a few little things that authorities had a hard time deciphering the meaning of.

It was definitely not ransacked.

There was one cupboard door that was open.

Her purse was on the counter in the kitchen, and it looked as though somebody had picked

her purse up and kind of shaken it, because there were coins that had gone on the counter

and on the floor.

She had a very tall jewelry armoire, and that was not opened.

She still was wearing jewelry, so I don’t believe it had anything to do with robbery.

Nothing seemed to be missing of value from the apartment.

When Stan and another radio station employee who joined him at the scene were told Kelly

was dead, they were shocked by the news.

They confirmed for investigators by looking at a photo that it was in fact Kelly who had

been found in the apartment.

So pretty much from hour one of the investigation, detectives never had a question about who

their victim was.

But they did have a bizarre mystery to unravel about how she died.

While this was all happening, Kelly’s mom Charlene sent her son Craig up to Dayton from

Cincinnati to see what was going on with Kelly.

Cincinnati is only about a half hour south of Dayton, so it didn’t take Craig long to

get there.

And when he got to Kelly’s apartment building, he saw police everywhere and quickly learned

that his sister was gone.

He went back to Cincinnati and had to break the heart-wrenching news to his family.

I think it was probably hard.

Her mom was probably hard for her because her baby now had, you know, it wasn’t super

far away, but her daughter was, you know, had her own place now and had moved up there

for a new job and it was kind of exciting.

So, you know, she just wanted to make sure that her baby girl was going to be okay.

It didn’t take long before the news of Kelly’s death spread through the community and people

who were avid listeners of her radio program began to publicly mourn her loss alongside

her loved ones.

Fans in Dayton idolized Kelly.

And according to Detective Phelps, the crime affected hundreds, even thousands of people

who felt like they had a personal connection with her, even though they maybe just listened

to her over the radio for a few hours a day.

So back then, the radio celebrities were actually like a celebrity here in Dayton.

And people would, it was like they would see an actress or something.

If you were out and about and somebody that you said, oh, it’s so-and-so, it’s so-and-so,

it was like building them up or they were on some kind of pedestal or something.

So it was very high end to be that well-known on the radio here in Dayton at the time.

The day after Kelly’s body was discovered, 92.1FM got flooded with phone calls from fans

who wanted to share their grief.

Other show hosts sat in on Kelly’s show and dedicated it to her, playing calls from

fans and airing songs that they knew Kelly liked.

Listeners could hear her co-workers choking up on air as they played One Sweet Day by

Mariah Carey in honor of Kelly.

It would take some time before the coroner in Montgomery County would have the results

of Kelly’s autopsy.

So during the first 24 to 48 hours of the investigation, they couldn’t technically

call her death a murder.

But in their hearts, just due to the certain factors that they’d observed at the crime

scene, they knew that they were dealing with a highly suspicious death, which more than

likely would end up being a homicide.

The first thing detectives started to do to get a better idea of what Kelly had been doing

the weekend she died or who’d last seen her was to check her work records and interview

her friends and family.

They learned that Kelly had for sure gone to work on Friday, March 24th, and she had

hosted her R&B show Jammin’ 8 at 8 until midnight.

You tell me, loud and proud, what station is your radio always locked on?

We have no radio!

Nothing out of the ordinary happened while Kelly was at work on Friday.

As for Saturday, according to a man detectives tracked down who’d been casually dating Kelly

at the time, he said that he’d been over at her apartment that night to have a few

drinks with her and one of his buddies.

After drinks, he said the group left Kelly’s place and went to a party at a woman named

Tammy’s house.

Tammy was a co-worker of Kelly’s and people who attended that house party were mostly

employees of the radio station and their friends.

According to several witnesses who were there and two guys who’d arrived with her, Kelly’s

fun at the party didn’t last long.

She was not there very long.

She showed up with two individuals and they kind of hung out at the party.

Apparently she had been drinking prior to going to the party and the two guys went downstairs

into the basement and they were watching some football or sports.

I’m not sure exactly what they were watching.

And then I guess she maybe became a little too intoxicated and so they decided that they

were going to take her home.

So she didn’t want to go home at first, but they were kind of like, you know, we really

don’t want to be here any longer.

So they went ahead and took her on back to her apartment.

According to police reports, it was at about 11 p.m. when the two men said that they left

Tammy’s and drove Kelly back to her apartment.

After that, these two guys told police that they decided to hit up some bars.

The bars they wanted to go to were fairly close to Kelly’s apartment.

So for them, it was an easy decision to just drop her off and then head out for more drinks

on their own.

Back in 2000, the two popular nightclubs nearby were Tiffany’s and then another dive called


Both of these places were known for late night dancing, drinks, and music.

They first went to Tiffany’s and when they arrived, they ran into Tammy, Kelly’s co-worker

who’d thrown the house party.

By that time, the house party had moved to the clubs and guests were bouncing between

Tiffany’s and Frogs.

According to Tammy’s statement to police, when she saw the two guys who’d been with

Kelly, she checked in with them to find out if Kelly had said anything about maybe sobering

up some and trying to come back out to join the group.

That was a coincidence.

When the girl who threw the house party said, oh, is Nikki here with you?

It was very loud in the club and he was like, she’s not here.

And then kind of kept walking.

They didn’t have much interaction other than the fact that he mentioned, no, she was not

with them.

Sometime after midnight, after Tammy talked to the guys at the bar, Kelly started blowing

up Tammy’s pager.

Data from Tammy’s pager showed that Kelly paged her several times using the landline

at her apartment.

Tammy told police that she had used a phone at one of the clubs to call Kelly.

When Kelly picked up, she insisted that Tammy or one of the men she’d been hanging out

with earlier come back to her apartment and get her because she wanted to keep partying.

Tammy said she didn’t feel super comfortable with sending those guys back to get Kelly

because she didn’t know them all that well.

She had spoken to Kelly around the same time that she saw those two gentlemen at the club.

So she said she had been a little leery of the two individuals because she didn’t know

who they were.

But when she saw them out and talked to Nikki, she felt better because, oh, OK, I know that

she’s home and I know they’re here.

Police were faced with a big gap in their timeline.

As far as they knew, the last people to physically see Kelly were the two guys who dropped her

off at home at around 11 p.m.

But the last person to actually talk to Kelly was Tammy.

The detectives at the time start talking to all of her friends and trying to make a timeline.

Who was the last person that saw her?

What did she do?

How intoxicated was she?

Did she see anybody else after she got home from the party?

Really something else happened.

What that something else was, we don’t know.

It doesn’t seem as though anyone knows exactly who stopped by or would have gone to her house

or if she let somebody in.

Based on everyone they talked to, detectives learned that Kelly was a welcoming person,

especially to people she knew.

Everyone just says that everybody loved her.

They don’t know why anybody would have hurt her.

She was up and coming and very social and she was friends with everybody.

So she wouldn’t have been like, no, you can’t come over or something along those lines.

She would have, probably anyone that she actually knew would have let into the apartment.

When detectives inventoried the evidence they’d processed from the crime scene, they realized

they’d never found Kelly’s keys in her apartment.

That only reinforced investigators’ theory that whoever killed Kelly had taken her keys

with them when they’d left the crime scene.

The door was locked.

There was no forced entry.

So that individual somehow relocked the door.

Now, her keys were not located, but you couldn’t lock it from the inside and pull it shut.

So it had to be locked from the outside.

That says that she knew who it was.

She let them into the apartment.

By late Monday night into Tuesday morning, police had assembled a fairly clear picture

of what Kelly’s weekend had looked like leading up to Sunday morning.

But they still felt like they needed to get more from the two men she’d been with before

and after leaving Tammy’s house party.

Now, police knew from talking with Tammy that the guys had been at Tiffany’s club late into

the night Saturday and early Sunday morning.

And Tammy herself knew that Kelly was alive and well when she talked to her shortly after


So the men clearly had alibis for the hours of 11 p.m. to roughly 1230 a.m.

But investigators needed to pin down their whereabouts for after that point in time.

According to Detective Phelps, law enforcement’s thinking at the time was that when these men

dropped Kelly off, either they or Kelly had access to her keys to get inside her apartment.

What they had to figure out is if either the men had kept Kelly’s keys or perhaps remembered

anyone else lurking around the unit when they left her.

She kind of had known everybody from about the same amount of time, but the people from

the party had never seen those two individuals before.

So they right away were thinking, OK, there’s two guys we’ve never seen before, so this

is a little shady.

So, of course, that they were two that they wanted to talk to right away.

Both men, one of which, again, was someone Kelly was sort of dating at the time, agreed

to cooperate with the authorities and answer whatever questions they could.

They both admitted once again that they were with Kelly before, during and after the house


The men insisted that when they dropped Kelly off at her apartment shortly after 11 p.m.

on Saturday, she was very much alive.

The guy who had kind of been dating Kelly at the time, who we’re going to call Joe,

said that earlier on Saturday, he and Kelly had consensual sex before being joined by

his friend to hang out.

To police, Joe seemed genuinely distraught when he learned Kelly had been killed, and

he even reached out to Kelly’s mom saying how sorry he was for her loss.

He said even though he’d only gotten to know Kelly for a short period of time, he really

liked her.

Joe and his buddy were both able to provide police with solid alibis for early Sunday


They told detectives that after they dropped Kelly off and went back out to the clubs,

they each ended up going home with other girls.

When investigators interviewed those women to corroborate the men’s stories, the women

vouched for them.

So that was kind of the end of that as far as looking at them as suspects.

With not much else to go on, when the results of Kelly’s autopsy came in, it was a welcome

bit of information for investigators in order to keep the case from stalling.

The Montgomery County coroner had examined Kelly’s body and found some critical clues

that allowed detectives to finally label Kelly’s death a homicide.

And they noticed several blunt force trauma injuries.

Now it was not anything horrific, it wasn’t any kind of bloody scene or anything along

those lines.

But they make note of every little mark that is on her, all of the different cuts or whatever

inside her mouth.

She had bitten the inside of her cheek and had some injuries on her face, like the side

of her mouth.

She had a little bruise on the side of her temple.

And you could see on the back of her neck, there were some red marks and a little bit

of bruising on her neck as well.

The consensus between the pathologist and police was that more than likely Kelly’s

killer had strangled her to death sometime Sunday morning.

But as far as what time, they weren’t exactly sure.

Investigators believe the killer used his bare hands because there was no bruising or

ligature marks on Kelly’s neck that indicated a rope or any kind of binding had been used.

Something particularly frustrating was that the coroner was unable to determine if Kelly

had been sexually assaulted before she was murdered.

Now authorities knew based on what Joe had told them that he and Kelly had had sex at

some point in the 24 hours before she was killed.

But based on the autopsy findings, there was no way to tell for sure if she’d been

sexually assaulted at the time of her murder.

And Detective Phelps said she couldn’t provide any information about that to protect the

integrity of the act of investigation.

In the end, the coroner listed Kelly’s official manner of death as homicide, with a cause

of death as asphyxiation.

When officials confirmed Kelly’s death was in fact a murder, it sent another ripple of

shock and fear through the Dayton community.

It also ratcheted up the pressure on police to identify and arrest whoever was responsible

because people in the area were terrified that a monster was out there, on the loose,

able to strike again if they wanted.

On Saturday, April 1st, six days after Kelly was killed, her friends and family held a

memorial service for her at Omega Baptist Church in Dayton.

150 people showed up to share stories and memories of Kelly.

According to an article in the Dayton Daily News, the radio station president was there

and talked about how Kelly had a natural ability to connect with listeners.

You could hear her smile through the radio, she said.

Another coworker told a story about how when she’d first started, Kelly had to tape the

name Nikki Brooks near her microphone in the studio so she would remember her tag out.

She had gone by a different on-air name in Cincinnati, so she didn’t want to slip up

and accidentally use her old moniker.

Detectives spent the rest of that year collecting DNA samples from people who were with Kelly

prior to her death, most of which consented to giving swabs for investigative purposes.

They wanted to compare those individuals’ genetic profiles to items of evidence from

the crime scene, specifically Kelly’s robe, t-shirt, and the bra she was wearing.

Detective Phelps said the results from the comparison testing on DNA samples taken at

the time didn’t point to anyone they didn’t already know had been in Kelly’s apartment.

In other words, there were no unknown DNA profiles found on the items.

There were also no DNA profiles of known suspects whose DNA was in a place it shouldn’t

have been, like in blood, for example.

Phelps couldn’t provide our team with additional information she had regarding the DNA, like

if the fecal matter came back to someone else other than Kelly.

And you can spiral on this one all day.

I did.

I went around and around thinking about what it would mean if it were Kelly’s, or more

what it would mean if it wasn’t since no unknown DNA was found.

But the truth is, only the investigators know.

In order to keep things moving at the time without much forensic evidence to work off

of, police had to rely on tips from the community.

They worked a handful of leads that came in from people calling saying stuff like, so

and so was acting weird when someone brought up Kelly’s murder, and just other general

community rumors.

But by the start of 2001, nothing had materialized.

Police couldn’t find anyone who disliked her or had any problems with her.

So without suspects or a motive, the case stalled.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office preserved evidence in storage, and detectives

continued to investigate.

But not much happened with the case until 2004.

That year, a tip led police to get a search warrant for a man’s DNA in Georgia.

Sheriff’s detectives had never publicly said what information specifically led them

to pursue this warrant, or even who the man was.

But in the end, investigators compared his profile to their evidence and didn’t get

a match.

After that fizzled out, a lot of the people in Dayton who were still hoping the case would

regain traction, began speculating that perhaps Kelly had fallen victim to someone who had

been a little too big of a fan of her on her radio show, essentially a stalker.

Some of her co-workers said, you know, she was very friendly and there were people that

flirted with her a lot because she’s absolutely beautiful.

So nothing that seemed out of the ordinary or extreme.

So she hadn’t made any like complaints to police about any particular person?

No, she had not.

The stalker theory never really took hold with investigators because they felt strongly

that whoever had attacked and killed Kelly actually knew her, or at the very least had

been familiar enough to her that she would have let them into her apartment dressed only

in her robe, a bra and a t-shirt.

She didn’t have anything on below the waist when she was found.

But we don’t know, based on what police have shared with us, whether or not they think

that’s because Kelly had been partially undressed by her killer, or if she’d been

in that state prior to her murder.

But the fact remained, she was clearly in a comfortable state of dress when whoever

killed her got inside her apartment.

The next update in the case didn’t come until 2006, when a sheriff’s office detective

told the Dayton Daily News that there was a quote, real big lead in the case.

But he wouldn’t provide specifics.

Kelly’s mom Charlene was interviewed for that same story and told the reporter that

She just wanted to know who killed her daughter and why.

According to Detective Phelps, despite the hype around that announcement, nothing significant

developed in the case over the next several years.

It was in 2012 that Detective Phelps decided to start investigating Kelly’s murder in

her spare time, and she immediately felt a sense of burden to take it on full time.

One of our other detectives had been talking about the case, and I was like, oh, that’s

very interesting.

When I was a beat cop, just in Harrison, that was in my beat, and then that was my beat

when I was a detective.

So it was my area, I’m very familiar with it, and I just think you can’t give up on

these kinds of cases.

Families need closure.

So whenever I could sneak one of the cases out and start looking into it and taking some

notes and becoming more involved, I would anytime I could.

Sometimes I love to go through and look at pictures over and over again.

There’s been several other cases that I’ve worked that after looking at the pictures

for the 50th time, I’ll notice something that I never noticed before.

Then I’ll go, oh, oh, I’m going to have that sent to the lab.

So then I’ll get back out and have evidence technicians send that over to the lab.

So I go over them and over them and over them until I really get every last little speck

of the picture in my head.

In recent years, Detective Phelps has sent old DNA samples to undergo newer, more targeted

testing with the hopes that her department can get a match on some DNA found on Kelly’s


If a DNA match doesn’t come back, Detective Phelps said it will take a tip from someone

who saw something noteworthy in Kelly’s apartment complex the night of the crime to

help law enforcement solve the case.

Even though a long shot like that seems like a pipe dream, Phelps hasn’t lost hope that

just one small detail could change everything, even 22 years later.

That’s why we’re hoping maybe somebody saw something in the parking lot or, I mean,

they’re big buildings over there.

You know, maybe a neighbor thought, oh, I heard something and I looked out and I saw,

you know, somebody, you know, get into a blue car or something along those lines.

Just a little bit of something more is kind of what we’re looking for.

Any viable suspects?

There are.

However, I think that we need to rely on some more technology because we didn’t have it

as well back in 2000.

There’s always new technology coming out.

So I’m always resending things to the lab to try to be tested, you know, again and again

and again, or try a different method or something along those lines to just try to spark a new


But it’s totally solvable.

I have every faith in this one and I think it’s coming.

I really do.

I think that somebody somewhere is going to say, you know what, I remember she used to

live next door to me or she used to live, you know, here.

And I remember when that happened and this guy was being weird or something, you know.

Though they can’t say for sure, police lean toward believing that the suspect is a man

because the case lacks any other strong motive, meaning it was likely sexual.

The hardest thing for Phelps is knowing that year after year, Kelly’s family has endured

continual heartbreak over losing Kelly and has never had any answers surrounding the

circumstances that led to her murder.

In 2017, Dayton TV station WHIO interviewed Kelly’s sister Jamie Powell.

Here’s a clip of what she had to say regarding what a hole Kelly’s absence has left in

her life.

Thinking what may have become of her, you know, she would have saw my children grow

up and how much she would have adored them and the new grandbaby.

I mean, that’s when it really hits home that nothing’s been solved, nothing.

It’s still like an open wound.

That’s why Detective Phelps keeps pushing, keeps trying, keeps turning over every leaf

in the case.

She realizes the deafening silence and dead ends that surround Kelly’s case is just

too much to bear for her family.

I mean, if that was my daughter, if that was my sister, then I would want somebody to keep


So I just kind of always look at it that way.

Somebody’s crying, somebody’s upset, somebody lost a loved one.

How can you just go, eh, oh well, it seems hard.

So I mean, you just got to keep trying.

What’s it going to hurt to keep trying?

One thing Phelps and the other investigators who have worked this case continually grapple

with is the fact that Kelly was home alone.

It was late, she’d been drinking and was in her bathrobe.

All of those things tell police that Kelly was comfortable when her killer came over.

The fact that the door was locked meant whoever had killed her took the time to manually

lock the door as they were leaving.

Because Detective Phelps says that Kelly had one of those locks that you can’t just easily

lock from the inside before leaving.

Like you couldn’t lock it before shutting it and then leave.

You had to shut it and then put a key in the knob and turn the lock once you were outside.

So was her killer someone she knew?

Someone she felt so comfortable around that she would let them into her apartment after

midnight while wearing her bathrobe?

Or did someone have a key to her apartment?

Police said they cleared the maintenance employees of the apartment complex early on

in the investigation, so it’s unlikely the killer was a worker at the Meadows.

Police believe that whoever killed Kelly took her keys, locked her apartment door on their

way out, and that person still has her keys, or they could have disposed of them after

the murder.

The tough thing about this case is that finding the answers to all of those questions hasn’t

been easy, and it may never be easy, especially because challenges always present themselves

as more and more time passes.

For example, when our team was on the ground reporting in Dayton for this episode, our

reporter had a hard time even finding clips of Kelly’s old radio shows.

We wanted to share more of her voice with you, but the station that she worked for was

purchased by a different media company in 2004, and executives there told us that shows

prior to 2004 were wiped from the archive.

That little bit of audio that we could get of her was from an archived news package for

WHIO that just happened to have a snippet of Kelly’s voice as a DJ in it.

Despite Kelly having one of the most popular voices on radio in Dayton at one time, it’s

sad there’s nothing out there commemorating her legacy as a budding radio star and a beloved

young woman in the Dayton community.

Please if you know anything about Kelly D. Wilson’s murder in Dayton, Ohio in March

2000, call the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 937-225-6479.

Or you can email Detective Phelps directly at phelpsm at

The Deck is an AudioChuck production with theme music by Ryan Lewis.

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So what do you think Chuck, do you approve?