Our card this week is Awachagee Osceola,
the Eight of Diamonds from Oklahoma.
Even though Awachagee called for help
on the morning her killer broke in,
what actually happened inside her apartment
is still a mystery.
And while evidence supports police’s theory
about who killed her,
one huge hurdle still stands in the way of justice.
I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Deck.
September 25th, 2013,
Toni Brown was hanging out at home in Anadarko, Oklahoma,
when she saw a Facebook status from her friend Awachagee.
It had been posted earlier that morning and read, quote,
Moose is trying to KM.
Toni knew Awachagee was dating a guy named Moose,
but she wasn’t sure what KM meant.
Just then, Toni’s phone alerted her to a text from Awachagee
that said the exact same thing as her Facebook status.
Moose is trying to KM.
Awachagee wasn’t answering any calls or texts,
and Toni was freaked out.
So she rounded up three of their friends to go check on her.
The group made the roughly hour-long drive from Anadarko
to Awachagee’s apartment in Norman, Oklahoma.
And when they pulled up, their feelings of unease only grew.
They saw that the door was slightly open
from having been kicked in.
They could tell because there was a shoe print on the door,
and the frame was splintered.
So Toni and the group didn’t even go in.
They called police instead.
As soon as Norman police officers got inside,
they saw cabinets and drawers left open
and stuff everywhere.
But when they called out to see if anyone was home,
no one answered.
It was in an upstairs bedroom that police found Awachagee.
She was laying on the floor face down
with her sheets and comforter tossed over her head.
They checked for signs of life,
but she had clearly been dead for a while,
though it wasn’t entirely clear how she had died
because there were no visible wounds.
In her room, the bed looked as if someone
stripped it in a hurry.
The mattress was bare except for three pillows,
one of which had blood on it.
And there were clothes and stuff tossed all around the room.
In fact, the rest of the house was a mess as well.
It looked as if the living room, kitchen,
and bedroom had all been ransacked.
They found another bloody pillow
stuffed in a dresser in the bedroom.
But when they went searching for Awachagee’s
and stuff like her cash and cards,
they couldn’t find any of that in the apartment.
So they were obviously wondering
if someone had robbed the place.
Officers secured the scene and went outside
to tell Awachagee’s friends what they’d found.
But it was what they didn’t find
that concerned Toni and her friends the most
because police didn’t mention anything
about finding anyone else in the home.
And Toni knew that Awachagee lived
with her five-year-old daughter.
Immediately, officers started looking for the young girl.
They weren’t sure if they were dealing
with an abduction or what,
but the first place they checked,
the first place any investigator checks
when a child is missing
is with their living parents or guardians.
And Toni and Awachagee’s other friends
said that her dad lived back in Anadarko.
Sure enough, when officers tracked him down,
they found the young girl and determined that she was safe.
Still, they weren’t sure what involvement
Awachagee’s ex could have had in her murder
since they knew the two had recently divorced
and had gone through custody hearings.
So they brought him in for an interview.
The ex-husband cooperated and said
that he had been in Anadarko all week
and he had no idea who might’ve killed Awachagee.
He said she actually had full custody of their daughter,
but it just so happened
that week their daughter had been with him.
Police had no reason not to believe the man’s alibi,
so they moved on to see what else they could find out
about Awachagee’s personal life.
When it was her turn to give a statement,
Toni filled police in about the weird text
and Facebook status about Moose.
Toni said it didn’t sound like Awachagee,
who usually texted in full sentences
and didn’t use abbreviations.
Toni also told police since moving to Norman,
Awachagee had been online dating
and not too long ago,
she had started seeing a man who went by Moose.
And that guy lived in Oklahoma City.
Studying Awachagee’s Facebook status,
Moose is trying to KM.
Police deciphered it as Moose is trying to kill me.
So it was imperative that they find Moose ASAP,
which they did.
He was in Oklahoma City
about a half an hour North of Norman.
Moose was shocked to hear about Awachagee’s death
and he was willing to talk to police,
telling detectives the two hadn’t known each other very long.
When he was shown the Facebook status
that mentioned him by name,
Moose immediately gave an alibi.
But just as investigators started working
to verify Moose’s whereabouts over the last few days,
they became aware of a weird call
that had been made from Awachagee’s apartment
the day she was murdered.
It was 2-9-1-1 and made by Awachagee herself.
We’re on 9-1-1.
What is the location of your emergency?
It’s difficult to make out what’s going on,
but obviously something was wrong.
And minutes later, Awachagee called back,
but this time her tone was different.
Norman 9-1-1, what is the location of your emergency?
Yes, I accidentally dialed the wrong number
and pressed emergency call by accident.
Everything is okay there?
Yes, there is.
The dispatcher never routed a police officer
to her apartment,
and officials didn’t put two and two together
until the next day when they realized
that there was a murder investigation
underway at the same location.
Norman police detective Jim Parks,
who’s working the case today,
has analyzed those phone calls over and over.
That tells me either she or the male
that you heard in the first call
was afraid that the cops were gonna show up
because 9-1-1 was called.
So she was forced to make a second call
saying, hey, everything’s okay.
It was an accidental call, yada yada.
The fact that nobody had been called
to at least do a welfare check
at the apartment surprised police.
It was protocol to alert patrol officers
of an emergency call,
and they couldn’t help but wonder
if they had been dispatched,
if they would have interrupted the attack.
Of course, no one can say for sure
that Awachagite would still be alive
if police had been dispatched,
but it’s an element of the case
that’s always frustrated her family.
In fact, detective Parks said
that there ended up being an internal investigation
and the dispatcher was actually let go
because of the whole thing.
The 9-1-1 calls made police lean
further into their theory
that whoever tore up Awachagite’s apartment
likely killed her.
The calls also provided a decent jumping off point
for the investigative timeline
because now they had confirmation
that Awachagite had been alive
and not alone at her apartment
around 6 a.m. the morning of September 24th.
That detail also helped police confirm Moose’s alibi,
which checked out.
He was in Oklahoma City when Awachagite called 9-1-1.
Around this time, officers in Norman
made arrangements for another police department
to notify Awachagite’s mom, Roberta, of her death
because she lived in Florida.
I was getting ready to leave my house
and I walked out the front door
and that’s when I saw two Seminole police cars
coming into my driveway.
And I thought to myself,
oh no, which one is in jail?
I wasn’t thinking murder.
And my life, my life stopped right there
when I was informed.
The Seminole Police Department assured Roberta
that detectives in Oklahoma were working hard
to find her daughter’s killer.
But it didn’t matter.
Roberta was on the next flight out.
My tribe offered to send me out there
to be with her body.
So I landed in Norman.
When I got to her apartment,
her front door was kicked in.
The place was a shambles.
So looking around and seeing what I saw,
after the police had gathered evidence and whatnot,
I felt terror, I felt mourning,
I felt anger.
After talking to Roberta,
police learned that Awachiki was born and raised
on the Seminole tribes, Big Cypress Reservation,
which is in the Florida Everglades,
about two hours Northwest of Miami.
Everybody knows Awachiki.
She had that kind of personality.
She was, Awachiki means star in Seminole language.
And that’s exactly what she was.
She was a shining star.
She was a bright star to where everybody knew her,
Not only that,
but Osceola is a prominent name in the Seminole tribe.
They’re descendants of Chief Osceola,
who’s a famous tribal leader.
Police and relatives wondered if Awachiki’s killer
knew that she received a monthly stipend from the tribe
because of her prominence.
And if she had been targeted because of that.
Whoever kicked in her door was there to get something.
I had to replace the ignition keys to her Cadillac.
So apparently maybe he tried to take her car,
but that didn’t happen.
Her purse, her bank account was emptied out.
So there was aggression.
Whoever did that had one thing in mind
was to get what he wanted and leave her like trash,
like she was nothing.
Pretty soon detectives made some progress
by backtracking Awachiki’s bank records.
They discovered that she had used her ATM card
to withdraw $500 on September 23rd
at a gas station near her apartment.
And just to double check that it was her using her card
and not someone else,
detectives got surveillance video from the 7-Eleven,
which clearly showed Awachiki going in
and getting cash and leaving.
Detectives also noted what she was wearing in that video
because it was the same clothes that she was found in.
Bank records showed another almost $500
was taken out of her account on September 24th
from an ATM at a nearby casino.
As police worked the ATM leads,
they were still waiting to hear from the medical examiner.
The autopsy was taking longer than usual.
So at this point, they still didn’t know how she died.
Though they did learn that Awachiki had either had sex
or been sexually assaulted recently
because there was semen present.
Unfortunately, examiners couldn’t tell
if she had been sexually assaulted
or if the sex act was consensual.
They just knew that it had happened
within the last few days.
Through more interviews, investigators learned
that Awachiki was a cocaine user
and her friends said that the reason she moved
to a college town like Norman, at least in part,
was to be closer to a dealer that she knew
out of Oklahoma City whose name was Rob Ross,
better known by his customers as just Cocaine Rob.
Police looked up Rob and saw that he was a felon
with a long history of drug-related charges.
So with that intel, they made moves to track him down.
And they also worked to get his phone records
along with Awachiki’s.
And what they found was very interesting.
Cell records showed that Awachiki and Rob
had been texting and talking on the phone
up until the morning of September 24th.
And as they suspected, the last text sent
from Awachiki’s phone was the one
to her friend received about Moose trying to kill her.
But they learned that that text wasn’t sent
from her apartment.
It was sent from the Riverwind Casino,
which was a few miles away.
And it was the same location where her ATM card
had been used the day that she was killed.
Detectives headed straight to the casino
to review surveillance footage.
And sure enough, they spotted Rob at the casino
the morning of September 24th.
The videos showed Rob at a slot machine talking to a man,
walking through the casino with a woman.
And at 7.23 AM, he was at the ATM machine.
Rob used a debit card to withdraw just under $500,
which perfectly matched Awachiki’s bank statements.
Now, by the way, we made several efforts
to try and get in touch with Rob for this episode,
even leaving messages on a working cell number
that we obtained, but no luck.
So police were really closing in on Rob,
but they wanted to be sure
that they had all the information possible
before arresting him.
So they identified the two people
that he was seen with at the casino,
and they brought them in for questioning.
The man that Rob was seen chatting with
at the slot machines cooperated and told police
that he just happened to be at the casino that morning
and ran into Rob.
He said that the two had served time in jail together
in the past, and Rob had tried to actually recruit him
to sell drugs.
The man said he didn’t know anything about a murder
and that Rob hadn’t mentioned anything about it.
So next, police interviewed the woman Rob had been with
in the casino.
The two were actually spotted on surveillance together
in her car in the casino parking lot too.
And what she had to say basically sealed the deal
The woman admitted to police that Rob was her dealer,
and sometimes she would give him rides
in exchange for drugs.
She said that Rob had asked her for a ride
early on the morning of the 24th,
and she took him to an apartment complex in Norman.
She told detectives that per Rob’s request,
she dropped him off across the street
from the apartment that he needed to visit.
The woman said that Rob asked her to wait for him,
so she did.
But at least an hour went by, and finally Rob called her
and said to pick him up at a nearby stop sign,
like a completely different location
than where she dropped him off.
You can actually see a map marking these areas
on our website, thedeckpodcast.com.
The woman said that when Rob got to her car,
he was quote, sweaty and nervous.
She also said that he had some items with him,
but she couldn’t tell what
because he stuffed them under the passenger seat.
Then he asked her to take him straight to the casino,
so she did.
Detectives reviewed surveillance footage
that showed Rob and the woman getting to the casino
around 7.15 the morning of September 24th.
Then two minutes later, at 7.17 a.m.,
the Facebook status was posted to a WatchGeese page,
After they parked, Rob was seen on surveillance
throwing something into a trash can
in the casino parking lot.
After going in and visiting the ATM and playing those slots,
Rob and the woman can be seen on video
leaving the casino parking lot in her car at 8.08 a.m.
Now, the woman even agreed to take detectives
to retrace their route the morning of the 24th.
She pointed out the apartment complex
where she dropped off Rob,
which was a WatchGeese building.
But because she parked across the street,
she didn’t see which apartment he went into.
Detectives figured it was a WatchGeese phone
that Rob tossed into the trash in the casino parking lot,
but unfortunately, by the time they went looking for it,
the trash had been emptied and the phone was long gone.
But that didn’t mean that they couldn’t connect him
to the phone.
Along with placing him at the casino
where the text and Facebook status were made from,
detectives found messages that Rob had sent
to other friends on his phone,
where instead of typing out trying to,
he wrote Tryna, T-R-Y-N-A.
It’s the same spelling as a WatchGeese Facebook post
and group text.
By this time, there was little doubt
in the minds of detectives that Rob was their guy.
They needed to find him and quickly, but it wasn’t easy.
Rob didn’t have a house or apartment
or any address of his own.
He was known to stay with friends and family
in Oklahoma City,
but he bopped around to different couches all the time.
They finally were able to track him down several days later,
and on October 5th, investigators sat him down
for an interview.
And to their surprise, he was willing to talk, sort of.
Do you understand how all of this looks to us?
I mean, you get that, right?
And how does it look to us?
I mean, I’m not gonna say a shit,
but somehow we got along.
Our reporting team got copies of Rob’s interrogation,
and he’s super hard to understand.
But he said something to the effect of,
I’m not who you all want.
But the detective wasn’t having it.
You’re not the person that killed her,
which I think you are.
I’ll just be straight up with you.
And I told you there’s different levels of homicide.
You’re only, okay, with all this evidence and people
and the 911 call,
and you making her call 911 back,
this, to me, looks premeditated.
To that, Rob just kind of groaned in response.
Didn’t actually say anything.
Then the detective asked to see Rob’s shoes
because he wanted to compare the tread to the shoe print
that was on Awachigie’s front door.
Rob was like, okay, fine, but that won’t prove anything
because I have like 10 pairs of shoes.
But detectives could see on surveillance
that the shoes that he was wearing
on the morning of the murder were the same,
but they didn’t have to reveal that to him.
Next, the detective asked Rob
about Awachigie’s Facebook status.
And Rob said that he hadn’t seen it,
but the detective just lays it all out there.
I know that you typed that on her phone.
I know you hit the Facebook icon on her phone
and you were able to type that
to make it look like Moose was involved.
The investigator was like, listen, everyone is talking.
We have so many witnesses
and all the fingers are pointing in your direction.
So this is your moment to give your side of the story.
And finally Rob said, okay, fine.
I was at Awachigie’s apartment that morning,
but we just got drunk on Patron and had sex.
Rob said he did not kick down the door.
He said that Awachigie let him in
and that he knew nothing about her calling 911.
Rob said after they had sex,
Awachigie let him borrow her debit card
and even gave him her pin number
because she owed him money for cocaine.
And that’s when he went to the casino.
Was it premeditated or not?
That’s the main thing.
I don’t know.
If it’s not premeditated,
I can tell the DA that it’s not premeditated.
He didn’t plan on going over there to kill her.
That’s a big difference in this case.
And she deserves justice.
I know you don’t want to look at her photo.
Maybe you’re trying to forget about her,
but it’s, you know, she-
She was a good person and I know I didn’t do it.
If you couldn’t understand him,
Rob said, she was a good person and I know I didn’t do it.
Rob told police that after he left the casino,
he went back to Oklahoma City and met his cousin
and they went to their aunt’s funeral.
Detectives confirmed this funeral story,
but what Rob said after didn’t make sense.
He said it was after his aunt’s funeral on the 24th
that he learned a body had been found in Norman.
At first, he said the information came from the internet
and later he said a friend called and told him,
but police knew that both stories were BS
because her body wasn’t discovered
until the night of the 25th.
When asked what happened to a watch he’s debit card,
Rob said that he had tossed it out the window
on the way home from his aunt’s funeral
because he was worried the cops were after him
over a drug deal.
So you might be wondering if police arrested Rob
right then and there, but they didn’t.
They released him after he asked for a lawyer,
but before he was released,
Rob allowed police to inspect his shoe tread
and he provided a DNA swap.
Detectives sent off Rob’s DNA
to see if it matched the semen found in a watch key.
And they even sent off the shoe markings to an expert
to see if they matched the print on the doorframe.
And at about this time,
finally the autopsy findings came back
and the results baffled detectives.
The autopsy showed a watch key had injuries
to the back of her neck,
which police said were consistent with strangulation,
but the medical examiner listed her death as unknown.
The cause of death being undetermined
wasn’t the surprising part.
It was that the examiner also categorized
her manner of death as unknown.
Manner of death is the category
where they’re supposed to say if the victim was murdered
or if the death was accidental or what.
So here they were ready to charge cocaine Rob with murder
and now they couldn’t because they had no homicide ruling.
It basically meant the ME didn’t see enough
physical evidence to prove one way or another
how a watch key died.
It was more than clear, at least to investigators
that the last moment of a watch keys life
was met with violence.
Cuts and bruises were noted on different places of her body
as well as traces of blood on her pillow.
There wasn’t enough blood left at the scene
to be helpful though.
Investigators did collect it
and they tried to have it tested
to see if it was a watch keys or not.
There just wasn’t a big enough sample to get any results.
But thanks to toxicology findings,
now they knew that there was no way a watch key overdosed
because there was no alcohol in her system
and there was very little cocaine detected,
like trace amounts that were barely even measurable.
A watch keys mom, Roberta was devastated over the ruling.
I don’t know what else to say about that
except I’m not going to accept undetermined.
Something has to happen
or somebody has to say something to change that.
To make the case even stronger,
DNA came back confirming Rob had had sex with a watch key
but he had admitted that much.
So police asked Rob, if the sex had been consensual,
why did a watch key end up bleeding
and dead on her bedroom floor
shortly after he left her apartment?
Now he said he didn’t know
and that she was alive when he left to go to the casino
but that wasn’t good enough
for the Norman police department.
So they asked the local district attorney
to charge Rob with a watch keys murder anyway.
But prosecutors wouldn’t
because of the undetermined ruling.
So there was nothing else detectives could do.
They truly felt as if Rob had gotten away with murder
and years went by and nothing happened.
That is until 2017, when detective Parks reopened the case.
He re-examined all the evidence
and in 2019, he decided it was worth getting a second opinion
on a watch keys manner of death.
One of his FBI contacts helped him recruit the assistance
of the armed forces medical examiner’s office in Maryland.
They agreed to take a second look at the case
and its original findings.
And in April, 2019, six years after a watch keys death,
the federal ME was like,
yeah, there’s no doubt she was murdered.
The manner of death was homicide.
The cause of death was a homicide by unknown means.
And they provided a several page report
on why homicide by unknown means
can be a justifiable ruling of homicide.
With the other ME’s determination in hand,
this was Parks’ shot, his Hail Mary.
And so I presented that to the district attorney’s office
and they were pretty excited at first
and then later decided, no, we have to work
with the state medical examiner’s office
in all of our cases.
We’re gonna stick by their ruling
and we’re not gonna file.
We reached out to the Oklahoma’s office
of the chief medical examiner to try
and better understand their findings in this case,
but they declined to be interviewed.
In a letter to detective Parks in response to his asking them
to at least recategorize a watch keys death as a homicide,
the chief ME said, quote,
whereas the circumstances of death are indeed suspicious,
I find it inappropriate to insert any reference
to manner of death into the cause of death statement.
The cause of death in this case is undetermined.
The manner is best classified as undetermined, end quote.
In the early days of the investigation,
police interviewed everyone in a watch keys orbit,
her friends, an ex-husband, her boyfriend, her family,
all of whom had alibis that checked out.
Only one person could be placed at a watch keys apartment
on the morning of September 24th.
Do you have an opinion as to
who may have taken your daughter’s life?
I’m gonna say that according to my detective,
he indicates that all evidence leads to one person.
I want justice for my baby.
In November of 2020,
the Seminole tribe wrote letters
to the Oklahoma attorney general’s office
and called for a formal independent review
of the methodology used during a watch keys autopsy.
But as far as detective Parks knows, nothing came of it.
At the end of the day,
he wants to see charges brought against Rob,
even if it’s for second degree murder.
You know, I can point the finger.
Did Norman Police Department fall down
on this case a little bit?
Yeah, we should have sent a patrol officer
on that first 911 call.
There should have been somebody there within a few minutes.
But we did what we could to rectify that problem.
Should the medical examiner’s office
have better supervision over their pathologist?
They have done nothing to reconcile their mistake.
Should the district attorney file a case
against Robert Ross for the death of a watch key?
Absolutely, because it’s the right thing to do.
Leave it up to a jury to decide
whether he’s guilty or not guilty,
but it’s the right thing to do.
It needs to be done.
To this day, no arrests have been made
in connection to a watch keys death.
Her missing phone and debit card have never been found.
Roberta told us she hopes to one day
see the whites of the eyes belonging to the person
who stole her daughter’s future.
I would say that there are measures
that have been put in place with the Lord,
and he will seek justice for me and a watch key.
And whoever did this to her,
he’s gonna answer to the Lord.
He’s gonna have to answer to God.
If you’re walking away from this case as unsettled as I am,
the family and the tribe encourage you to do what they did.
Send more letters to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office
and call for a formal independent review
of the methodology used during a watch keys autopsy.
We’ll put the contact information
for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office
in the show notes and on the website.
We need to show them that people are paying attention
and that a watch key deserves justice.
And if you have any additional information
about the murder of a watch key Osceola,
you’re asked to call the Norman Police Department
in Oklahoma at 405-366-5208.
The Deck is an AudioChuck production
with theme music by Ryan Lewis.
To learn more about The Deck and our advocacy work,
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