Our cards this week are Joyce Tina Gallegos and Gabrielle DeStefano, the seven and three
of spades from Utah.
In 1982, Tina and Gabby mysteriously disappeared from the same northern Utah city only days
When their bodies were found just miles from each other, many people took notice of the
similarities in their cases, and a recent development in the case has permanently linked
their two murders.
For 40 years, their cases have been unsolved, but police are still hopeful the right person
is out there, who has the power to bring their killer or killers to justice.
I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Deck.
It was 2005 at the Weber County Sheriff’s Office in Utah.
The agency’s stack of cold cases were piling up.
Janice Van Orden decided to revisit some of the cases that she’d been watching collect
dust on the shelf for years, particularly two of the county’s coldest cases that had
been brought to her attention by a friend of hers who was an investigator at the Weber
County’s attorney’s office.
This was the 1982 murders of Joyce Tina Gallegos and Gabrielle DeStefano.
Law enforcement in Weber County had long suspected that the two cases were related, but to date
no one could prove it, it was just a feeling.
Gabby and Tina didn’t know each other, but they ran in the same circles.
Both girls were killed in 1982 within a few days of each other, their bodies found within
the same five-mile radius, and both of them were killed with the same kind of weapon.
Van Orden wasn’t satisfied with just a feeling, a mere theory wouldn’t even get them close
to finding the monster who did this.
If they were connected, she wanted to be able to prove it.
So she and other detectives with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office dove head first
into Gabby and Tina’s cases, re-familiarizing themselves with the two investigations that
hadn’t seen any movement since 1984, a whopping 21 years earlier.
They started with Tina’s case, since she was the first one to be killed.
And when they went to dig up Tina’s files, they realized it would be a bit more difficult
than they thought to revisit her case, because most of the initial reports were missing.
They just completely vanished.
That meant tons of vital information was just gone, and it meant that they’d have to gather
the decades-old information they needed another way.
Van Orden reached out to the original detectives on the case, hoping that maybe they had the
files tucked away in their basement somewhere, or at the very least, hopefully they remembered
enough information to give her a summary of the case and the initial investigation.
But her hopes were dashed.
I didn’t learn anything from them.
All I got was a, I can’t remember, it’s been too long ago.
I don’t know how you could lose a murder investigation, a report of a murder investigation, and not
know what you did with your report.
That is your report.
You don’t give it away.
You don’t go to a meeting and say, okay, take this.
It just blows my mind that anything like that would ever happen with a homicide.
Van Orden wasn’t giving up.
She knew that there were two other agencies in Weber County that had a hand in the initial
investigation, the Harrisville and Ogden Police Departments.
She reached out to both agencies, and thankfully, they both still had reports on Tina’s case.
Van Orden assembled a team of other investigators, and together, they combed through the reports
to figure out what happened to Tina all those years ago.
And here is the timeline that they were able to piece together.
On August 21st, 1982, a fisherman in Ogden, Utah, was enjoying a bright summer day at
the Ogden River when something unusual caught his eye.
Out in the middle of the river, resting on a sandbank, was what looked to be a person
just laying there, motionless.
When the person didn’t move for several minutes, the fisherman started to fear the
worst, so he left to go find a phone and call police.
Soon after, deputies with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene.
The person on the sandbank was a young woman, and unfortunately, there were no signs of life.
Just by looking at her, it was easy for deputies to tell that she had been dead for a while.
She was dressed in a pair of Levi’s jeans and a plain shirt, with her jewelry still on.
Though she didn’t have any ID on her, so it wasn’t immediately clear who she was.
But officers could tell that she was maybe 20, 30 years old, and she had suffered some
kind of trauma to her head.
Once she was taken for autopsy, her exact cause of death was immediately clear.
The medical examiner found that she had been shot twice, once through her lower eyelid
and once through the back of the neck.
I mean, to police, this looked like an execution.
The ME determined that the weapon used was a large caliber gun, a .38, one of the bullets
that was still lodged in her skull was extracted to keep as evidence.
The ME noted that the woman was badly bruised, but it didn’t seem to be because of a beating.
The bruising seemed to have been postmortem, likely from hitting rocks and debris as she
floated down the river.
Now in 2005, when her case was being reexamined, detectives couldn’t find any information
on how the woman was identified.
There weren’t any missing persons reports matching the woman, so it couldn’t have been
through that route.
So it’s likely that she was identified through fingerprints or maybe dental records.
Whichever way it happened, within a few days of the woman being found, authorities confirmed
She was 21-year-old Ogden resident Joyce Tina Gallegos.
When police first learned her name, it probably sounded familiar because for the past week,
they’d had her purse in their possession.
On August 13th, someone had come to the police station and turned in a purse that they found
in the Ogden River.
Once again, detectives in 2005 don’t know who exactly it was that turned it in.
That’s another part of Tina’s case that’s been lost to time.
All that was written down was that someone who found it somewhere came in and turned
it in on the 13th.
Anyway, once Tina was identified, her family was located and notified of her death.
No one had reported her missing, but she hadn’t exactly been missing for a concerning amount
Friends and family had just seen her out and about on the 11th, which is just 10 days before
she was found.
One relative told deputies that they’d seen Tina at a bus stop in downtown Ogden.
As those original detectives interviewed friends and family, one detail about Tina’s final
days stuck out to them.
She’d recently been in a fight, and interestingly enough, the fight happened to be at the same
bus stop where she was last seen at, just a day before she disappeared.
Tina was interviewed by police the day of that fight, and this is what she said happened.
She was waiting for the bus after leaving the Weber County Vocational Workshop when
she saw a man who was later identified as Shannon Hale, and this man was pushing people
Tina said when she asked him to stop, his aggression turned toward her.
He slapped her several times, which caused her to fall to the ground and bump her head.
That’s when a counselor from the workshop came running outside to break up the fight.
When police arrived and talked to Shannon, he told them that Tina started it, though
Tina denied instigating things, but she did decide not to press charges.
As those original investigators continued to look further into Tina’s life, it seemed
that other than Shannon, Tina didn’t really have enemies.
Our reporting team spoke with Steve Haney, an investigator with the Weber County Attorney’s
He’s reexamining the case today alongside the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, and Steve
said that even though Tina lived a rather quiet life, she was known to have a dangerous
She was a free spirit.
Everybody seemed to like her.
She, you know, would, like I said, hang around Ogden and stand there until somebody rolled
up and then hop in with them.
She knew a lot of people.
She usually jumped in with somebody she knew, but sometimes it was just some random person
who would just give her a ride.
But then again, Ogden was also a lot different, you know.
back in 1982, you know, and there was a lot of, like, trust that you could jump in in
a vehicle with somebody and not be putting yourself in danger.
Just three days after Tina’s body was found, police were already hitting a wall.
Detective Mike Wells was interviewed by the Daily Herald and said the case was puzzling.
He said, quote,
We are following up on routine leads, but we have nothing definite.
It doesn’t appear that robbery was the motive since her jewelry was still intact.
And it doesn’t appear it was a sex crime because she was fully clothed, end quote.
But the setback in the investigation didn’t last long.
24 hours after that article was published, an arrest was made.
A 35-year-old man who we’ll call Raymond was arrested on a warrant all the way over
in San Jose, California, 800-some miles away from Ogden, Utah.
And he was charged with second-degree murder in Tina’s death.
So you’re probably wondering the same thing everyone else was wondering when news of his
What did a California man have to do with a Utah woman’s murder?
Well, Raymond had actually lived in Utah with his mother for quite some time before moving
They lived in Clearfield together, which is about 15 minutes south of Ogden.
Not only that, but Raymond had known Tina when he lived in Utah.
They only knew each other for about two months, but sometime within those two months, they
went on some dates.
It wasn’t fully explained what Raymond’s motive would have been for killing Tina or
why police zeroed in on him so quickly.
And it’s something that’s deeply puzzled detectives who were reviewing the case in 2005.
But according to court documents our reporting team got, he was charged with second-degree
murder and held on a $100,000 bond.
On September 16th, 26 days after Tina was found, Raymond’s preliminary hearing was
And imagine Raymond’s defense team thought this would be a pretty open and shut case.
There was no evidence that their client had anything to do with the murder.
And what’s more, he currently lived in an entirely different state.
But what the defense team didn’t know was that the prosecution was preparing to drop
They had a key witness who was ready to go public.
Now I want to pause for a moment and let you know that the information you’re about to
hear is something that has completely fallen through the cracks over the past few decades.
It’s been entirely forgotten.
Like I said earlier, because Tina’s case file was lost, that means a ton of vital information
disappeared from law enforcement’s eyes.
Vital information like potentially damning testimony from their primary suspect’s preliminary
Detectives on the case today weren’t even aware that this witness existed until our
investigative team uncovered old archived newspaper articles detailing the court proceedings
So what I’m about to tell you has been, by a complete accident, one of the best kept
secrets in Weber County history.
At Raymond’s preliminary hearing, the prosecution called to the stand a 28-year-old man named
According to reporting done by both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Daily Herald, Frank was
introduced in the hearing as a quote-unquote Ogden police undercover narcotics officer.
And what Frank told the court put an end to the looming question of why police had gotten
tunnel vision for Raymond.
You see, Frank testified that back on August 12th, the day after Tina was last seen, Raymond
confessed to him that he killed Tina and then dumped her in the Ogden River.
Frank also said that during this interaction, Raymond tried to sell him a large caliber
Now, this is where things get really confusing.
After Frank testified, Raymond’s defense attorney pointed out something in an attempt
to tarnish Frank’s credibility.
He noted that Frank himself had two felony convictions on his record.
And that’s what stumps me.
Like I said earlier, Frank was referred to as an undercover narcotics officer.
So how is he also a felon?
Like that is actually one of the few stipulations for becoming a police officer.
You cannot have any felony convictions.
Our team spoke with Sergeant Terrence Lavely with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office for
this episode, and we asked how in the world a man with two felony convictions could have
been a law enforcement officer.
And Sergeant Lavely said that it might have been a case where newspaper reporters misunderstood
who Frank was.
Perhaps Frank was actually a confidential informant, not an undercover narcotics officer
as newspapers at the time reported.
But that explanation is also baffling because if that were the case, if Frank were a confidential
informant, then why would the newspapers openly name him?
And the court documents we have don’t clarify this whatsoever.
Okay, whether Frank was an undercover officer or a confidential informant, either way, his
testimony was damning.
But Raymond maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty.
In fact, he said that he couldn’t have killed Tina because he was in California at that
point, hours away from where Tina was killed.
It took a while for his defense team to prove his alibi.
But according to reporting by the Daily Herald, by early November, the judge was satisfied
with the proof and actually dropped the charges against Raymond altogether less than two weeks
before his trial was scheduled to begin.
It’s not clear what alibi was so convincing for the judge to drop all charges before the
But whatever the case, Raymond went on to file a $350,000 lawsuit against the Weber
County Sheriff’s Office, also against a handful of individual deputies, the county
and the state of Utah for being wrongfully accused.
There are many things about Tina’s case that are frustrating, but this is the part
that leaves my head spinning.
If Raymond’s alibi was proven to be airtight beyond a shadow of a doubt, then that means
that Frank was flat out lying.
So why would this Frank guy lie about something so serious?
Was he trying to cover his own tracks?
And I still can’t get over, who is this man?
Is he an undercover narcotics officer, a now publicly identified confidential informant,
or is he just some guy?
And obviously at AudioChuck, we don’t like not knowing.
So with the help of Detective Haney, our reporting team did some digging and we got our hands
on some court documents from Raymond’s trial.
But unfortunately, the documents weren’t nearly as detailed as we hoped.
The records say that Frank Gailey did testify at Raymond’s preliminary hearing because
he’s listed as a witness, but they don’t say what he said or even who he was.
So Detective Haney tried another route, city records.
He went through Ogden’s old records and he found no evidence that Frank was ever a
police officer with the city.
So Detective Haney says it’s likely that Frank was a police informant because that’s
the only explanation that makes sense of the fact that he had felonies on his record.
But again, even if that’s the case, it’s still unclear why he accused Raymond of the
So our reporting team put in a records request to the Ogden Police Department to see if they
had record of Frank’s employment with the department.
As of this recording, we still haven’t received any such records and we knew it would take
So our reporting team decided to look Frank up and see if we could contact him directly
to confirm once and for all who he was and why he testified at Raymond’s hearing.
But sadly, all we found was his obituary.
According to Provident Funeral Homes, he passed away in August 2018.
So we tried the next best thing after that.
Our reporter found Frank’s widow on Facebook and sent her a message just asking if she
could confirm or deny if Frank was ever an undercover narcotics officer.
And minutes after sending that message, our reporter got blocked.
So our reporter tried the cell number that we found for her online, but it was actually
a wrong number.
Even without total confirmation, the fact that both the city and the police department
didn’t have record of his employment and the fact that he had two felonies on his record,
I think it’s safe to say that Frank was not an undercover narcotics officer.
But it does still leave a few questions.
Why did both the Daily Herald and the Salt Lake Tribune report the exact same wording
that Frank was a, quote, Ogden Police undercover narcotics officer?
Did both of the papers get that vital information wrong or was someone lying about who Frank
But I don’t know.
Maybe it doesn’t matter all that much who he was.
Because the fact of the matter is that regardless of title, either Frank or Raymond was flat
Either Frank’s testimony was BS or Raymond’s alibi was.
And whoever was lying got away with it.
That’s the mystery.
And frankly, it’s a mystery that may never be solved.
Because police have never addressed it.
And up until our reporter started looking into the case, it was a forgotten part of
So after the charges against Raymond were dropped, Tina’s case went cold.
And that’s how it would stay for decades, until Sergeant Van Orden and her team set
out to warm it up.
And once they’d familiarized themselves with Tina’s case, they needed to learn the
ins and outs of Gabby DeStefano’s case.
Because while authorities in Ogden had been busy investigating Tina’s murder, Gabby’s
body was found just 10 minutes up the road.
Now this case was a bit easier for Sergeant Van Orden and her team to dive into because
the initial reports were all still intact.
So in 2005, Sergeant Van Orden moved from reviewing Tina’s unsolved murder to Gabby’s.
And this is what she pieced together.
On September 16th, 1982, a construction worker in Harrisville, Utah, about 10 minutes north
of Ogden, was working on a large plot of land that was in the beginning stages of becoming
a residential subdivision.
It was almost noon, and he was digging a ditch with a backhoe when he saw some litter in
the ditch a few feet away.
But when he got closer, he realized that he was looking at a shower curtain covered up
by a bit of dirt, and it looked like something big was wrapped up in the curtain.
So he called over his supervisor.
The supervisor agreed that the shower curtain in the ditch is odd, so they unraveled it
to see what was inside.
And beneath, there was a towel inscribed with the words apartment 15.
They also found some clothing and something else.
At first, it was hard to tell exactly what it was, but then it hit them.
They were looking at a severely decomposed human body.
They phoned the Harrisville Police Department, and officers responded right away.
Police confirmed that it was human remains wrapped up in the curtain, but the decomposition
was so severe that it was impossible for them to know the person’s gender or age.
This also meant that they couldn’t immediately tell how the person died.
In fact, a local newspaper reported that officers weren’t even sure whether or not they were
dealing with foul play.
I mean, for me, the fact that a person was wrapped in a shower curtain screams foul play,
but it’s possible that police were just trying to protect the integrity of the investigation
by saying that.
But regardless, it didn’t take long for authorities to know for sure that there was foul play
The ME found that the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head, and the
person was identified through dental records as 14-year-old Gabrielle DiStefano, who’d
been missing for a full month.
Once police knew they had a homicide on their hands, they got to work right away.
Detectives needed to determine Gabby’s last movement, so they interviewed family and friends.
Gabby’s mom Edie had last seen her in mid-August, but she actually hadn’t reported her missing
until August 25th.
That’s because Edie initially assumed Gabby was staying with friends, but after a week
and a half of not seeing her, she knew that something was wrong, so she reported her missing
to the Ogden Police Department.
So in 2005, as Sergeant Van Orden was reviewing Gabby’s file, she was relieved to see that
former detectives had documented their initial interviews.
According to reports in the case file, Edie told detectives that the last interaction
she had with Gabby was around 6 p.m. on August 15th.
Gabby was gathering her things and preparing to leave the house, and she said she was going
to a friend’s house and promised to be home by 11.
But when those detectives interviewed Gabby’s friends, they heard a different story.
They reported seeing Gabby that evening at Paramount Bowl, which is this popular hangout
spot for teens in the Ogden area.
But there was some speculation that she wasn’t there to bowl.
Police caught wind of a rumor that Gabby was meeting some friends at the bowling alley
so they could all carpool to a house party in Riverdale, which is 10 minutes south of
That story was never confirmed, but it’s something the original detectives kept in
mind as they continued investigating.
Whether Gabby went to the Paramount Bowl that night, or if she was going to a party, or
even if she was telling the truth and went to a friend’s house, Edie told investigators
she actually saw Gabby again later that same night in the wee hours of the morning on August
Edie said that around 1 a.m. she heard a car pulling into her driveway.
You see, her bedroom window faced the driveway, so she peeked out to see who it was, and it
was a car she recognized, a candy apple red lowrider, maybe a Chevy Impala.
She’d seen Gabby get picked up by that car before.
As Edie watched out the window, she saw Gabby and someone else in the front seat and two
other people in the back seat.
But what she witnessed next was kind of odd.
The car sat there in the driveway, brake lights on, for five minutes, but no one got
out of the car.
Then after five minutes, the car’s headlights flipped on and it sped out of the driveway.
Edie didn’t know it at the time, but that was the last time she would ever see her daughter.
A few days after detectives talked to Edie, one of Gabby’s friends who had seen her the
night of August 15th was formally interviewed.
She said that she saw Gabby around 9 p.m. that evening at Paramount Bowl.
Just like Edie had told police, the friend also had seen Gabby in a red lowrider car
with a few other people, maybe four or five.
And what stood out to this friend is that she didn’t recognize the people that Gabby
was in the car with, and they didn’t look like people Gabby would normally be hanging
Now, for a few months, that is all the initial investigators had to go on.
They were looking for a bright red lowrider car.
Again, maybe it was a Chevy Impala.
From what Sergeant Van Orden could tell from Gabby’s case file, police didn’t receive
their next big tip until November.
The tipster who came forward named not one, but two potential suspects, the first being
a girl we’re going to call Teresa, who apparently had some major beef with Gabby.
It was rumored that there was some sort of love triangle between Teresa, Gabby, and a
boy named Pat Klein.
Teresa and Gabby were both interested in Pat, and Teresa had supposedly threatened to kill
Gabby if she didn’t stop seeing him.
The tipster thought Teresa should obviously be considered as a suspect, but it took investigators
like one minute to figure out Teresa was actually in youth lockup at the time of Gabby’s
So the tipster offered up a second suspect, Teresa’s ex-boyfriend, 16-year-old Sammy
Sammy was also Gabby’s ex-boyfriend.
And it’s not clear why, but the tipster thought that he was suspicious and should
be looked into.
But it seems like police initially kind of brushed this tip off, likely because they
were so busy chasing other leads that were flooding in.
It seemed that Sammy’s name completely fell off detectives’ radars over the next few
months until April 24th of 1983, when two teenage runaways from Ogden were picked up
We’re going to call these two Chloe and Brooke.
From what Sergeant Van Orden could tell us from the case reports, police in Montana found
the girls at a truck stop asking people for money and makeup.
And since the girls looked so young, the officer knew something was up.
They took the girls to a local police station, and that’s when they started talking.
And not about what anyone was expecting them to talk about.
Chloe and Brooke started discussing their friend Gabby’s murder back home in Utah.
And Chloe said that she knew who killed her, a boy named Sammy Mora.
Chloe said that she and Brooke had been at a party with Sammy and Gabby the night before
Gabby disappeared, and she was pretty sure Sammy was the shooter.
Now it’s unclear if authorities in Montana relayed this information to police in Utah
at the time, or even what came of the information.
But it did eventually land in Gabby’s case file.
But it took almost a year after the girls were picked up in Montana for police to contact
Specifically, on March 5th of 1984, Detective Norman Sokai contacted Brooke again, and she
corroborated Chloe’s story.
She said she was at the party in Riverdale with Chloe, Sammy, and Gabby, and that she
never saw a gun, but she always thought Sammy was the one who killed Gabby.
Detective Sokai noted that Brooke claimed to have been threatened by someone, and she
It was the talk in town at the time that Sammy was one of the three guys involved in Gabby’s
The other two were older guys named Larry Lucero and Pete Romero.
And interestingly enough, Sammy, Pete, and Larry all did drive red cars.
Now for some reason, the initial investigators kind of zeroed in on Pete.
And they actually went and picked up his car to be taken to the crime lab.
And get this, in the trunk of his car, they found a blood stain and hair.
When Pete was asked about the blood, he said that it must have gotten there when he loaned
his car out to a friend.
Obviously technicians analyzed the blood, and they were able to determine that it was
type A, which didn’t match Gabby’s blood type.
And the hair also didn’t match Gabby’s either.
But after that interaction with police, Pete stopped talking and refused to return to the
police station without a lawyer.
So later that month, police interviewed Sammy.
He denied any and all involvement in Gabby’s murder.
He even denied being with her on August 15th of 1982, even though two witnesses put the
two of them together.
At one point during the interview, Sammy became angry and belligerent.
But once he calmed down, he agreed to take a polygraph.
So they set one up for the following day.
But Sammy didn’t show.
And instead, he lawyered up.
They tried to do interviews, they tried to do polygraphs, they tried to use informants,
they tried to use the technology that they had at the time.
And nothing kind of got any traction that way.
The case goes cold at that point.
New homicides happen, detectives get promoted, they get, they retire.
And a lot of the times these cases go on the shelves.
And just like Tina’s case, Gabby’s got tucked away on a shelf for decades.
That’s where Sgt.
Van Orden found both their cases in 2005, just growing colder by the day.
Once she and her team had learned the ins and outs of both cases, they decided to try
some new investigative methods that hadn’t been tried before and wouldn’t have even
been available in the 80s.
And when they did this, what she uncovered confirmed what police had suspected all along.
In 2008, Sgt.
Van Orden and her team sent bullets from Tina’s and Gabby’s cases to the crime lab.
And the results proved, once and for all, what Sgt.
Van Orden set out to determine.
The ballistics testing showed that both bullets came from the exact same gun.
But as great of a discovery as this was for both cases, when police dug the bullets out
of evidence, they realized something important was missing.
Every other piece of evidence in Gabby’s case had vanished.
Her clothing, the apartment 15 towel, the shower curtain, even the blood found in Pete
Everything that was found with her body and everything that possibly had usable DNA on
it was gone.
To this day, detectives don’t know what happened to the evidence.
But Detective Haney has a theory.
There was a flood of the Harrisville Police Department sometime in the middle to late
And there was a bunch of stuff that got destroyed, ruined, thrown away in that.
And that’s a guess of where it went to.
The stories that we heard was stuff was left out to dry out and then it disappeared.
So I don’t know, that was really kind of a weird situation with evidence.
Just goes to show you that people aren’t doing their job properly.
Sergeant Van Orden was so frustrated at this point.
She had spent the better part of three years by now, between 2005 and 2008, reinvestigating
Tina and Gabby’s cases, only to realize that Tina’s case file was missing and all
the physical evidence in Gabby’s case had also been lost.
Our reporting team talked to a relative of Gabby’s and she expressed her deep frustration
with the loss of evidence and whatever mishandling led up to it.
Losing the evidence in Gabby’s case was certainly a massive blow to the investigation,
but detectives decided to make the most of the evidence they did still have in their
possession, particularly Tina’s purse and its contents.
In 2012, police sent her purse and everything in it to the Utah State Crime Lab, hoping
to get a DNA profile that they could link to the killer.
And specifically, they were most hopeful that they could get DNA found off a joint in her
I mean, detectives thought it was bound to be loaded with DNA.
But when the items were finally tested, investigators’ hopes were dashed.
The joint did contain some DNA, but it was just a tiny amount.
In fact, the sample was so minuscule that it didn’t even meet the requirements to
be uploaded to CODIS.
It also was so small it couldn’t even be used for direct comparison.
The only helpful information police got from the joint is that it contained partial DNA
profiles from at least two men.
But even with this information, police couldn’t test the DNA against their prime suspects
because again, the sample simply wasn’t big enough.
So they were kind of back to square one.
And after that, there really wasn’t much movement in the cases for a few years.
In 2015, the woman who led the efforts to warm up two of the county’s coldest cases,
Van Orden, who was a lieutenant at that point, reluctantly retired.
I didn’t even want to retire.
I thought about thinking, oh, do I need to really retire?
I could be working on these a little longer, but then I ended up going anyways.
After Lieutenant Van Orden left, the cases would remain motionless for another two years.
But in 2017, things picked back up again.
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office and the Harrisville Police Department joined forces
and started re-examining murders in the area from the 80s, including Gabby and Tina’s.
Their cases were revisited once again, and investigators wanted no stone left unturned.
So they started tracking down key players in the cases, from suspects to witnesses.
In January of 2018, police re-interviewed Chloe, one of those girls who had run away
to Montana in 1984.
When she was re-interviewed, she told police something that she hadn’t before.
Not only did she double down on her accusation against Sammy Mora, but she also said that
she was present when Gabby was killed.
And what’s more, Chloe said she was a victim herself.
She told police that she had been sexually assaulted by a group of men back in the 80s,
which included Sammy.
Chloe’s statement was a major breakthrough for the case.
I mean, up until this point, no eyewitnesses to the murder had come forward.
But just as unexpectedly and quickly as Chloe came forward with her story, she walked it back.
She called these same investigators back up and gave a statement that says,
I do regret to inform that after 34 years of brain injury seizures where I have hit
my head multiple times, sometimes on concrete, so I do not have a great memory.
And I do not have memory of 34 years ago except pain and fear.
I’ve struggled with alcoholism, addiction, and schizophrenia.
Please leave me alone.
I have nothing more to say.
I’m not sure it happened.
Whether Chloe was telling the truth the first time or not, investigators were still suspicious
of Sammy, now more than ever.
And they wanted to track him down to hear his side of the story once again all these
So they did just that.
Later that same year, detectives located Sammy in Texas and re-interviewed him about Gabby’s case.
But just as he did three decades earlier, Sammy maintained his innocence.
He swore up and down he had nothing to do with Gabby’s death.
But Detective Haney isn’t so sure.
When it comes down to it, it’s not that I’ve never been fooled before because I have, but
I do have some success on instincts of being interviewed so many people in my career, and
I think he knows what happened.
Whether he was the one directly involved in it or he was just a part of it, but I believe
that he knows what happened.
But without solid evidence, like a DNA match or an eyewitness who’s willing to testify,
there is not much police can do.
In hopes that DNA technology would advance and be able to make something out of the mixed
sample from the joint found in Tina’s purse, detectives collected a DNA sample from Sammy
while they were interviewing him.
They also tracked down Pete to gather samples from him, and since Larry was a felon in a
separate crime, his DNA was already on file.
In 2020, Detective Haney found a lab that might have the technology capable of doing
what everyone’s been waiting for.
I started throwing out inquiries and doing searches and going through all of our cold
cases to just review them, get them fresh in my mind, but also to look for new technology
that we could use.
And I found this new technology, but it wasn’t coming online yet.
It wasn’t accredited yet, but it is now.
That kind of testing is only available through DNA Labs International.
And Detective Haney allowed us to tell you that he was just recently awarded a grant
through the nonprofit I founded called Season of Justice, so they’re going to be able
to test their sample from the joint and see if they can make something of it.
He’s got his fingers crossed that this new technology will allow them to create a full
DNA profile that can be compared to DNA from their prime suspects.
But that’s not the only recent development in these cases.
Detective Haney is currently working another lead that he thinks may rattle the investigation
to its core.
Now, since nothing’s certain yet, he asked us not to disclose what that development is.
But know that if and when it comes to fruition, we’ll keep you updated.
If you know anything about the 1982 murders of Joyce Tina Gallegos and Gabrielle DiStefano,
call the Weber County Sheriff’s Office at 801-395-8221.
Gabby and Tina’s families have waited far too long for justice.
And if you’re out there listening and you work in law enforcement and have a case where
you too have DNA that needs to be tested, don’t forget about the nonprofit Season of
You can apply for a grant for funding at seasonofjustice.org.
The Deck is an AudioChuck production with theme music by Ryan Lewis.
To learn more about The Deck, visit thedeckpodcast.com.
So what do you think, Chuck?
Do you approve?