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US Cold case murder of East Texas woman from 2007 gets a fresh look by new sheriff

08:20  19 july  2021
08:20  19 july  2021 Source:   nbcnews.com

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No matter what kind of day she was having,19-year-old Brittany McGlone could always find the silver lining. Her bright smile, goofy sense of humor and positive outlook on life would spread to the ones she was with, making it impossible for anyone to have a bad day.

a person posing for the camera © Provided by NBC News

“You couldn’t help but feel happy around her,” Brittany’s half-sister Hope McGlone told Dateline. “With her positive outlook on life, she would just radiate good energy. I don’t think she ever had a bad day. We should all strive to live like she did.”

Hope and Brittany, who have the same father, lived on opposite sides of the state of Texas when they were growing up. But that didn’t stop them from having a close bond. They spent holidays and summers together, staying up all night talking, laughing and playing video games.

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“Those summers in East Texas were the best days of my life,” Hope said.

In 2006, Brittany visited Hope in West Texas for her 16th birthday party. They talked about seeing each other the following summer - the summer of 2007. But their summer plans would never happen.

“My 16th birthday was the last time I saw my sister,” Hope said. “She was murdered before the next summer. And nothing was ever the same.”

It’s been 14 years since 19-year-old Brittany was sexually assaulted and bludgeoned to death during the day on May 4, 2007, and loved ones are still searching for answers to the big question - who killed Brittany and why?

“She didn’t deserve this,” Hope told Dateline. “She was this innocent, pure person who never did anything wrong, never got into trouble - she always saw the good in people and just loved life. Why would someone do this to her?”

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In May of 2007, Brittany had taken a year off after graduating high school and was working two jobs to save money for college. She planned to attend Baylor University and study nursing.

“She was very dedicated,” Hope explained. “No matter what she did, she gave her all.”

One of her jobs was at the Lowe’s Distribution Center in Mount Vernon. On the morning of May 4, 2007, she finished her overnight shift and drove to her boyfriend’s house in Winnsboro to sleep. Her boyfriend, Jeff Stogner, and his family, who also lived there, later told authorities they had left the house to give someone a ride to the airport.

Her mother became concerned when she couldn’t get through to her daughter on her cell phone. Hope said Brittany’s mother called so many times that she filled up her voicemail. She then called Brittany’s boyfriend.

According to Hope, when Jeff picked up the call around 2:30 p.m., he told Brittany’s mother he was just arriving back home and that Brittany’s car was in the driveway. They hung up, Jeff went into the house, found Brittany in his bedroom and called 911.

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According to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office in Quitman, Texas, detectives believe Brittany was killed between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. She had been sexually assaulted and beaten with an unknown object. An autopsy ruled that she had died from massive head trauma.

Many people were questioned by detectives, including Brittany’s boyfriend and his family, but no suspects have been publicly named.

Dateline reached out to Brittany’s boyfriend who stated he wasn’t authorized to talk to anyone but law enforcement about the case but explained that he loved her and wants nothing more than to find her killer.

“Nobody has walked through the shoes that I have walked through,” Jeff told Dateline through Facebook. “Nobody has the nightmares that I have. I love her with all my heart, know that, and the day that we catch the killer, we will see who wants to hear my side of the story.”

Brittany’s sister Hope told Dateline they have their theories about who killed Brittany, but remain open to any and all possibilities. Among the possibilities is a man, known by the Stogner family, who was questioned early in the investigation, has a lengthy criminal record with prior charges for burglary, sexual assault, and assault with a deadly weapon.

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Wood County Sheriff Kelly Cole told Dateline there are suspects in Brittany’s case and no one has been publicly name and no one has been cleared.

“At this point, we’d look at anybody and anything,” Sheriff Cole said. “We have viable suspects and we intend to re-interview everyone.”

For 14 years, Brittany’s family has fought for answers in her case. They are hopeful the newly-elected sheriff will be the one who finally solves the case and gets justice for Brittany.

For Sheriff Cole, this case hits close to home. He was a criminal investigator at the time of Brittany’s murder and said it’s something that has stuck with him for years. And he’s determined to take a second look.

“We may get to a point where we can resolve this,” Sheriff Cole said. “And if we can do that for the family and this town, it would bring everybody a sense of closure.”

Sheriff Cole told Dateline there is plenty of evidence, like blood stains and DNA, from the scene that they plan to retest. He said he believes with today's technology, there could be answers within the evidence they already have.

The sheriff said he also plans to dig deeper within the community and urges anyone with information to come forward.

“People tend to think, ‘well I thought I saw something but maybe I really didn’t, or I heard this but I don’t think it has anything to do with it.’ Come tell us anyway,” Cole said. “You never know what little piece of information could help us now.”

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Brittany’s case is well-known in the community and many still remember it today.

In fact, it was brought to Dateline’s attention by Leah Courtney who was working as an EMT in the area at the time. Leah was featured in the Dateline episode “House of Horrors” about the murder of Nicole Payne in Quitman later in the same year Brittany was killed.

She didn’t know Brittany, but the story and how it affected her hometown has always stuck with her.

“It was a big deal,” Leah told Dateline. “People weren't sure if there was a killer on the loose.”

After appearing on Dateline, she alerted producers to Brittany’s case with the hope someone would come forward with information.

Her family hopes for the same, as they continue their long fight.

Brittany’s sister Hope and her brother created a Facebook page “Who killed Brittany McGlone,” in an effort to bring in tips or information to aid in the investigation.

Her sister Hope struggled for years.

“This has been extremely difficult for me,” Hope said. “I just keep waiting for a phone call - to tell me that they have the killer. That this is over. But that phone call never comes. You try to move on, but keep getting dragged back by a chain that’s 1000 pounds.”

Hope told Dateline the loss of her sister feels like an open wound that never heals, but she is beginning to feel hopeful with the work the new sheriff is putting into the investigation.

“We just don’t want Brittany to be forgotten,” Hope said. “She deserves to have her story told. And she deserves justice.”

Anyone with information about Brittany’s case is asked to call the Wood County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 763-2201.

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This is interesting!