Charles County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Seek Public’s Help Solving Cold Case

November 21, 2017

Cash Reward of up to $10,000

Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are seeking the public’s help in solving a murder that occurred 37 years ago.

Deborah Ann “Missy” Brooks, 17, was abducted on November 13, 1980, just blocks from her house in Northeast Washington, DC. Her body was discovered the following day in a wooded area in Charles County. Her brother, Paul Brooks, said his family always thinks about Deborah and hopes one day her murder will be solved.

“My sister and I were exactly 364 days apart. Even though she was technically older than me, by the time we hit our teens I acted like her big brother,” said Paul. “I watched out for her and took over as the big brother when our older brother joined the Army.”

Paul, a retired Sergeant Major with the United States Army who served overseas and did a tour in Iraq, said his sister’s murder devastated their tight-knit family. “Growing up it was just my mother, my older brother, Missy, and me. Missy was a nickname my grandmother gave Deborah when she was a young girl. We were very close. I can recall, vividly, the night Missy disappeared. I remember searching for her and the intense anxiety we all felt when she was not at school the next day. I remember my mother worrying and my older brother being very concerned. Missy was sweet. She was outgoing and had many friends. That someone could kill her is numbing.”

Although the crime occurred in 1980, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is committed to solving the case. “We have not given up. After a review of the investigation, we started re-interviewing witnesses and using the advances of forensics attempting to solve this case,” said Detective Sergeant Tim Miner, a supervisor in the Criminal Investigations Division. His partner in this investigation, Sergeant Pat Tona said, “We are hoping to get that one tip that could break open the case and help us bring justice to Deborah and her family.” This is what is known about Deborah’s murder:

On Thursday, November 13, 1980, at approximately 8:20 p.m., Deborah came home to her residence at 1425 Monroe Street in Northeast Washington, DC, and asked her mother, Constance Canty, about a prescription that Canty had picked up for her at the People’s Drug Store on 12th Street in Northeast. Deborah opened the bag and saw that the prescription had not been filled properly. She said she was going to go to the drug store to get the correct prescription, but had to hurry because the drugstore would be closing soon. It was the last time anyone in the Brooks family saw Deborah alive.

About 3 p.m. the next day, two hunters were operating a four-wheel-drive vehicle in a wooded area off Sharpersville Road. When they were about three-quarters of a mile off the road, they observed what appeared to be a body lying face-up under a pile of drywall. The remains were identified as Deborah’s. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore ruled her death a murder.

Charles County Crime Solvers, the CCSO, and family members have increased the reward in the case to up to $10,000 for the tip leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspect(s). Anyone with information that could help solve this case is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Tim Miner or Sergeant Pat Tona at (301) 609-6481. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS.