Wheeling woman's murder goes 20 years unsolved

October 28, 2011 10:02:18 PM PDT
Wheeling police are hoping a recording of a 911 call can help solve a two-decades-old murder mystery involving a 27-year-old victim.

Jamie Santos was strangled, her body found in her townhome after an unidentified man called 911.

All these years later, police are now asking people to pay attention to a recording of that call.

20 years ago Friday, someone walked up to a pay phone that has since been removed and called 911.

On the call, the caller says: "Can an ambulance be sent to 1765 Stonehenge Court in Wheeling immediately? There's a young woman in there who is not breathing. She's turning blue."

The caller is then switched to Wheeling police and he repeated what's happening and where. Asked when he was at the house - the caller said "Bye", and hung up.

Police to this day do not know who made that call, nor do they know if the caller was Santos's killer.

Santos was suffocated with a pillow. Detectives came up with fingerprints, but there were no matches. They developed suspects, but none panned out.

There have been - over the years - pleas from the family. The 911 call was first played back in the 1990s. Police are putting it out there again - hoping.

"We want the public to remember that we're not going to stop here, it's going to continue, this investigation," said Wheeling Deputy Police Chief John Teevans.

There was no forced entry, so police believe Santos knew her killer. With advances in science, Wheeling detectives have re-submitted physical evidence - clothing - from the murder scene, but the case is still cold.

It's that voice on the phone - the 911 caller - only a couple blocks from the murder scene that remains the key.

"We want to bring closure to this case," said Teevans. "It was a terrible, terrible thing that had happened to this woman and the family is hurting, and we hurt with that family and we know what they want and we want it also - we want to find the persons or person that was involved in this."

Shortly after the murder, police said they believed the mysterious caller was probably not the killer. They couldn't say that with certainty then, and they really don't know now.

But his words suggest the caller saw Santos as she was dying or already dead, and it was clear he didn't want to stay on the phone for very long.

Santos was not sexually assaulted. There was no clear motive. There was only torment for a family that has spent the last two decades wondering why and who.

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