VACAVILLE — It’s been 30 years since 14-year-old De Anna Lynn Johnson’s life was unjustly taken away. And in those 30 years, her friends and family have never given up bringing her killer to justice.
On Nov. 15, 1982, Johnson left her Royal Oaks Drive home in Vacaville to attend a party in her neighborhood, only seven houses from her home. Her 17-year-old brother also attended.
When she didn’t return home by her 9:30 p.m. curfew, her worried mother called the police. The next day, two railroad workers discovered her badly bludgeoned body near the railroad tracks in a field off Elmira Road.
De Anna was a ninth-grade student at then-Will C. Wood Junior High School at the time. Her homicide case has never been solved, despite a $50,000 reward offered by the state Attorney General’s Office.
Thirty years after her death, a close group of Johnson’s friends and family stood outside St. Mary’s Catholic Church to mourn her life but also determined to solve her murder.
Mary Borchers, who was a close friend of Johnson, has led the effort to solve her case all these years. Borchers urged people Thursday to come forward with information.
“Thirty years – no justice,” she said. “If they keep their mouth shut . . . you are just as cowardly.”
Neighbor and friend Tony Whittle recalled walking home from school the day Johnson died. As he passed the railroad tracks, he saw some commotion and the police carrying a body under a white sheet. He later discovered it was Johnson under that sheet.
“How do you put into words that my friend, my neighbor was lying under the sheet, murdered?” he said.
Jenny Quinn, another neighbor and friend, quietly held back her tears and anger while describing how it felt to be at Johnson’s 30th vigil.
“It hurts. It hurts that the person responsible for it is not being dealt with,” she said. “He got to live his life and she doesn’t get to.”
A $50,000 reward is offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of De Anna Lynn Johnson’s killer. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Matt Lyndon of the Vacaville Police Department at 449-5236.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.