Friday, October 15, 2021

Marsha Lorena Bailey Tucker, BHS 1966

Marsha Lorena Bailey Tucker, BHS 1966

Wife Of Marine Now In Alaska Is Found Slain

Published in The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California, January 3, 1968

OCEANSIDE - The young wife of a Marine was found strangled early today, her body stuffed under a bed in her apartment.

The victim was Mrs. Marsha Lorena Tucker, 20, whose husband, Cpl. D.R. Tucker, is stationed in Adak, Alaska, said Deputy Coroner Richard Ewens. 

The body was discovered about 3 a.m. by Mrs. Tucker's roommate, Mrs. Linda Kroum, who told police she last saw her about 7 p.m. Tuesday. The roommate's husband also is a Marine stationed out of state.

Mrs. Tucker, auburn-haired, 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds, was found with a black wool belt knotted around her throat. She was clothed in capri pants, a white sweater blouse and a long-sleeved sweater. Ewens said there was no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted. Her purse, containing about $26, was nearby. Mrs. Tucker's car was missing.


The Los Angeles Times, January 4, 1968


The body of an attractive brunette was discovered in an apartment she had shared during the holidays with a girl friend. Mrs. Marsha Tucker, 20, the wife of a marine stationed in Alaska, had a black sash knotted around her neck when she was discovered by Mrs. Linda Kroum, 20, in their Oceanside apartment. Mrs. Tucker lived at 1747 N. Lincoln, Burbank.


The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA, January 4, 1968

Police Question Marines In Death

OCEANSIDE - Police are questioning a number of Camp Pendleton Marines about the slaying of a young woman whose body was found under the bed in a friend's apartment. The victim, Mrs. Marsha Tucker, 20, was found yesterday by Mrs. Linda Kroum when she returned to her apartment from an outing. No arrests have been made.

The coroner's office tentatively listed the cause of death as suffocation due to strangulation. Police said a wool belt was knotted around Mrs. Tucker's throat. The victim, who had lived in Burbank, apparently had been visiting, Mrs. Kroum over the holidays.

Officers said Mrs. Tucker's car, which had been missing, was found inside the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Mrs. Tucker's husband, Lance Cpl. Dennis R. Tucker, is a Marine stationed at Adak, Alaska.


Los Angeles Times, January 7, 1968


TUCKER, Marsha L., beloved wife of Dennis R. Tucker, daughter of Mrs. Bertha R. Bailey and John Bailey, sister of Christopher G. Bailey. Service 2 p.m. Monday, Church of the Hills, Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills. Forest Lawn Mortuary.


Redlands Daily Facts, Redlands, California, February 24, 1968

Man found strangled - Marine Held in death

Oceanside, CA - A Marine from Camp Pendleton today stood accused of strangling a 65 year old widower with a lamp cord and stealing the victim's car. Raymond D. Ledford,17, of Seattle, Washington reportedly fled on foot when police approached him early Thursday to offer assistance after a car he was driving stalled at an Oceanside intersection.

Police arrested Ledford after a short chase, and found the auto was registered to Frank R. Mason, a retired Navy man, from Elsinore, California. Ten hours later Mason was found dead in a motel room here.

Ledford also is being questioned about two other murders by strangulation that occurred in Oceanside during the last two months. He has been charged only with the Mason killing. Victim's in the other cases were: Mrs. Marsha L. Tucker, 20, wife of a Marine from Burbank, California, found strangled Jan 3 with bathrobe cord in the apartment of a girl friend.

Mrs. Lois Winters,74, strangled with a woman's stocking in her home. The home was partially destroyed by fire. Detectives say that despite the similarity of the crimes, it is doubtful they were committed by the same person.




North County Times, Sunday, March 2, 1997

OPD to reopen unsolved murders - Marsha Tucker slaying nearly three decades old

Karen Smith, North County Times

OCEANSIDE - For nearly 30 years, the unsolved murder of 20-year-old Marsha Tucker has mystified police and haunted her family. No one was ever brought to justice for killing the Oceanside wife of a Camp Pendleton Marine inside her apartment in 1968.

Now, nearly three decades later, Tucker's only brother, Chris Bailey, hopes to find some resolution after years of heartache. The Tucker case is one of a handful of unsolved murders dating back at least 20 years that Oceanside detectives plan to reinvestigate this year, along with their current caseload.

Police this time will possibly use DNA technology that wasn't around in the late 1960s to try to identify, and perhaps catch, the killer. The technique matches a suspect's genetic makeup with blood, hair, saliva, semen or human tissue left at a crime scene. DNA evidence has been used to convict murderers - and prove suspects innocent - since its introduction in California criminal trials in 1989.

Last year, San Diego police made arrests in two high-profile, unsolved murder cases - the 1992 slaying of 15-year-old Santee cheerleader Christin Gray and the killing of 9-year-old Amanda Gaeke in North Park - with the aid of DNA evidence.

Recently, San Diego County Sheriff's Department detectives, who work full-time on old unsolved homicides, brought two people to justice in two cases that were solved with DNA evidence, homicide Lt. Jerry Lispcomb said. Those cases are currently being prosecuted.

Since Tucker's death, technology has greatly improved criminal investigations. Thirty years ago police didn't keep criminal's fingerprints on nationwide or statewide computer data banks as they do today. Fingerprint matching was done manually by the FBI. And evidence collection was limited to what the naked eye could see. Today, hair follicles and human fluids can be tested for DNA information which can be matched to a suspect.

Investigative techniques have also greatly improved. The voice-stress analyzer device is used to gauge whether someone is lying by studying variations in voice patterns. It helps weed out suspects, although it's not admissible in court. Unlike a polygraph, which must be hooked up directly to a person, the analyzer can be used without the suspect's knowledge. Before these scientific advancements were available, homicide cases were rarely solved as time passed and leads grew cold.

Tucker found strangled

On Jan 2, 1968, Marsha Lorena Tucker was found strangled and stuffed under the bed of her Oceanside Apartment. The gruesome discovery was made by her roommate, Linda Kroum, who shared the one-bedroom apartment at 1102 S. Tait St. with her. Tucker had been married for one year to Sgt. Dennis Tucker, a Camp Pendleton Marine who had been stationed in Alaska for several months. He was away when Tucker was killed.

The evening of the murder, Kroum told police she went to the drive-in with her date, Marine Sgt. Robert Leitzke. The couple asked Tucker to go , but she declined. They left around 6 p.m., returning shortly after midnight. When Kroum went to sleep around 2:30 a.m. in the apartment's only bed, an electric blanket covering it became stuck. She pulled on it and saw Tucker's body under the bed.  Kroum called police.

Hours later, Tucker's 1968 VW Beetle was found on Camp Pendleton in a parking lot behind the barracks, near the Provost Marshal's Office. Investigators believed the car was taken after she was killed. Tucker had dated several Marines while her husband was away and had been seeing one person for several weeks, detectives have said.

The investigation focused on several Marines who lived in the barracks. At least seven were questioned and given lie detector tests, newspaper reports at the time show. But no arrests were ever made.

Tucker grew up in Burbank

Chris Bailey was 19 when his only sibling was murdered. Marsha was 13 months older than Chris, though he acted like the older brother because he was protective of her. They grew up in Burbank with their father, John, a retired Marine-turned-mechanic, who ruled the home with a stern hand, Their mother, Bertha, worked as a government administrator and was always there for her children.

Marsha and Chris were close, even as teen-agers. They hung around together, shared the same friends and the same taste in music, and they often escorted each other to school dances. Bailey described his sister as an average student, an avid swimmer and a friend to everyone.

"It's bothered me from day one, only now it's gotten to the point of starting to rack my nerves." Chris Bailey brother of Marsha Tucker

"My sister was a good person. She had a good outlook," Bailey said. "She had a lot of trust  and faith in people. That was her biggest downfall. She was too trusting. I felt that need to be around just to keep an eye on her, even in the shadows."

In the mid-'60s, their parents divorced. Marsha graduated from Burbank High School in 1966 and moved to Lee Vining, a small town east of Yosemite National Park, to live with her father. She worked briefly as a secretary and waitress before meeting her husband through her friend, Linda Kroum, and moving to Oceanside.

Today, Bailey, 48, is a building inspector in Los Angeles. He has two grown children from his first marriage and has been married to his second wife for 15 years. Bailey and his parents have endured years of pain not knowing who killed Marsha. One of the most difficult times for Marsha's mother is on Jan. 2, the anniversary of her daughter's death. Bailey's father died in 1988.

Three years ago, Bailey started thinking about finding his sister's killer. At the time, he was resuming a relationship with his grown daughter after a period of estrangement. Bailey hadn't seen his 24-year-old daughter Marsha - named after his sister - for several years. Reconnecting with her also meant coming to terms with a ghost from his past.

Bailey started hearing the message that his sister's killer must be found on visits to Marsha's gravesite at Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles, he said. There, he would sit for hours and think "way down deep within myself," and ask his sister for guidance.

But talking about his sister's death, even decades later, wasn't easy. More than a year passed before Bailey confided to his mother that he needed to get this resolved. "She said, 'You're going to do what you're going to do. But I don't want to be involved.' She's hurt too much already."

Stalled investigation

In the days and weeks that followed the murder, Marsha's mother stayed in contact with detectives, who soon found themselves with a stalled investigation. That frustrated Bailey then, and it gnaws at him today. "Everything with the case was dead end," he said. Eventually the family's contact with police faded.

For Bailey, watching his mother suffer the enormous pain of losing her daughter and coping with his own emotional anguish was difficult. Bailey left Burbank and moved around quite a bit, landing in different California cities, working as a mechanic and auto shop owner. Eventually he went to college and got into the building-inspection field.

In the early 1990s he moved to San Antonio before returning to Burbank last fall. A year ago, Bailey contacted Oceanside police through his friend John Conners, a San Antonio attorney, asking about the status of his sister's murder case.

Police wrote back, giving the basic facts. Then in August, Conners sent a follow-up letter, saying if the department wasn't going to reexamine the case the family was considering hiring a private investigator. They also asked for copies of documents in the police file. A month later, police responded saying they could release the documents if there wasn't an ongoing investigation.

"Coincidentally, they said they just instituted a plan where they were going back to old, unsolved cases," and they were starting with the Tucker case, Conners said "I think it's great. If nothing else, at least the family will know everything possible was done."

"The thought occurred to me that maybe we could do something about this case, :OpD Investigations Division Capt. Mike Shirley said. "If there's something we can do that's cost-effective and within our ability to do, we'll consider it."

Bailey didn't take the OPD seriously at first. With the first investigation 29 years old, he felt detectives could have done more to solve the crime. But he's hopeful with DNA technology, investigators this time around have a strong possibility of solving the case.

Re-examining Tucker case

Investigators will re-examine the forensic evidence from the Tucker case to see if DNA testing is appropriate, said OPD Detective Chris McDonough, who's assigned to the case. If DNA tests are done, the cost is $2000 to $2500 for a typical case. Once the evidence is processed, the DNA information is placed in the state Department of Justice data bank.

McDonough has started to locate possible witnesses in the case, many of whom live outside California. However, it's questionable whether the department will send detectives out of state to interview these people, OPD Sgt. Mike Goldsmith said. Without that old-fashioned police method of hitting the streets, the new science alone can't solve the cases, law enforcement officials said.

"It's absolutely necessary, " San Diego Police Department Sgt. Jim Munsterman said. He oversees SDPD's special Homicide Evidence Assessment Team (HEAT), which works solely on old, unsolved murders. So far they've solved 18 cases out of about 100 reviewed. 

Before the unit was formed in 1995, officials asked the country's largest police departments for advice on solving old murders. "Everybody said in order to be successful, you have to be ready to travel, "Munsterman said. "You have to be ready to face that expense. Even though we didn't have an extra budget for that, there was a commitment.  That was something we were just going to have to do."

NOTE: There were no other news clippings and I believe Marsha Bailey Tucker murder is still unsolved to this day. Her brother Christopher G. Bailey graduated with me from Burbank High School, 1967.



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