Vacaville has gone through many changes in the last three decades. But one thing has remained constant. The murder of De Anna Lynn Johnson has never been solved. The 14 year old was found bludgeoned to death near her home on the morning of November 15, 1982. Her best friend and classmate, Mary Borchers, remembers the day she was found. Says Borchers, "I was invited to go to that party. I made her aware I didn't want to go. I didn't hang out with those people. I wouldn't have been allowed to go."
She says the party was just across the street from De Anna's home. De Anna never came home that night, and her body was found the next morning just yards from her house. She had been beaten to death, and Borchers says she was identified through dental records.
Vacaville police say shortly after De Anna's murder, they identified several suspects, but over time, they have eliminated all but one: Marvin "Ziggy" Markle. Markle had been 17 at the time of De Anna's murder. Police will not say what evidence they have that makes them identify Markle as a suspect. But they say they've been in contact with the Butte County Sheriff's Department since 2001, when Markle was identified as a person of interest in Shirley Ann Pratt's death.
Pratt, 41, was found shot to death near the Oroville Wildlife Area on October 12, 2001.
Borchers says there are people who have information that could lead to an arrest in both Shirley and De Anna's case. So in 2011, she began organizing marches through Markle's quiet Biggs neighborhood. She got permits from the city of Biggs, and made signs and t-shirts with Shirley and De Anna's faces on them. But during her marches, she never named Markle as the subject of her marches for legal purposes.
She says when Markle found out what she was doing, he began threatening her. She says, "I was walking down the street and he came out of nowhere and spit on me twice. The first time he was not successful, but the second time he got me. He got the side of my face, and it went down my face and on my De Anna sweatshirt."
Markle was charged and convicted of assaulting Borchers. But she kept rallying, and when Markle came after her again, he was charged with violation of parole, and ordered to serve jail time.
Butte County investigators say while Markle was in jail for probation violation, witnesses came forward with information they say tied him to Shirley's murder. On July 18, 2013, they charged him with homicide. Now Borchers is hoping witnesses in De Anna's case will come forward as well. She says, "Knowing that he's behind bars for assaulting me, and then in Shirley's death, I just know that this is coming next."
Markle will be in court for a preliminary and bail hearing on August 7 in connection with Shirley's death. He has pleaded not guilty, and faces a $2 million bond.