Israel native digs up 100-year-old Durant cold case

DURANT, OK -- One hundred years ago the murder of a 14-year-old Jewish girl at her Durant home shocked the community. Now a relative is digging up the past to try to close the century old case.

Melody Amsel traveled all the way from her home in Israel to the town where the crime occurred to share what she has learned and hopefully find new information about her cousin's death.

For a century the question has remained unanswered, who killed 14-year-old Pauline Amsel? Her second cousin Melody Amsel has tried to solve the mystery for the past ten years. What she knows for sure, is that Pauline was brutally murdered in Durant on November 11th, 1914.

"She was murdered in her own home in the middle of the night. Her throat was cut nearly to the bone," Melody said.

The home that Pauline was murdered in has since been torn down, but it once stood at the corner of Elm St. and North 7th Ave.

"My theory is that it was a crime of passion within the family," Melody said.

However, others believe the murder was committed at random by a thief or tramp traveling through town.

"At the time a number of people were kept as suspects across Oklahoma and also Kansas, but they were released because in the end they were not connected," Melody said.

Investigator David Cathey listened to Melody's Journey Story, put on by the Three Valley Museum, Friday night. He says there are a number of reasons Pauline's murder has never been solved.

"We didn't have the records then that we have now. They didn't have the capabilities that we have now. So there's no telling what happened. It's a mystery," Cathey said.

Melody knows she may never find out who killed her distant cousin, but this is a way to keep Pauline's memory alive.

"I think it defines who we are. I think our past defines our present and our future," Nancy Ferris Curator of the Three Valley Museum said.

Melody asks anyone who thinks they may have heard anything about Pauline's death to come forward.

"If anybody remembers any stories from their mothers, or their grandmothers. If anyone has anymore pictures please get in touch with me," Melody said.

Melody's email is listed below.