Fort Worth

Cold Case: Mother of Three Murdered in December 1980

Police say there are still no leads in the decades-old case of a Fort Worth mother who was murdered and left on the side of the road near downtown.

Margaret Maxwell's body was discovered by a man walking his dog in early December 1980. To this day, there have been no arrests.

Vernessia Curtis says she struggles to accept the unknown 36 years later.

"Margaret Collins Maxwell, God only knows the trouble I see," she read in her sister's obituary.

"It's not easy, because we had to live with it all this time and not know what really happened to her," Curtis said.

Maxwell was 27 years old when she was murdered. Police say the mother of three young children was raped, beaten and brutally killed. Her body was dumped just off Spur 280 near downtown Fort Worth.

"She was laying out there by herself, and she was, and we couldn't do anything," said Curtis.

The last time anyone saw Maxwell alive was when she had stopped by her parents' home to ask them to babysit her three children. At the time it seemed perfectly normal, but looking back her sister wonders if there was more she could have done.

"I went through so much in my mind, 'Why I didn't ask her when was she coming back? How long is she going to be gone?' I'm still dealing with it," Curtis said.

Curtis is also dealing with the gut-wrenching images of her sister's lifeless body at the morgue.

"He said that she was fighting and then he showed me her hand and her fingernails and there was skin in there," she said.

Back in 1980, DNA profiling was in its infancy. There was little, if anything, detectives had to go on to catch Maxwell's killer.

Maxwell's sisters are devout Christians and are hopeful for answers nearly four decades later.

They believe more than one person is responsible.

"You might get by, but you will never get away," Curtis said of the killers.

For her sisters, the words written on Maxwell's pink obituary, "thank God he knows, thank God he knows," they say will one day speak the truth.

Maxwell's murder case remains open in the Fort Worth Police Cold Case Unit. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 817-392-4307.

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