Fort Worth

Practice Dive Latest Step in Search for Three Fort Worth Girls Missing 44 Years

A practice dive in Burger’s Lake Friday night was aimed at solving one of the biggest mysteries in Fort Worth history – what happened to three girls who disappeared from a shopping mall 44 years ago.

Rachel Trlica, 17, her friend Renee Wilson, 14, and neighbor Julie Moseley, 9, vanished from Seminary South mall two days before Christmas in 1974.

"We can't just walk away,” said Trlica’s brother Rusty Arnold. “We have to turn over this stone. And if we don't we'll never know."

When the girls’ didn’t return home, police found Rachel's car still on the mall parking lot, packed with gifts.

But there was no sign of the girls.

"I'll never give up,” Arnold said. “As long as there's a breath in my body."

Last year, his search led to Benbrook Lake.

Searchers using sonar found three cars, submerged, about 40 feet down.

Arnold believes one of the cars may belong to a person of interest who may have dumped his car there soon after the girls vanished.

But Benbrook Lake is so deep and so dark, it takes trained divers to get the cars out.

"There's no visibility when you get down on these cars,” Arnold said. “It's touchy feely. It's braille."

That's why the divers went to Burger's Lake – to practice what it’s like to dive in total darkness.

"I've never done a dive like this before,” said diver Jeff Burns who recently heard about the mystery and offered to help. "Somebody that needs answers this long and has been worried and just sick to death this long. I think it's time somebody gave them some answers."

Police won't confirm anything about a person of interest or a missing car and don't see any need to search the lake.

The family is organizing the dive on their own with the help of Burns and several fellow divers. They know it may be just another lead that goes nowhere.

They are planning the dive in Benbrook Lake next month.

But Arnold and his family say they'll never forget.

The mall is still there at Interstate 35 and Seminary Drive.

It's now La Gran Plaza.

But for Arnold and the girls' families, some things never change -- the determination to keep looking.

"Hopefully this will give us a ray of hope,” he said.

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