Staff and Wire Reports

OKEMAH, Oklahoma -- Law enforcement officials pleaded Monday for the public's help in helping to solve the double murder of two Weleetka girls on the anniversary of the shootings.

Authorities say they believe someone has key information in the slayings of 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker and 11-year-old Skyla Jade Whitaker.

"This coward has not come forward, but we do believe there are other people who have information as to who this person or people are," Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Spokesperson Jessica Brown said.

Brown says more than 7,500 man hours have been logged trying to solve the killing.

"I don't know why a person with information might not come forward," said Brown, flanked by members of the little girls' families. "We are one piece of information away from making an arrest. We plead to them today to come forward."

Surrounded by family members Peter Placker described this past year, a year without his granddaughter, Taylor, who he was raising as his own.

"That girl meant everything to me," Peter Placker said.

As he spoke Placker never let go of his necklace.

"The other half is with Taylor," he said. "This thing comforts me most of the time. A lot of the time it don't," Peter Placker said.

Taylor and her friend, Skyla Whitaker, had taken a walk along a dirt road when investigators say someone shot them multiple times. Two guns were used on both girls.

The girls' deaths stunned neighbors and friends in Weleetka, a working-class community of about 1,000 located 70 miles south of Tulsa.

They were sleeping over at Taylor's house and had decided to take a walk. They were gunned down near a bridge about a quarter-mile from Taylor's house along a dirt road in rural Okfuskee County.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Several people were called before an Oklahoma Grand Jury last year, but no one was arrested. Brown says those people are still under investigation.

A reward benefit auction will be held Sunday, June 14 at noon at Marvin's Place in Henryetta, Oklahoma. Anything wanted in the auction needs to be brought to Marvin's Place by noon. A barbeque cookout will be held as well at $5 a plate.

Nearly 100 people gathered in the small town of Weleetka Monday to remember the two young girls.

Friends, family and complete strangers attended the vigil held at the Weleetka Junior and Senior High School building.

"We have a hope of a better tomorrow", said Jason Page before singing a song he wrote in memory of Taylor Placker and Skylar Whitaker.

The reward for information on the murders is now $36,000. If you know anything you're asked to call the OSBI at 1-800-522-8017.