Parents Honor Daughter Killed In 1998 On What Would Have Been Her 39th Birthday


Friday, February 26th 2021, 6:17 pm
By: Amy Slanchik


TULSA, Okla. -

Friday would have been Dena Dean's 39th birthday. She was killed after going missing in West Tulsa back in 1998, and investigators are still working to find out who killed her.  

In the Dean family home, Dena's smile is on every wall in the living room, as her parents celebrate her life and the 16 years they had with her. 

"That picture over there in black dress was her 8th grade prom,” Dena’s mom, Diana, said as she pointed to a photo.  

"That was taken that March, before she was murdered in June. So that's the very last professional picture of her,” Diana said.  

On what would be Dena’s 39th birthday, her mom and dad imagine what could have been. They picture her married with children. They wonder what career she may have pursued and remember how much she was looking forward to going to college.  

"She was trying to decide if she wanted to be a corporate attorney or a teacher. And that's the only two professions that she was looking at,” Diana said.  

Investigators said Dena was found dead six days after she was last seen at the Town West Shopping Center. In more than two decades, no arrests have been made.  

Over the years, the couple said Dena's friends have stayed involved in their lives, and they appreciate the community's support.  

"It means a lot to us. It means everybody's still got Dena in the back of their mind,” Larry, Dena’s dad, said.  

Larry has a birthday of his own in a few days and worries he may not see a trial for Dena's murder.  

"I figure I will pass away before they can get it in a courtroom,” Larry said. “It's been 23 years. Like I say, I'm 69 [on] Monday so how much longer do I have to live? 

An investigator on Dena's case said Friday the Cold Case Task Force is not giving up, and said they just received a phone call a few weeks ago with information. 

If you have any information, call the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Task Force at 918-596-5612.