The search for answers and the fight for justice continues for a Tulsa family. They held a vigil Sunday, marking 23 years since the unsolved murder of 16-year-old Dena Dean.
Justice won't bring their baby girl back, but it can provide some closure in a cold case that's taunted the family for more than two decades.
Dena Dean has been gone longer than lived. Her parents, Diana and Larry, still don't know who murdered their 16-year-old daughter.
"It does not get any easier. They say it does, but it doesn't,” Dena’s mother, Diana, said. “They tore my family apart, and I want somebody arrested for it.”
Dena left work on June 6th, 1998 and was never heard from again.
"You wake up in the middle of the night and expect her to be there," Larry Dean said.
Family found Dena’s car outside her work, but she was nowhere to be found.
"We didn't get to see her. She laid for six days before she was found," Diana Dean said.
"She just was daddy's little girl," Larry Dean said.
Dena Ann Dean's initials spell DAD. Larry and Dena did everything together, from racing to fishing to band competitions.
"Some of the stuff she got me into over the years," Larry Dean said.
Diana and Larry are mom and dad to everyone. When Dena died, her friends stuck around.
"These kids just won't let me forget, and I just cherish that time with them. All of them," Larry Dean said.
"You think about it while you're at work. You think about it while you're at home when you sleep. Tragedies like these just don't go away" Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Task Force supervisor Sgt. Tressi Mizell said.
Sgt. Mizell said the sheriff’s office has exhausted most of the testable evidence, but said they aren't giving up. Diana said this effort is so much bigger than Dena. It's about every unsolved case out there.
"If anybody knows anything, I beg you come forward," Diana Dean said.
If you know anything about Dena's case, you are asked to call Sgt. Mizell at 918-596-5612.