Cold Case Victim's Family Says OSBI Ignores Complaints, 36 Years Without Justice

The oversight committee for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation held its quarterly meetings, and a cold case victim’s family was not allowed to voice any concerns. Rather than getting down to business, the OSBI Commission – in the presence of a victim’s family -- bickered over an agenda.

Thursday, May 16th 2024, 5:09 pm

By: Lisa Monahan, News 9


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A nod from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Director Aungela Spurlock was the only acknowledgment Kira Lowe received during the OSBI commission meeting Wednesday.

Lowe traveled for more than three hours to speak with commissioners about the agency’s handling of her mother’s unsolved murder. Lowe, then 7 years old, discovered her mother, Mary Morgan Pewitt, stabbed to death in their home in Comanche on June 4.1988.

“Being the squeaky wheel is what moves things along, “Lowe spoke from nearly 36 years of experience. The fight for justice has been passed down through generations of her family beginning with Lowe’s late grandfather.

Two months ago, she emailed the OSBI Commission expressing frustration with the agency’s “lack of communication, transparency and overall disregard for Cold Case families” but never received anything in return from commissioners. Lowe says her complaints were sent to the commission’s email published on the OSBI’s website on March 23rd. The same day, she received a call from Director Spurlock.

To date, she’s not received a response from commissioners.

The email, Lowe says, followed several months of silence from the bureau and came at a time when her mother’s case was reassigned to a new agent.

“Not the OSBI, not a victim’s coordinator, no one notified me of the change,” Lowe said, “When you’re getting no information at all you do what, you try to do what you can to gather it.”

Lowe says she's not confident commissioners ever received her complaints via email and when she showed up to the commission meeting to confront the situation, she found herself witness to an entirely different confrontation.

 Also in attendance was Thomas Schneider, deputy general counsel to Attorney General Getner Drummond who informed the commission that two items on the agenda were too vague to discuss in an executive session. The commission entered an executive session for the pending OSBI investigation but took no action.

Commissioner Tim Turner, former Haskell County Sheriff, and current legislative candidate voiced his frustration over the agenda errors. “The agenda could have been corrected and re-posted instead of people coming to this meeting today and no action being taken,” he said.

 A representative of the AG’s office was requested by Commissioner Angela Marsee, the district attorney for Beckham, Custer, Ellis, Roger Mills, and Washita counties. A request, Marsee says, came after the resignation of the OSBI’s general counsel. Her decision was scrutinized by other members of the commission. Marsee defended her request saying, “It had nothing to do with the agenda,” and quelled her concerns as the only current member who is an attorney.

From Lowe’s perspective, the agenda was arguably incomplete – not one item allowed her to speak to the commission. Following the meeting, she asked around for confirmation that the commissioners received her email.

News 9’s cameras recorded parts of a conversation between Lowe and OSBI staff members.

Lowe says the staff claimed that she sent the email to Director Spurlock but that was corrected when Lowe pulled out a printed copy of the email.

The director’s assistant, who doubles as the secretary for the OSBI commission, could be heard saying “If you sent it to the OSBI commission…” Lowe interjected, “I did send it to the OSBI Commission. I sent it on March 23 at 11:30 A.M.” The assistant then assured Lowe that the commission received the email.

“So, there’s no discussion about the letter...how do I know they received it if there was never a discussion about it,” Lowe asked of the assistant who then claimed she had personally forwarded the email.

Lowe says she wanted proof but left empty-handed and heavy-hearted. “ I hear my mom’s voice telling me don’t let them scare you away…and you make yourself known at these events,” she said the fight gets overwhelming at times but she’s not stopping.

Instead, Lowe plans to continue pushing for more transparency within the OSBI, not only for her family but for all families of cold case victims.  

The OSBI asserted that Kira's concerns were indeed intended to be addressed, but circumstances beyond their control hindered the discussion.

In a statement, spokesperson Hunter McKee said, in part, “Due to the issues discussed in the open session of our recent commission meeting we were not able to specifically discuss Ms. Lowe or other items that we intended to address. We are working with the commission and others to allow discussion of all appropriate topics at future meetings.”

The OSBI also stated “Our team did meet with Ms. Lowe prior to yesterday’s meeting to personally address any of her concerns. That interaction was not held in lieu of any meeting or discussion Ms. Lowe would like to have with our commission.”

A special meeting to address the items not discussed on the quarterly agenda has not been announced. The next meeting is scheduled for August.

“It is not lost that events beyond our control have caused Ms. Lowe distress. We are saddened and disappointed that occurred,” Mckee said, “Our victims and their families are a priority and the OSBI will continue to keep this case and all others our primary focus.”

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