Who killed Tracey Kirkpatrick?

The stabbing death of Tracey Kirkpatrick remains unsolved 25 years later.

Twenty-five years ago today, a security guard found the body of 17-year-old Tracey Kirkpatrick in a storage room at Aileen's Ladies Sportswear in the Westridge Shopping Center on the Golden Mile.

The Brunswick High School senior had been stabbed to death.

Her killer remains at large.

Tracey's murder is among the most well-known cold cases in Frederick, in part because of its brutality. She was stabbed multiple times in the chest and back sometime between 8 p.m., the time her manager stopped by, and 10:30 p.m., when an off-duty Frederick County sheriff's deputy moonlighting as a security guard found her.

The teenager never got the shot at life that she deserved. Tracey was a hard worker with aspirations, intent on going to a small college to study accounting and then law school.

No money was taken from the store. Tracey was not sexually assaulted. Police do not know if the crime was committed by someone who knew her or perhaps a drifter passing through the city. No one was ever charged in the case, according to Lt. Clark Pennington, Frederick Police Department spokesman and commander of the criminal investigation unit.

Police know the killer used a knife, but the murder weapon was not found, Pennington said.

“We're talking about a brutally heinous crime,” he said. “It was such a shocking case. She was and is a true victim.”

Every anniversary of Tracey's death is an opportunity to bring attention to unsolved murder cases, hers and others. Frederick police are still searching for killers in about a dozen cold cases.

Police do not know who shot and killed Lamont Ellis, 36, as he walked to his car in Mullinix Alley on Sept. 30, 2012, after a night out with friends.

Police are also still investigating the stabbing of a man who was found injured in July on Willowdale Drive. The man later died at the hospital.

The Kirkpatrick family will mourn Tracey's death quietly this year, her older sister Deonda Fitzpatrick said in a brief phone conversation with The Frederick News-Post earlier this week.

The family will honor Tracey with a candlelight vigil tonight at 7:30 at a tree planted in her memory at Brunswick High School.

“It's still on our minds,” Deonda Kirkpatrick said. “We still think about it. It's still there.”

Pennington said Frederick police are still working the case and still get tips. In February 2012, he and other members of the department went to Philadelphia to present the case to the Vidocq Society, an organization of elite criminal investigation experts.

Because the case is still under investigation, Pennington would not reveal the results of the Vidocq meeting. He said the department continues to meet with the Kirkpatrick family.

As technology improves, police have the opportunity to apply new science to old evidence, Pennington said.

“We have evidence in all our cases,” he said.

Police are going back, interviewing former officers who worked at the department to see if new clues can be uncovered, Pennington said; earlier this year, a representative from the department interviewed a former captain involved in the case who now lives in Florida.

“If there is a name listed in the file, we are interviewing them,” he said.

Deonda Kirkpatrick recently wrote a letter to Tracey. In it, she described making a photo collage with her sister as a Christmas gift for their parents last year. She realized how much Tracey still lives on. Tracey's compassionate heart and feisty attitude are reflected in her nieces and nephews, Deonda Kirkpatrick wrote, adding that "you have made yourself a part of everything and everyone in this family."

"You help us cope day-to-day in seeing your amazing attributes in this and the next generation."

Follow Courtney Mabeus on Twitter: @courtmabeus.

(10) comments


I'd love to know the story behind the 'confession' of the off-duty sheriff's deputy that was working security. Any other time the entire story would have been published, but not this one.


It is a shame that they have not shoved this murder after all these years. I know how hard that is to not know. My brother was killed when a truck hit him and left the scene. We never found out who hit him hit and it has been 33 years. I hope that by giving this case to someone with fresh eyes, they will be able to find some new information and clues.

I know that this is very hard on Tracey’s family. I often wonder how another human being can take someone’s life and live with that knowledge every day. Knowing the family will never have some form of closure until the case is solved.
I believe that when crimes are committed by one person there is a better chance of not finding out what happened. I think when two people commit a crime, usually one of them will tell someone. That is why I believe there was only one person who did this.
I hope that this case will be solved for the Kirkpatrick family and maybe they will find some peace? I’m not saying that it will heal them, but maybe help them?
My thoughts go out to all of them. God Bless!


I would certainly hope that the implication made that there may have been a cover up, wasn't made recklessly. I would like to think that lead will be investigated as well. Someone knows something.


you must not be from around here! that's been the theory from the start..


It was made completely recklessly. It's completely baseless. Everyone who spouts of that opinion are merely conspiracy theorists thirsty for a scandal. Small town small minded people who don't know any of the facts of the case or the circumstances. People who need to stop and think that there were multiple families affected by this, including mine, that read these comments.


It is not wreckless to suggest that an already corrupt and abusive police department may have done something shady when circumstantial evidence might suggest their involvement.


The police had many leads on this case, an officer I will not name was jeopardizing officer's jobs if they uncovered what he was covering up! Frederick's finest need to look at they're own ..........[sad]


I love it when people make up stories.


I remember when this happened in Frederick. I was 15 years old at the time. I believe the person who did such a horrible thing to this young lady, will be caught. Sometimes just like tv, they don't admit it until their on their deathbed with oxygen tubes coming out of their noses. I pray that this is not the case for the Kirkpatrick family, they've waited to long already. Keep the faith and God will bring them to justice.


I was the branch manager of the Bank of Brunswick in P.o.R. when this happened. Mr. Kirkpatrick came into our branch shortly afterward.

I'll never forget the forlorn, abject emptiness that the poor man had in his eyes, the body language of someone who was totally destroyed. He looked as if his soul had been ripped out of his body.

Difficult to comprehend that the family never received closure. I hope someday they will.

Jeff Walker

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