Lubbock police asking for public’s help in 1982 missing persons case

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:19 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) - Investigators with the Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit are asking for the public’s help in a 1982 missing person’s case, following the identification of remains found in Hale County determined to be that of Debra Mackey.

Mackey, who was 20 at the time of her disappearance, was first reported missing to the LPD by family members on January 6th, 1982. It was later determined she was last seen in the 1700 block of Avenue E on January 1st.

On February 16th, 1982, a body was found in Hale County, however, the remains were unable to be identified. At the time, medical examiner findings showed the remains were believed to be that of a Caucasian.

On June 21st, 1983, serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to being responsible for the death of the individual whose remains were found in Hale County. It was later determined that confession was false, and due to the remains still not being identifiable, the case involving Lucas regarding those remains was dismissed on March 17, 1986, with the body being buried in 1993.

On February 6th, 2015, a request for exhumation by the Texas Rangers was granted in hopes of identifying the body. However, after several years, a definitive identification was still unable to be reached.

On September 2nd, 2021, the DoeNetwork, a non-profit focused on unidentified and missing persons, reached out to the LPD, offering resources to once again test the remains, in hopes of either making a connection or definitively ruling out a link in the LPD’s missing person’s case and the remains found in Hale County.

Investigators with LPD were notified on November 15,, 2022, that the remains were positively identified as that of Debra Mackey.

At this time, investigators with the LPD, in conjunction with investigators with The Texas Department of Public Safety, are asking for the public’s help to better determine the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Due to the involvement of multiple jurisdictions, DPS is currently the lead agency regarding the homicide investigation.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crime Line at (806) 741-1000. Those who provide information leading to the identification or arrest of the person or persons involved in Mackey’s disappearance could be eligible for a reward up to $5,000.