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Disappeared But Not Forgotten: Texas Cold Cases – 2009 Ferris Double Homicide

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Johnson residence Ferris
Johnson residence Ferris, TX

Ferris, TX 2009 Double Homicide Cold Case

FERRIS – It’s a small city of 2,500, and cold cases don’t sit well there.

In 2009, a Grand Prairie woman and her boyfriend were murdered in their bedroom inside a house in Ferris on S. Church Street. The suspect or suspects still remain at large. It has turned into a case with more questions than answers.

At one time, former Ferris Chief Eddie Salazar, even had photos of the victims, Janine Johnson and her boyfriend Stephen Taylor as well as two other victims from a homicide there hanging on his office wall.

In the City of Ferris, although they have less resources than larger cities, Ferris Police Chief John DeLeon says this case has not been forgotten and is being worked on regularly.

Crime Scene Details

Police estimate the murders took place in the late evening hours of March 21 or early morning hours of March 22, 2009 while the couple were sleeping. There was no indication of forced entry into the home. Police said at the time they also did not find tracks indicating anyone had been creeping around the home.

According to police, all the blood from the murder was contained in the bedroom and there was no blood found in any other part of the home.

It was a city public works employee who informed police about the situation at the S. Church Street address after being alerted by Taylor’s brother who said he had arrived at the house to check on the two living there.

When police entered the home they found both Johnson and Taylor had been violently butchered. Taylor had been stabbed repeatedly with around 70 stab wounds and Johnson had as many as 50 stab wounds found on her body. As for a motive, the police are at a loss.

While the case has remained unsolved, every good law enforcement officer knows that somewhere there is a detail that might have gone unnoticed.

In 2019 during an interview with Johnson’s family, her mother Diana seemed hopeful the murderer will be discovered.

Could DNA Hold The Answer?

At that time the Ferris Police Department had also taken this cold case to the Cold Case Committee in Austin, a committee of about 20 people. This committee looked at these files and agreed more could be done.

Several years ago in Ferris’s fiscal year budget, $8,565.28 was included in the budget for DNA collection with the SW Institute of Forensic Science for DNA testing for this murder investigation.

The fact is technology has changed since these murders occurred in 2009 and detectives in Ferris thought perhaps they could cull some additional clues from the DNA.

DeLeon said too “[We] are in the process of investigating and studying the case. Officers had gathered evidence that was sent to the Dallas FBI Office, Dallas County Forensics as well as Texas DPS Forensics. Officers are still collecting evidence and analyzing the evidence that has been collected.”

Indeed, this cold case is still being worked and DeLeon is hopeful the murderer/murderers will be brought to justice.

Why this Case Went Cold

According to Chief DeLeon “Shortly after the homicide, Ferris Police Department sustained a constant change of personnel. Every Officer from then on assigned to the case would have to begin the Investigation from its inception so as to get familiarized with the background and the witnesses or personnel involved. This meant sifting through evidence as well as evidence that had been sent for forensic testing, reaching out to witnesses, following leads that had been submitted as tips, making sure that all pertinent paper was submitted i.e., search warrants and reading through witness statements just to name a few. Resources available to the Police Department then were minimal. Currently the resources have improved and getting much better thanks to the current Police Staff and City Administrators.

What’s Next?

Ferris Police Department and the Officers currently assigned to the case reached out to a Cold Case Foundation in mid-to-late 2020 and have been in constant contact with the Foundation disseminating information as needed. It has been a slow process, but the Ferris Police Department as well as the Foundation have to scrutinize all the original paperwork making sure that nothing pertinent falls through the cracks.

The Ferris Police Department is cognizant that the conditional factor in solving the case is that it must be worked. The Ferris Police Department owes it to the victims loved ones and to the citizens of Ferris to bring those responsible for this heinous crime to justice. There is no statute of limitations on this crime. The Ferris Police Department with the help of surrounding agencies and The Cold Case Foundation will prevail.

Anyone with information about this crime can contact the Ferris Police Department at 972-544-2225 or contact the Ellis County Crime Stoppers organization at 972-937-PAYS. Callers can remain anonymous.

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