CATHERINE DAVIS, 23, was reported missing 09/30/84.1 Her skeletal remains were found 01/23/85 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Soon after graduating from Oxford High School in her native Mississippi, Catherine moved to Dallas to pursue a modeling career. A few years later she moved to Fort Worth to be closer to Pat Riley, her boyfriend. Within two years that relationship waned, and she planned to move back to Dallas by Christmas.2
Friends described her as “different,” yet friendly and outgoing. Best friend Martha Kenney has fond memories of their weekends in Dallas trying to break into modeling. They’d go to clubs along Greenville Avenue in hopes of chance meetings with designers and photographers. Dallas friend Billy Martin said, in addition to fashion, Catherine also enjoyed exploring the wide storm drains under the city.3
At the time of her death, Catherine was the bookkeeper at Ridglea Country Club.
Catherine was survived by parents Dr. Marvin and Sandra Davis, and brother Brian Davis.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF DISAPPEARANCE
On 09/28/84 neighbors recall hearing her loudly arguing with a man, and then the sounds of Catherine’s car speeding from her garage apartment at 3404 1/2 Park Ridge. It’s unclear from reports who drove away in her car – Catherine or the man she was arguing with.4 Jerry Moseley, her landlady, said she had a habit of going to the 7-11 for a late night hot chocolate.5
Minutes later the apartment, located near Texas Christian University, went up in flames. Fire investigators said a cigarette dropped on a mattress ignited the blaze that destroyed the unit. The arson investigation remains closed. There was no sign of Catherine, and on 09/30/84 she was reported missing by a friend.6
On 10/07/84 her blue 1974 Dodge Dart was found abandoned in the Westcliff Manor Apartments parking lot on South Hills Avenue. Residents said it had been parked there, about a mile from her residence, since 09/30. The keys were in the car, it had a flat tire, and a large pile of clothes stuffed in the backseat. A small amount of blood was found on the outside door handle and on two coathangers inside the car. There were no signs of a struggle inside the car.2 7
Her skeletal remains were found by surveyors 01/23/85 in a south Fort Worth field, just six miles from her home. The exact location was in heavy underbrush, 50 yards west of Santa Fe Railway tracks and 200 yards north of Farm Road 1025, west of Crowley Road. Identification was made through dental records.2
THEORIES & SUSPICIONS
She’s one of five young women believed by some to be victims of a single unknown serial killer:
- Cindy Heller
- Angela Ewert
- Mary Hill / Sarah Kashka
- Lisa Griffin
On 01/11/85, a 30-member task force was formed to investigate the murders of these women, as well as four other slayings and seven rapes.4
Fort Worth Police Department is working to solve the Catherine Davis case and bring her killer(s) to justice. If you have information about this crime, please call (817) 392-4330.Submit corrections/updates here.
- Fort Worth Police Department: Cold Cases, accessed 03/12/22.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Bones identified; man arrested/Skeleton that of Catherine Davis, frontpage, published 01/25/85.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Police working to sort links from coincidences, page 14A, published 02/10/85.
- New York Times: Series of women’s murders unsettles Fort Worth, published 01/27/85.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Slain woman was on top of the world, page 2A, published 01/25/85.
- AP News: A Passion for Killing … Attractive Young Women, published 01/19/85.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: FW woman’s disappearance remains a mystery to police, page 14A, published 10/25/84.