Skip to main content

"Cold Justice" Looks At 1988 Hit & Run Death of Rachelle Escalante

I have been watching and writing about this new TNT series since it aired earlier this month and I find the cases thus far have been interesting. The Cold Justice team of Kelly Siegler, Yolanda McCleary and Johnny Bonds have had some success already in the form of Ronnie Hendricks pleading guilty to the murder of his girlfriend Pam Shelley, who was packed up and ready to move out of state when she was found with a gunshot wound to the head. Her death was originally ruled a suicide, but thanks to a renewed investigation and help and attention drawn from Cold Justice's participation netted results.

Next week the team heads to Globe, Arizona to look into the suspected hit and run killing of 17 year old Rachelle Escalante.  I've been looking for news relating to the original investigation from July of 1988 but I haven't come across much at all - the information is scarce.  However, it seems that people who were familiar with this incident are posting comments that indicate the person or people involved with this hit and run are "well known" in that community.  These are only comments and I don't know if there is any validity to them, but I've seen several anonymous postings that state "everybody knows who is responsible for this crime", one even states that one of the responsible parties worked as a cashier in a local store.

Rachelle Escalante

Rachelle Escalante attended a party with friends on July 6, 1988.  A fight reportedly broke out at the party and Rachelle is believed to have left the party on foot.  Patrol Officers Lee Kinnard and Ray Hernandez came across Rachelle crawling across the road later that evening and they stopped to help her but it was too late.  Rachelle Escalante took her last breath and died in the street with the patrol officers at her side.  It certainly sounds like the fight that broke out at that party may be the key to solving this case.  If so many people knew who hit Rachelle and why, I'm curious as to why there were never any arrests made in this case. The few things I've been able to find online about this case is that a Black Trans Am is believed to be the car that was involved, and jealousy over a boy may have led to this tragic event.

I'm posting a link to an article that was published on recently that discusses Cold Justice's involvement in this cold case:

It's not really an article, rather more of an announcement that TNT's Cold Justice is looking into the case - but the comments linked to the announcement are what really caught my attention. Naturally there is no way to tell if the comments posted are in fact from people who legitimately know something, or if they are just pranks, but reading the details of these comments and the common theme that it was no secret who was responsible for running Rachelle Escalante down and what car was used to do it seem to be too detailed to be random prank comments. It sounds like people in that small town had a very good idea of who was involved in this hit and run and why it happened. 

Several people posted comments stating they remember when this happened and they indicate they would be willing to talk to investigators to tell them what they know. Some comments are anonymous and some have names.  An anonymous commenter points to jealousy as the motive for the crime. Rachelle Escalante's younger brother Gabriel (or someone claiming to be Gabriel) left comments asking these people who were commenting to bring their information to the Globe Police Department.

There are a few very specific themes in these comments:  In a comment left on June 2, 2013 somebody named Fawn wrote:  "Gabriel, I was in college at the time, however, when I came home and saw all the signs and markings at the crime scene I was sick and overwhelmed with sorrow for your family.  I have prayed for years that the truth would be exposed, I was ecstatic when this was brought to my attention. As the anonymous comment says above, everyone in town knew about the party, the jealousy outraged sisters, I only wish I could remember their names."

A comment left by Tabitha on June 8, 2013 says: "It's about time!!! Yes - everyone who was around at the time knows exactly who did it, and why the police didn't perform the most basic of investigating at the time, reeks of corruption, bribery and secrets.  I just hope it's not too late - that the women leading this investigation are able to get the proof they need, after the perps were allowed to wash their car and get rid of all other evidence, and the cops ignored or botched everything else".

On September 14, 2013 a comment by Xameria says:  "Wow Tabitha those are some seriously harsh words. Coming from a different perspective, there was a lot of fear surrounding this case, you know as well as I do that the responsible parties have done everything within their power to frighten and keep the people who know the truth quiet. That being said, yes the evidence on the car was washed away within hours of this happening and the police hadn't even begun to put the evidence together. 

It certainly seems that the people who lived in that small town remember this event and haven't forgotten about what happened to Rachelle Escalante. It's alarming to think that people may have known who committed this crime for all these years and law enforcement did not or could not make an arrest - but I'm hoping that a little exposure from Cold Justice is just what this case needs to uncover the truth once and for all.  If you want to see the comments I'm referring to and judge them for yourself, use the link to the announcement and then scroll down to see the various comments left in response to the announcement.


Most popular posts

Dr. Janeen DeMarte - A Look At The Prosecution's Expert Witness

Dr. Janeen DeMarte is expected to take the stand in the Jodi Arias murder trial as a key witness for the prosecution. Think of DeMarte as the State's response to Dr. Richard Samuels and potentially Alyce LaViolette. It's unclear when DeMarte will testify, but with Alyce LaViolette's testimony wrapping up, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at who the State's expert witness is.

Dr. Janeen DeMarte is a licensed clinical psychologist who has a private practice in the Phoenix area. She holds a master's degree and PhD in clinical psychology. with a concentration on forensics - and graduated from Michigan State University and fulfilled her doctoral residency at Arizona State Hospital.  Her clinical training was done at outpatient clinics, correctional facilities and inpatient unit settings. She has served as the Clinical Director of a large outpatient behavior health clinic in Phoenix and "oversaw the practice of numerous multidisciplinary treatment provide…

Is Alyce LaViolette Cashing In On Murder Trial?

As the defense finishes questioning their star witness, domestic abuse expert Alyce LaViolette, many are disillusioned by her choice to take the stand to portray murder defendant Jodi Arias as a battered and abused woman.  Maybe I'm the one who's crazy, but wasn't Travis Alexander the one who had the life stabbed, slashed and shot out of him at the hands of Jodi Arias? Who battered whom here?  Are Travis Alexander's not-so-kind text messages to Jodi Arias PROOF that he was a womanizing batterer and bully who held all the power in the relationship between Arias and Alexander?

Alyce LaViolette seems to think so. Does she have any idea the feelings of outrage she is bringing out in the hearts and minds of the real victims of domestic abuse all over the country? Before LaViolette began testifying, I kept asking myself "why would a woman who is so well respected in her field choose THIS case, defend THIS woman?"  Could it be the money? I suppose $250-$300 an hour c…

Was Trip to Cancun Catalyst to Murder? Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Marie "Mimi" Hall was the first prosecution witness to take the stand in the Jodi Arias Murder trial. She took the stand on January 3, 2013. Hall told jurors that she met Travis Alexander through the Mormon Church. Although they initially went on a date, it was quickly recognized that they were a great match as friends, and they remained such good friends that Alexander invited Hall to accompany him on a work retreat to Cancun, Mexico. The trip was to begin on June 10, 2008. Travis wouldn't live to see that day. Friends found him murdered in his home in Mesa, AZ on June 9, 2008. Coincidence, or catalyst? Travis's close friends have told investigators that Arias had been engaging in stalker-like behavior in the months preceding the murder. Twice, Alexander had his tires slashed after going out with other women. He told close friends his Facebook account had been hacked into. Arias even reportedly would use the doggie door to gain entry to Alexander's home. …

A Look At Alyce LaViolette And More Strange Video Footage of Arias Arrest

Yesterday, as Dr. Richard Samuels finished up his testimony the Jodi Arias defense team called their next expert witness to the stand, Alyce LaViolette. LaViolette is a very legitimate expert on the subject of domestic violence, having been one of the early leaders back in the 1970's when this was not a topic that was spoke of often. Jennifer Willmott had LaViolette introduce herself and her educational background, and list her many accomplishments helping battered women and even helping the men who battered them, hoping to return these women to a safer environment. She is likable, and she is a legitimate voice on this topic. The prosecution should not expect this witness to be as sloppy in the trial casework and reporting as Dr. Samuels was. 

While it's unknown exactly how far out on a limb LaViolette will go for Jodi Arias, she is expected to testify about some of the characteristics of battered women, why they return to their abusers - and what some of characteristics are of…

"Cold Justice" Heats Up Unsolved Murder Cases

This is my third blog post on TNT's new reality show, "Cold Justice".  Cold Justice pairs former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler with former Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary, who travel to small rural towns across America to look at unsolved murder cases.  Their first episode which aired Tuesday has already delivered results - the arrest of Ronnie Hendricks (see yesterdays post for details) for the murder of Pam Shelley. TNT lists an episode guide online, and 
I couldn't resist taking a peek and looking for details on those cases.  I was astonished at what they have accomplished in their first season.  This is more than just another crime drama, these ladies are committed and determined to bringing justice to those who may have escaped it previously in small towns that may lack the resources to bring a suspect to trial.

You can see the episode guide on their website. They give a brief description of the victims and circumstances of their deaths. Here is a list of this seas…