“My father deserves justice,” Oklahoma unsolved mystery: Who killed Edward Trotter?

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OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. - It's an unsolved mystery.

A case that's nearly 20 years old.

The victim, first thought to have died of natural causes, later found to have been murdered.

Remnants of a shotgun blast and X-rays revealed Eddie Trotter's  death was no accident.

It's a case detectives are confident they'll crack even two decades later.

The story takes us to Eastern Oklahoma County, a rural spot beyond Jones and south of Luther.

"It's a good place to hide somebody," said Deputy Vanessa Cole with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.

It was June 1996.

Trotter was living at the rural home with a friend when he disappeared.

After not hearing from him for a few days, his family organized a search.

They found his lifeless body along the edge of the property.

His body was covered in maggots.

His arm was missing.

His boot was pulled off.

Investigators believe he had been there for three or four days.

"They thought it could have possibly been a medical issues and it was natural causes," said Lieutenant Michael Cunningham with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.

But, in a closer look at the scene, investigators found shotgun wadding.

Then, came word from the medical examiner: X-rays revealed he had been shot at least two times.

"When they processed the house, they found there was blood in the house. So, we know possibly the incident happened in the house, and he was moved out there," Cole said.

"It literally was out the door of the funeral home. That was how many friends he had, which is why it came as such a shock the way that he left us, because I can't imagine someone wanting to harm him," said Cristalle Pelfrey, Trotter's daughter.

Cristalle remembers that summer well.

She had last spoken with her father just days earlier on Father's Day.

"Really had so many friends that really no one was his enemy," Cristalle said.

Or were they.

"It appears he was in a small circle of friends - a lot of acquaintances from high school," Cunningham said.

Investigators know one of the last times Trotter was seen alive was that Father's Day weekend.

He had been at a pig roast with some old friends at the rural home where he lived.

In the days and weeks after the murder, strange notes were left on the property owner's door, messages threatening the man who was Trotter's roommate.

A number of interviews and lie detector tests were done.

Even though they suspected some people were lying,  investigators never had enough evidence to charge any one person.

The case grew cold.

Now, 20 years later, the sheriff's office is hopeful.

They're taking another hard look at the evidence, re-testing it for DNA and hoping the passing of time may mean some of those so-called friends are now ready to talk.

"We just feel, maybe 20 years later, some of those people that were close during that time would now be able to come and shed a little more light on what happened to Mr. Trotter," Cunningham said.

"My father deserves justice. He deserves rest," Cristalle said.

Cristalle was just 17 at the time, about to enter her senior year in high school.

She graduated, got married and has since had children of her own.

"You go through all of these milestones, and you know that there's this huge piece missing," she said.

While a box of photos and memories is all she has left of her dad, she said his spirit survives in her children, despite the fact they never met their grandfather.

"It's something that's so emotional, because it brings tears to your eyes and it melts my heart at the same time, because there's this wonderful beautiful piece of my father that's still here," Cristalle said.

Cristalle believes wholeheartedly there are people out there who know the truth, people who know who killed her father.

"I really just want to know who it is and want answers," she said.

Investigators want those same answers and hope, by putting this story back in the spotlight, they can get the one tip they need to get Trotter's killer off the street.

The victim's roommate was once considered a suspect but claimed he was out-of-town when Trotter went missing.

Investigators did find a pair of blood stained jeans in the home, but they never figured out who owned those jeans.

They are hoping new testing will help identify any DNA on those jeans.

If you have any information that could help investigators find Trotter's killer, you are asked to call the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office at 405-713-1085.

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