OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Progress has been made this week in an effort to solve one of Oklahoma’s most high-profile unsolved cases, “The State Fair Murders.” 

“This is the biggest development in the 36-year history of this case,” said Dorien Quillen, a family friend of the victims and a former private investigator on the case. “This is one of the most infamous unsolved cases in Oklahoma State History.”

On September 23, 1987, Cheryl Genzer, 25, and Lisa Pennington, 16, vanished after leaving the state fair. Their bodies were later found in a shallow grave. 

Quillen explained to KFOR that decades ago, prosecutors charged a man for the murders based on a testimony from his friend. However, at the last minute, that friend recanted his claims, and the charges were dropped. 

“So, all charges were dropped, and no one’s ever been arrested again,” said Quillen. 

However, a new petition, filed by Quillen and three others seeking justice, was signed by an Oklahoma County judge on Wednesday. The filing sparks new hope. 

“The families of the murder victims from 1987 wish the investigation be reopened,” said Ed Blau, a legal expert. “It is my understanding that they have reached out to law enforcement agencies who have been either unwilling or unable to continue the investigation. This is their opportunity, and this is the vehicle by which they can go forward and nudge the investigation.” 

The filing asks that a grand jury have “the ability to process new information that will undoubtedly glean a suspect in this horrific crime that petitioners believe still exists.” 

“We also know there’s a huge list of physical evidence that was recovered at the scene,” said Quillen. 

The next step in this process is for Quillen and everyone she’s working with to gather at least 500 signatures in the next 45 days to present to the judge. 

“The judge at that point shall order the grand jury to be impaneled,” said Blau. 

Quillen said she’s confident these will finally lead to peace and closure for loved ones of the victims. 

“We believe that when a jury looks at it at the end of that process, hopefully there’ll be some kind of resolution for this family,” said Quillen.