31-year-old Dover cold case reopened - WSMV Channel 4

31-year-old Dover cold case reopened

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DOVER, TN (WSMV) -

For one Dover family, it's a pain that hasn't gone away for 31 years. In 1980, two teenage girls were found murdered just outside their hometown. Back then, the case went unsolved. Now, police say it's time to try again.

Donna Mathis said she grew up in Dover with her cousins Vicky Stout and Carla Atkins.

"They were fun, they were loving, they got out and just laughed," said Mathis. "They were, to me, just part of me."

One September day in 1980, 16-year-old Stout and 14-year-old Atkins disappeared while walking to a restaurant on Donelson Parkway. Mathis said she knew something was wrong.

"I just felt in my heart they did not run away," said Mathis. "They had no reason to. They had a happy home, a good family. I would not believe they ran away."

Two weeks later, the girls' bodies were found in a secluded area in Land Between the Lakes. Both girls had been shot.

"It devastated all of us because we couldn't believe somebody would be so cruel to take them and kill them and for what?" asked Mathis. "We still don't know."

Now, 31 years later, Mathis is hoping she'll finally find her answers. The Stewart County Sheriff's Department is reopening the case with the idea that modern technology and a new set of investigators could bring new clues to light. Sheriff's department officials are already taking meetings with representatives of TBI and the 23rd Judicial District Attorney's office in an attempt to solve a case that took away Mathis's cousins and best friends.

"I hope and pray that someday we find out how, why, and who did it," said Mathis. "The family needs closure, and that's something I've never had. I never could understand why."

If you have any information on this case, please call the Stewart County Sheriff's Department at 931-232-5322.

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