Abandoned house could hold secrets to murder of Ark. teen - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Abandoned house could hold secrets to murder of Ark. teen

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(WMC-TV) - Whitney Hinton was just 15 years old when her mutilated body was discovered in a house in Wynne, Arkansas.

Hinton disappeared on a rainy night in January of 2004.  The stormy weather troubled her mother that Saturday night seven years ago.

"She had an argument with her momma and her grandmother," said Whitney Hinton's aunt, Jeanette Hinton.  "They asked her not to leave."

Whitney Hinton was headed to a skating rink not far from her home.  She never made it and did not return home.

The family called police the next day.

"She was put out right off," said Wynne Police Chief Jeff Sanders.  "It was in a computer missing person.  If anybody had stopped and ran her she would have popped up immediately."

She did not surface until a week later.

"The hunter said the door was open and she was laying in there dead," said witness Wilma Cogshell.

Investigators said Whitney Hinton's body was discovered inside an abandoned house.  Her aunt said she had been shot in the head and her body mutilated.

The house is about 50 feet of a country road in the middle of farm fields in Cross County.

"It was a weekend," said Cogshell.

Cogshell said she remembers what she saw that night seven years ago.

"It was a truck and it was a car and they turned around right here in my driveway," said Cogshell.

She said there was a white car with a mismatched door.

"Whoever that car belongs to, they burned it up," she said.

Cogshell and Jeanette Hinton do not know each other and have never talked.

"They said they had checked a few cars and found one that was burned up," said Jeanette Hinton.

"It's an unusual case, it just never did get solved," said Sanders.

An Arkansas State police investigator told Action News 5 there is a suspect in this case.  It is a man who served time behind bars for another crime after the murder of Whitney Hinton.  That man is now back out on the streets.

State police declined an interview about the case, as did the Cross County Sheriff.

Jeanette Hinton said Whitney Hinton's mother found out last year she had treatable cancer, but decided not to do anything about it.  Kim Hinton died in August.

Now, Jeanette Hinton said she is angry and wants to know how her niece ended up in the house, who murdered her, and why the case has not been solved.

"I feel like if it had been somebody white, they would try to find out who did it," she said.

Sanders was the only investigator who would talk with Action News 5.  He said his department only handled the missing person side of the case.

Sanders said he understands Jeanette Hinton's frustration, especially with Kim Hinton dying without justice for her daughter.

"She never did have closure," said Sanders.  "That's bad."

Jeanette Hinton said the last thing her sister said before she died was her daughter's name.

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