Murder Solved 20 Years Later



Tracy Jean Hawlett, left, and J.B. Hilton Beasley were found dead in the trunk of Beasley's car in 1999.

Kathryn Dykes, Staff

In 1999, two teens, both 17 years old and students at Northview High school in Dothan, AL,  were on their way to a party on July 31 of that year. Then, they got lost and ended up about 20 miles northwest in Ozark. The two were reported being seen  at a convenience store, where Hawlett made a call to her mother, telling her she was on her way home. When they didn’t make it back that night, her mother called the police.

The next morning, the car the girls had been driving was found with both their bodies in the trunk with bullet wounds to the head. For the next 2 years, police followed multiple leads and even searched out of state. In April of 2018, a 72-year-old man was charged for multiple rape-murders. In court, he was referred to as the “Golden State Killer”. The murder suspect was found by comparing DNA found at the crime to data on commercial genealogy websites and this is what inspired the police working on the case of the two girls murdered in 1999.

Police found a match to Coley McCraney who was then brought in for further DNA testing which matched to the DNA found at the crime. This led to his arrest six months later, near the 20th anniversary of the teens’ murder.