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MMW Worst Offenders: Marken case
By Krystle Henderson/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore. - Police say the Elizabeth Marken murder case is one of the most notorious local crimes from the 1970s.
A young girl was murdered in broad daylight on October 8, 1976.
A group of kids from the YMCA after school program went on an outing to Bear Creek Park. Six-year-old Elizabeth Marken vanished from the group. She was raped, strangled and drowned.
"There was a small pond and her body was found, she had been killed and sexually assaulted and that particular case was very disturbing," Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said.
Officers patrolled the Bear Creek bike path for weeks, searching for the killer. Robert McBride was one person who crossed an officer's path.
"The officer, in encountering McBride, thought something was very unusual," Moran said. "There was concern so he was able to get him to come to the police department."
McBride was investigated, charged and ultimately convicted of murder.
"We're not sure exactly how the suspect lured her away or maybe she recognized him, we don't know, but at some point he was able to separate her from the group," Moran said.
The tragic crime brought a big change in local law enforcement.
"The interesting thing about it was at that point, shortly afterwards in reaction to it, the Medford City Council decided that the police department needed to be expanded and they added ten additional police officers," Moran said.
Moran was one of those officers hired and to this day he works to stop crime.
After all these years, he says this was a case like no other.
"It sends a message that, that can happen to my kid or someone I know or it could happen to me," Moran said. "This kind of crime was pretty disturbing, that in broad daylight, on a beautiful day in a park, something as horrible as that could occur."
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