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Tulsa Police Department holds out hope for answers in brutal 1987 murder of Candyce Woodward

Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 23:32:36-05

TULSA, Okla. -- Candyce Woodward was a PTA parent and an active member of her church.

She had two children, an 11-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter.

"She was a sweet and loving and wonderful woman. She was a stay-at-home mom who did anything and everything she could for us to take care of us," her son Doug Woodward said.

On January 7th 1987, Woodward was watching her three-year-old neighbor while Doug and his sister were at school. When she answered a knock at the door a man chased her inside, ultimately beating the 38-year-old to death with a hammer.

The child she babysat stayed on the couch all day until Woodward's husband came home from work and called police.

"For this to happen and for a little girl to have to witness that... and for it to haunt her for years, probably still to this day," Tulsa Detective Eddie Majors said.

A suspect was never found. Then ten years later, investigators faced a new challenge.

"Sometime in the 90s a refrigeration unit went down over a weekend. All the DNA evidence that had been collected, which we knew there was a lot, seccumbed to humidity and water and ultimately became unusable," Woodward said.

Woodward said he always wanted to go into police work, but it was his mom's story that ultimately inspired him to become a lieutenant in Claremore.

"I think I have more sympathy or empathy if you will for people that are involved in things like this because I know what it was for us to go through and I know how hard violent crimes can be on children," he said.

Woodward's two children now have kids of their own, and wish their mother was here to influence the next generation.

"She's missed weddings, birth of our children, graduations... just all of those things that you're supposed to have a mom for," her daughter Tresa McCauley said.

But the siblings and investigators hold out hope, saying evidence could just be a phone call away.

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