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Tulsa family prepares for 19th anniversary of daughter's death as officals get closer to answers

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Posted at 9:26 PM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 22:26:09-04

TULSA - It's been 19 years since the police tape and unbearable news surrounding the death of 16-year-old Dena Dean.  

“She’s my 16-year-old daughter. Yes, she’d be 35 now. I can’t give up," said Dena's father Larry Dean. “Dena was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Larry said he remembers searching nonstop for his daughter that never came home from her job at Arby's. 

He said she called her mother on a pay phone to let her know she'd be hanging out with a friend, and never heard from her again.

Police found her body six days later in a Tulsa field. 

“I think I know who they are. I really do," he said. 

Larry confident he knows who did it.

“I’ve seen him at the casinos, I’ve seen him at the Quik Trip."

He said it was her boyfriend without a doubt. 

“We’re unable to tell from the Medical Examiner’s report how she died but she had a broken jaw so we know that it was traumatic," said Casey Roebuck from the Tulsa County Sheriff's office. 

She said the office is closer to finding Dena's killer than they were only a year ago. 

“Dena had told this guy that she was pregnant, so we had to take a close look at him, turns out from the autopsy results that she was not. But that’s a motive," she said. 

“She was going to tell him that night she wasn’t, and I think daddy got there and says what are you doing accusing my son of getting you pregnant," said Dena's father.

Larry believes the boyfriend's father helped him harm Dena, last seen at a local shopping center. 

He said he can't wait to see them both behind bars.

“I want my day in court. I want to hear that judge say guilty. I want to hear them try to explain what happened that night."

For now he's setting up the 19th vigil in Dena's honor; bringing together her friends, family and community members. 

Dean hopes it the last without answers. 

“We’re going to fight until we hear that judge say guilty," he said. “As I’ve been told that’s when West Tulsa will have one big party. It won’t be a memorial service like this one, it’ll just be a West Tulsa-wide party.”

The vigil will be Tuesday, June 6 at 11 a.m. at Family Fellowship Church in Berryhill. 

Members of the sheriff's Cold Case Task Force will be setup accepting information anyone has regarding Dena's death.

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