Family of slain woman thankful for years of digging by Tulsa detective
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
Detective Jason White with the Tulsa Police Department said homicide cases are like a jigsaw puzzle.
"Initially, when the initial report comes out, you might get two hundred pieces to that puzzle," said White.
You get enough pieces and you solve the case.
But sometimes, the pieces aren't there and the case gets cold.
The 2002 disappearance of Latricia Fipps was one of those cases.
Until White came along years later.
He focused in on the main suspect, Joe Calvert.
Latricia's one-time boyfriend and the last person known to have seen her.
"We just suspected that Joe Calvert had some involvement in this," White said. "Strong suspicion that he had some involvement in this."
White chipped away at the case whenever he could.
"Both at work and at home," he said. "For many, many hours on my own time."
In 2012, the case took a big turn.
"Now, we've got a story," said White.
He said Calvert, who was now living in New Mexico, had a fight with his new girlfriend, Shanna Ramsey.
"When police arrived, New Mexico State Police, she was talking to them and telling them that Joe had killed a female that was from Tulsa," said White.
He said she told police Joe strangled Latricia not long after she went missing.
White said she knew because she was there when it happened.
"She was there throughout all of this," he said.
There were still plenty of I's to be dotted and T's to be crossed.
But on Friday, White felt there was enough evidence to make an arrest.
News Latricia's family had waited years to hear.
Her mother, sister and brothers say not a day goes by that they don't think of her.
"We were very close," said Latricia's sister, Anna Wilson.
"I always want to picture her with that infectious smile that she had," said her brother, Larry Turner.
"You could be mad at her one minute, and she'll have you laughing the next," said her other brother, Michael Turner.
"Every day she's in your mind and in your heart," said Latricia's mother, Sheila Owen.
For them, Calvert's arrest means answers.
And when you've lost someone you love, answers can be worth more than gold.
"I was really afraid I would die before justice came," said Owen.
They say they'll forever be thankful for Detective White and the hours he spent tracking down Latricia's killer.
"He doesn't even know what he means to me and to us," said Wilson. "He's the best thing that could have happened, because I believe if it wasn't for Jason, we would be nowhere."
White said there's still work to do on this case, but he plans to stick with it to the very end.