Cold Case Revisited: The Murder of Leslie Dawn Haag
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Last year, the 33rd anniversary came and went of the murder of a then 14-year-old Darby Junior High student without fanfare.
Many of the details of the incident have been lost to the passing years but the case is still classified as "unsolved" with the Fort Smith Police Department.
Leslie Dawn Haag was 14-years old when she disappeared after going out on a walk in Fort Smith on that fateful Friday afternoon. After coming home from school, Leslie had gotten permission from her mother to go for a walk in the vicinity of the Bailey Reservoir located a few blocks off Towson between South S and South T streets.
According to news coverage at the time of the incident, the eighth-grader left her home between 5-6 p.m. and promised to return in time for dinner.
Her mother, who had divorced Leslie's father and remarried to a man name Dodson, and the stepfather went looking for the girl as night started shadowing the area around the reservoir.
At around 8 p.m., the couple found the body of the young girl in a ravine on the southern side of the property and called police. The investigation and autopsy at the State Crime Lab revealed she had been strangled with the shoelace from one of her own shoes.
There was little physical evidence at the site. Leslie still had all of her clothes on, although police noted they had been "moved around" and police found buttons from her shirt as well as an unopened six-pack of Lite beer near her body. Her shoes have never been found.
Before his death in 2017, Fredrick Haag gave a local television station an interview in 2015 in which he passionately hoped that advances in DNA research and investigation light be able to shed some like on the three-decades old murder of his daughter.
Her father said at the time he thought Leslie had been picked up in a car, strangled and her body dumped at the location it was found.
Navy veteran Frederick Haag went to his grave after dying on March 15, 2017 never knowing any more about his daughter's death than he knew the week her body was found.
He is buried, like his daughter, in the Fort Smith National Cemetery.
Leslie still has family in and around the area. They would like to know what happened to their loved one, and so would Back Roads Mysteries and that's is why every year we will review her death in the hopes that someone, somewhere might be able to bring some closure to this case.
If you have any information that might help investigators solve this cold case you are asked to call the Fort Smith Police Department at 479-709-5100.