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Did 1998 pregnancy claim lead to death of Tulsa sixteen year-old?

Updated: Apr 18

Every June 6 in for the past several years, a memorial service and vigil has been held at the Family Fellowship Church in Berryhill. That event, started in 1999 in the parking lot of a Marvin's grocery store at the Town West Shopping Center at 5616 W. Skelly Drive as a way of remembering Dena Deane, later moved to the Berryhill church.

Dena Dean, who was sixteen on June 6, 1998, was abducted at the grocery store and her remains were recovered approximately a week later in a field at 51st Street South and 49th West Avenue.

Dena was a teenager who was head over heels in love with her older boyfriend, who was preparing to head off to college. In the days before she disappeared, Dena told him that she was pregnant with his child.

As an autopsy would determine, Dena was not or never had been pregnant at the time of her death but whether it was a mistake, wishful thinking or a ruse to keep her boyfriend from leaving, the chance that she may have been with child most likely what precipitated the events which concluded with her death

Dena had gone to meet her boyfriend in the parking lot of Marvin’s Grocery on the night of her disappearance. It has been conjectured she was going to tell him she was not pregnant after all. Witnesses would later claim to have seen her being yelled at that location by her boyfriend’s father, who did not like the fact that his son might forego a higher education because of their relationship.

Witnesses also reported other interactions the Tulsa teenager had at Marvin’s that night, where her parents later found her car with her purse still inside.

Dena’s badly decomposed body was found six days later, and although the coroner could not determine a precise cause of death, it was ruled a homicide.

The boyfriend and his father were long considered suspects, but there was never strong enough evidence to support a case against them. Years later in 2016 new evidence emerged which pointed towards the boyfriend’s uncle, and DNA tests were conducted, but results have never been released.

No new developments have been publicly shared,

A witness said a woman told him the boyfriend's father showed up at her house the night Dena disappeared and he was covered in mud, needing his clothes washed. Dena's body was found in a field by a pond. That field was close to the grocery store and the boyfriend's home.

Another informant told investigators the uncle had once stormed into the home of the boyfriend's father, pushed the father against the wall and threatened him if he talked about the case.

Almost 29-years have passed since Dena's death,

If you know of any in formation that might lead to a resolution in this cold case you are asked to call the Cold Case Taskforce Tip Line at 918-894-9401.

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