Teryl Lynn Steele Orcutt was 26-years-old when her 1989 red Ford Thunderbird car was found abandoned on the side of County Road 218 in Middleburg, Florida on the morning of January 21, 1990.
The car was discovered, still running, parked on the side of the road. Teryl’s purse containing cash and credit cards were found inside the car near a spilled soft drink. Her prescription glasses were found about 50 feet from her car. Teryl had left her boyfriend’s Jacksonville house around 5:00am and was heading to the Middleburg home she shared with her mother. Seven days later the partially clothed body of Teryl Orcutt was discovered by two young boys off Lee Drive, near Black Creek, about 4-5 miles from where her car had been found. Teryl had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and, according to detectives, was found wearing only underwear, socks and shoes. Because of the decomposition to her body it is unknown if she was sexually assaulted.
Teryl would have turned 54 on the 19th of this month. Her case has been unsolved for more than 27 years. In 1997 Teryl’s mother lost her battle with cancer and died never knowing who killed her daughter. When asked on her deathbed what she would say to the person responsible for killing her daughter she responded, “Only thing I want to know from that person is why? I don’t want to know what you did, how you did it, or anything. I want to know why her?” Teryl’s sisters continue to seek that answer and justice. They publicize her case whenever possible and have created a Facebook page dedicated to finding Justice for Teryl Lynn Steele Orcutt.
Investigators have publicly cleared Teryl’s boyfriend and ex-husband as suspects. She had no known enemies and by all accounts was a caring, well-liked, woman that had never been in any kind of trouble. Due to the position of Teryl’s car on the side of the road and a nearby witness that claimed she was awoken by woman screaming “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything.”; there were rumors and speculation that a law enforcement officer may have pulled Teryl over and been responsible for her abduction and murder. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office accounted for and verified the whereabouts of all its officers on the day in question. However, they have acknowledged that someone impersonating an officer may have been involved. Detectives have asked for anyone that encountered a person posing as a police officer in late 1989 to early 1990 in Northeast Florida to please contact the investigators to report the circumstances.
If you have any information on the abduction and murder of Teryl Lynn Steele Orcutt, no matter how small, please call the Clay County Sheriff’s Office at (904) 264-6512. To remain anonymous and possibly collect a reward up to $3,000, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
Teryl Orcutt’s abandoned 1989 Ford Thunderbird
Newspaper clipping from the Florida Times Union
Please use the buttons below to share this case in hopes that someone, somewhere will come forward and give this victim and family the answers they need and justice they deserve.
If you have a loved one that is the victim of an unsolved homicide please submit their case here for consideration in a future Cold Case Spotlight post.