- Associated Press - Sunday, November 20, 2016

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - The brutal killings of Tammy Cooper and her three children haunt the community 12 years later.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (https://bit.ly/2fZjjaX ) reports family and friends still contend the woman knew her murderer.

“She was very outgoing, and she may have made a mistake and met the wrong person,” Mary Cooper said about her deceased daughter.

Speaking of her slain daughter and grandchildren in a voice shaken with age, she referred to them as “my babies,” saying Tammy Cooper’s best trait, her personality, may have led to her meeting someone who may be her killer.

On Oct. 25, 2004, police arrived at the Tammy Cooper’s home in the 500 block of North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to find the woman and her 9-year-old twin boys, KaDiece and Kashiem Allen, and 11-year-old Mahogany Allen had been killed.

According to a previous A-J Media story, the four had been cut, stabbed and beaten in various areas of the residence.

On the 12th anniversary of the murders, Lubbock police released a statement calling it “one of Lubbock’s most violent and gruesome murders.”

In a previous interview with A-J Media, Rey Martinez, retired Lubbock police detective, said investigators believed the assailant may have been let into the home.

Tammy’s Cooper’s final words to a friend during a phone conversation included the name “Butch.” Investigators, past and present, believe he is a person of interest in the case.

“We believe that the victim knew this Butch because, No. 1, she’s on the phone with a friend of hers and she doesn’t call out for help. She doesn’t ask the friend to call 911 or anything,” Martinez said in the 2014 interview. “She said, ‘His name is Butch. He’s not from here.’ Now that could mean a lot of things. That could mean he’s not from that apartment complex, that neighborhood, the city.”

Today, the building where Tammy Cooper and her children were found shows signs of new life, which is what the woman set out to create with her move to Lubbock.

With pauses in her speech, Mary Cooper said her daughter was raised in the Hub City.

When Mary Cooper separated from her husband, her daughter was moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Wanting to raise her children where she grew up, Mary Cooper said, Tammy Cooper moved her family to the housing complex in Lubbock where she and her kids would later be found dead.

Although she has not heard from police in “quite some time,” Mary Cooper said she has never stopped hoping.

“I would like to know who killed them, very much,” she said.

Like Tammy’s Cooper’s family and friends, officials say the case weighs heavy on their minds.

Lubbock police Lt. John Hayes said the case has been difficult for officers to deal with.

“No. 1, fortunately we don’t have too many quadruple homicides in Lubbock - so that’s a good thing. And No. 2, really probably the main reason that I think it’s termed that way is just the fact that you have three children involved,” said Hayes.

The young victims in the case were not only innocent, the 18-year police veteran said, but they had not lived their life long enough.

What makes this case even more difficult, he said, is the family had not developed routine contacts as they had lived in the city for less than a year when the murders occurred.

“With this family being new to Lubbock, relatively new, six months or so in the community,” he said, “it’s hard to establish a baseline behavior so you can’t really tell what deviates from the norm because you aren’t really sure what the norm is. That hinders the case to a degree as well.”

Investigators consider the case active, and Dr. Sridhar Natarajan, chief medical examiner for the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office, said the case stays fresh on everyone’s mind.

Natarajan said law enforcement is intently and actively pursuing any and all leads.

“I think law enforcement has not let this case just be forgotten,” he said. “I know currently we are at the 12th anniversary but this case comes up often by both law enforcement agencies, and their concern in trying to solve it, as well as the district attorney’s office.”

Not being able to go over specific details, he said the case had a personal nature to it as it involved a single mother and her three children.

The manner in which each victim was killed and the innocence in children, he said, made this a “very horrendous or horrific” case that would be unusual in any city.

According to Natarajan, maximum efforts, time and manpower went into the investigation.

“There’s so many things that have happened since this case in the West Texas area,” he said, “but yet our folks are not willing to let it go.”

A friend, Susie McDade, said she never stops thinking of the case, especially the children.

“My little niece graduated and her daughter would’ve been right there with her,” she said as tears gathered in the corner of her eyes.

Calling the three children respectful and loving, McDade said Halloween is a difficult time for her because it brings up reminders of the children and the killings.

While her family would visit with the children often and grew connected to the kids, she said Tammy remained a mystery as she kept her private life to herself.

McDade, too, said the killer must have been acquainted with Tammy Cooper.

If Tammy Cooper made a mistake in her personal life, she said she hopes someone cares enough to come forward as the incident still hurts her and the community.

And until someone is brought to justice, she said she will lean on her faith.

“I know one day God will bring forward,” she said. “I may be dead and gone when it comes, but somebody will find him. I hope somebody will for the kids’ sake.”

Mary Cooper’s voice grew strong when she said her “babies” - her grandchildren, and daughter - were lovable and she misses them every day.

It bothers Mary Cooper knowing the person who did this may have been someone who she has welcomed in her home.

She said she prays for a resolution soon.

Asked if she had anything she wanted to share, her voice began to shake again.

“I love them wherever they are. I love them. All four of them,” she said.

While tips have started to dwindle, Hayes said, police hate to refer to it as a cold case.

He said the case has two investigators who are still reaching out to people in an effort to obtain new or additional information. Every piece of information is critical to the investigation.

With years of investigative experience, he said sometimes it is the smallest detail that ends up breaking the case.

In those details, he said, investigators may find a contradiction in someone’s alibi or timeline.

“Regardless of how small or how minute you think your detail is,” he said, “please call, and we’re more than happy to follow up on any leads. We need to do it for the rest of the family. We need to do it for closure for everybody.”

___

Information from: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, https://www.lubbockonline.com

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