The Main Stream

Aug 18, 2014 1:15 AM by Lupita Murillo and Michel Marizco

N4T Investigators: Tucson mother seeks answers in daughter's death

A mother's intuition tells her that her daughter's death was no accident. Noreene Walker believes her 25-year old daughter's last moments were up on the 22nd Street bridge overlooking the train depot.

Bethany Walker last spoke to her mother March 15. Two days later, on March 17, she was found dead on top of a double-stack rail car 968 miles away in Mesquite, Texas, near Dallas.

Noreene believes her daughter was pushed off the bridge here in Tucson and only discovered in Texas. She explained to the News 4 Tucson Investigators how she arrived at that conclusion.

"It's virtually impossible to scale up the smooth surface that's of metal to get up to the top especially at 10:30 at night," she said pointing up at a passing line of double-stacked containers like the one Bethany's body was found on.

Union Pacific railroad employees confirmed these double-stacked railcars don't have ladders or any other easy way to climb to the top. The only other way to get to the top of the train is to jump nearly 20 feet down on top of it.

Or, be pushed.

They also say this 22nd Street bridge is one of the only bridges in Tucson that are not covered to prevent people from falling or jumping.

"It was freezing cold that night. She wouldn't have come here. Somebody had to have brought her here," Noreene said.

Bethany's last known days started March 15. She had a troubled past, with some issues with the law, substance abuse and suffered from bipolar depression. Noreene has asked about her daughter's last night at the motel near the interstate about two miles from the bridge where her daughter had stayed.

"The last thing she said, she left a message on my answering machine. She said, "Mom, I love you. Can you come and pick me up?'"

Noreene went to the hotel looking for her, and tried to reach her by cell but Bethany never called her back.

It wasn't until March 17 that she heard what had happened.

"That's when I found out Monday when they came and told me that she was dead," she said.

But the case is confusing. And that's frustrating to Noreene. The Mesquite Police Department ruled the case cleared because there is no evidence a crime occurred. An official there said Bethany's body was seen on the train on railroad surveillance cameras and her body had not moved since the train left Arizona. Records show a train left at about 10:35 p.m., March 15. So it's clear to police there that Bethany died somewhere between Tucson and the New Mexico border.

According to the Tucson Police Department, there is no evidence a crime occurred here either.

"Unfortunately when we're looking at days in the past, there's a few days at least in between where no one had seen her. There's weather elements that we're unsure of. Although they did check the underpasses where the train goes through, it's just hard to say whether there's something there or no. Detectives didn't locate anything. But we just don't know," said police spokesman Sgt. Peter Duggan.

Meanwhile, Noreene has turned to the community for help. And not just in the search, but for the 4 and 8-year old children Bethany leaves behind.

"If you don't get help, you don't heal," said Linda Hardy, program manager for Tu Nidito Children and Family Services.

"Being able to go on and integrate this experience into the fabric of their whole life and be healthy adults eventually. That doesn't happen without support," Hardy said.

Even though Bethany may be gone, the bond she has with her mother will never be broken. That's why Noreene will not stop looking for the truth.

If you have a story for News 4 Tucson Investigators, call 520 955-4444 or email us at investigators@kvoa.com.

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