One year after the bullet-riddled bodies of two girls were found in a ditch in the small town of Weleetka, Okla., police still haven't figured out a motive for the killings and today pleaded with the public to help them find the killer.
Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and her best friend, 11-year-old Skyla Jade Whitaker, were shot to death while walking to one of their homes for a sleepover, one year ago today.
"We are one piece of information away from making an arrest," said Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown. "We plead to them today to come forward."
On the grim anniversary of the girls' deaths, family members, teachers and classmates handed out ribbons, while some wore T-shirts with images of the girls' smiling faces, The Associated Press reported.
A year ago, police were on the hunt for a male Native American with a white, single cab Chevy or Ford pickup with a chrome strip running down the side and Oklahoma plates.
Witnesses said the man was standing on the side of the road, blocking traffic, forcing cars to pull around the truck. This was the very same day and the same spot where the girls were found fatally shot.
"Several people came forward who drove by this person," Brown told ABC News. "He was actually standing in the middle of the road and his pickup was parked in the middle of the road. That raised some eyebrows."
Paschel-Placker and Whitaker had each been shot multiple times in the head and chest as they took a walk along a dirt road near Taylor's house. Their bodies were found in a ditch on the side of the road.
Joe Mosher, identified by ABC News' Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO as Taylor's uncle, described his 13-year-old niece as a girl who did not have an enemy in the world.
"She got along with everyone," Mosher said. "She didn't have an enemy in this world. People who never met her fell in love with her."
Ofuskee County Sheriff Jack Choate said that investigators believe whoever is responsible for the murders likely had knowledge of the area where the girls were killed. The dirt road is near a busy highway overpass known as a spot where trash is often illegally dumped.
The bodies of the girls, wearing shorts and T-shirts, were found by Peter Placker, Taylor's grandfather and legal custodian. He went looking for the girls after one of them failed to pick up a call on her cell phone that evening.
Authorities announced that two different guns were used in the killings, a discovery that lead to speculation by police that more than one person may have been responsible.
The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case has reached $30,000.
A variety of scenarios have been introduced. The girls may have known the killer or killers and were fleeing when they were shot; they could have been surprised; they also could have stumbled upon something that the killer did not want anyone to see.
"They were the best and I'm not just saying that because they are gone," Wanda Mankin, the girls' principal and school counselor, told ABC News. Taylor was a new student last fall at the local K-12 school, which had very small classes.
Taylor and her grandparents, who are also her legal guardians, had moved to the small town of Weleetka, population 1,014, from Oklahoma City to escape the city's dangers.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation estimated more than 7,500 man hours have been logged trying to solve the killing, including 450 interviews conducted, 50 court orders and subpoenas and 600 items submitted for testing.
"We are sure that this case will be solved," Brown said. "We hope it will be tomorrow."
Since authorities still maintain the shooter or shooters were familiar with the isolated area, William Whitaker, Skyla's father, told the AP that it pains him to think he may have walked by the culprit at the grocery store in the small town.
"It's a day to day thing getting through the last year," said Whitaker "Some days are a little bit easier than others, some of them, you just don't even want to go forward."