Investigation Discovery is examining the murder of two teenage friends, Dawn Donaldson and Crissy Campbell, who were both killed by Sam Strange in their small Californian town of Grass Valley in 1994.
Teenager Sam Strange was eventually convicted of the crime, but he has always insisted he wasn’t the killer. He admits to disposing of the bodies but says he did so out of fear of retaliation from the real killers.
When two best friends Dawn and Chrissy initially vanished on July 23, 1994, the authorities initially treated the case as a missing persons, and some speculated the two sixteen-year-olds might have run away. Tragically their remains were discovered two weeks later.
Dawn and Chrissy were identified through their DNA, and this small community began to register that there was a killer in their midst. Some wondered if there was a murderer targeting hikers, while others speculated that a satanic cult was operating in the area.
Sam Strange became suspect number one
The cops soon got a break when they learned that the girls had last been seen at the house of Sam Strange. Eventually, the teenage Strange admitted that he had disposed of the girls’ bodies and had cleaned up the crime scene, and he said he was present when they died but that he hadn’t murdered them.
Strange claimed the two actual killers were two of his buddies called Allen Pettus and Dameon Graham. He said he covered up the murders at his house because of a sense of loyalty to his friends and because he was afraid of them. He also didn’t want his parents to find out what had happened.
However, the police found no evidence to suggest Pettus and Graham had been involved, and the prosecutors later argued that everything pointed to Strange being the murderer.
Strange was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to serve two sentences of 15 years to life. However, in January 2020, the now 44-year-old Strange was released on supervised parole in Alameda County. He will remain supervised until January 2022.
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Murder in Grass Valley airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.