Valerie Pride and her two children, Shontia and Duana, were murdered inside their home in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 35 years ago.
At around 9 p.m. on Sept. 6, 1983, Valerie, 24, was at her Spanish-style home in the 1500 block of E. Ardmore, talking on the phone with a friend, when she heard a knock.
Valerie told her friend that she was going to hang up the phone so that she could answer the door.
A short while later, a neighbor heard a commotion that sounded like an argument or a fight, but they did not see anyone leave or enter the house, according to the Arizona Republic.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Valerie’s boyfriend arrived home from the hospital, where his 9-year-old daughter had been pronounced dead six hours earlier. She drowned after having an epileptic seizure while taking a bath at her house, located in the 500 block of West Desert Drive.
Upon entering the house, he began to scream. The neighbor heard his screams and immediately called 911.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found Valerie Pride and her two daughters dead.
Shontia, 8, who attended Sierra Vista Grade School, and her 4-year-old sister, Duana, were clad in their pajamas when their bodies were found in the living room area of the home.
Valerie was found in the kitchen.
According to United Press International, the girls’ biological father arrived on the scene at 11 p.m. and had to be “restrained in handcuffs” after becoming “hysterical.”
An autopsy revealed that each member of the Pride family had been stabbed multiple times and that one of the girls’ bodies had been mutilated during the attack, according to a report.
They were not sexually assaulted.
Following a police investigation, it was determined that Valerie may have known her assailant, as there was no sign of forced entry.
They also concluded that after the killing, the suspect fled the scene through the back door and jumped over a wooden fence, leaving a trail of blood behind.
Two years later, a knife was located in a neighbor’s yard, but police could not determine if that was the weapon used in the killing.
They have yet to find the murder weapon or a motive.
The motive for the killing is unknown, but investigators have stated that it did not appear to be a robbery.
According to a police spokesperson, the police department has heard rumors that there may have been “some revenge aspect to it… against Valerie’s boyfriend.”
A little less than a month after the slaying, police took into custody a 14-year-old high school student who was a relative of Valerie’s boyfriend’s daughter.
He was detained at the Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Center for questioning, but no other information has been provided since then.
At the time of her death, Valerie was the first black female electrician working at the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant, which was a “remarkable accomplishment for her at that time,” said the Arizona police sergeant.
She attended South Mountain High School and Arizona State University and was in the last year of a four-year apprentice program co-sponsored by Local 640.
KTAR News reported that Valerie had “five sisters and one brother,” and she “loved to rollerblade and spend time with her friends and kids.”
The following year, in April, detectives continued their investigation, canvassing the neighborhood and questioning friends and relatives of the victims, but they have yet to find a suspect.
Anyone with information about the unsolved murders of Valerie Pride and her two daughters, Shontia and Duana, is asked to call the Silent Witness at (480) 948-6377 or 1-800-343-TIPS.
Tipsters can also leave an anonymous tip on their website, silentwitness.org.