The Murder of Tracey Kirkpatrick

On March 15, 1989, high school senior, Tracy Kirkpatrick was closing the store for her part time job at aileen's Ladie's Sportswear in Frederick, Maryland. That night would change her family forever. 

Tracy Kirkpatrick was an intelligent young woman who was a hard worker. At the time, she was working two part time jobs to save money for college. She was trying to ease the burden on her parents as much as she could. Tracey's siblings adored her. Her youngest sister remembers how she would play loud music in the car while driving around. 


Tracey was closing the store alone the night she was murdered. She was last seen alive around 8:45 pm and the store closed at 9 pm. 

The security guard for the shopping center, Don Barnes Jr, noticed that the lights were still on at almost 11 pm. Barnes was an off duty Frederick County Sheriff's Deputy who took a second job as a security guard. He entered the store calling out for anyone but did not get an answer. He preceeded to the back room where he found Tracy on the floor. 

Around the same time frame, Tracy's parents had become worried that she had not made it home yet. They decided to head to aileen's to see if she was still there. They arrived on the scene to find the polic already there.

Tracy was viciously stabbed and the motive had to have been personal. She was not sexually assaulted and no money was taken from the store. Police quickly determined that she had to have known her attacker. 

Don and Sean

A few months after her murder, a man who identified himself as "Don" called and made a confession to a hotline. The call came from outside a supermarket in Frederick, Maryland. This confession hotline charged the caller per minute to record the confession and then also charged others to listen to the confession

The caller stated: 

"Hello, my name is Don and I'm calling from Frederick, Maryland. I know this is going to sound surprising, but three months ago, I stabbed a girl to death and you might think in making this tape, that I am setting myself to be caught, but there are a lot of guys named Don in Frederick. The girl I killed was working in a ladies sportswear store. I often came by and talked to her when she was working alone, and one night when she was in the storeroom and we were talking, our conversation turned into an argument. And so I took out a knife I have on me at all times, and I killed her. And a few days later, I realized I had created a lot of sadness, and I thought about turning myself in to the police. But whatever they do to me, that won't bring Tracy back. So, I've decided that I better keep free because we have the death penalty in Maryland. Thanks for listening."

After receiving the recording from the hotline, Police went to four local radio stations in Frederick and asked them to play the recording. They were hoping that someone would recognize the voice. Within two hours, police received a call saying that they knew exactly who the caller was. 

In October, psychic Martha Woodsmith told police that she had been in contact with a man who identified himself as Sean. He was repeatedly reaching out to her and talking about Tracy's murder. She said that he was obsessed with it. He eventually sent her some articles on the murder. Then the voice in the confession on the radio was another clue that something was off with Sean. It was his voice. Martha provided police with the envelope and that was used to track him down. Police have never publicly stated his true identity and he has never cooperated pleading the fifth. Police eventually cleared him of any involvement but I haven't found anything that says how. 

30 Years Later

Tracey Kirkpatrick's family has never lost hope that her case can be solved. They hold vigils and do all they can to keep her case alive. Tracy's mother claims that her case was mishandled from the beginning. The investigation was essentially botched. Evidence was collected or preserved properly. Despite this devastating truth, she states that at least the Frederick Police "learned something" from the case.

If you have any information regarding the murder of Tracy Kirkpatrick, please call the Frederick Police Department at 301-600-6219.



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