‘On the Case With Paula Zahn: Follow the Blood’ on Investigation Discovery tells the story of the horrible murder of Nancy Bennallack, 28, a court reporter, in her apartment in Sacramento County, California, in October 1970. Before the authorities in Sacramento solved the oldest homicide case in late 2019, the case remained unsolved for over 50 years. We have all the information you need if you’re curious to learn more about the case, including who the criminal is. So let’s get started, shall we?
How Did Nancy Bennallack Die?
On June 13, 1942, Nancy Marie Bennallack was born in Nevada, San Bernardino County, California, to parents Brian Addison Bennallack and Elaine Laverne Kessler Rossie. In Arden Way and Bell Avenue in Sacramento County, the 28-year-old court reporter reportedly lived alone in an upstairs flat. On October 26, 1970, a coworker contacted Nancy’s son to check on her at her flat after she failed to arrive for work. The friend’s kid went to the flat building, rang the bell and knocked on the door many times but got no answer.
He then asked the flat management for help, and together they used a passkey to unlock the door. When the two people entered the house and discovered Nancy’s body lying in her own blood, they gasped at the cruelty. She suffered almost 30 stab wounds and was almost beheaded. She had numerous defensive wounds on her hands and arms, showing that she struggled for survival. Investigators descended on the crime scene as soon as the police launched their investigation into the homicide.
Who Killed Nancy Bennallack?
When the police arrived and started investigating the area, they discovered a blood trail that started on the balcony and wound around the apartment complex buildings before finishing in the parking lot. Investigators found that the suspect injured himself while committing the crime and may have driven away from the site. The top public defender Farris N. Salamy, her fiancé, was the last person to see her alive, they learnt. Before her horrifying demise, she had spent the entire evening with him.
The two were reportedly planning to wed on November 28th, 1970. Farris departed Nancy’s flat for his own home at around 11:30 p.m. She was in bed and the sliding glass door, which led to the balcony on the second floor, was slightly ajar when he left the Bell Street flat, he recalled telling detectives at the time. The scenario put up by the detectives was that between 11:30 p.m. on October 25 and the early hours of October 26, Nacy was being attacked while she slept in her bed.
Micki Links, a former sergeant with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, claimed that the suspect entered her apartment by scaling the balcony of the second level and going through the open slider. Before entering her apartment, the man climbed over the balcony while wearing tape on his fingers. The detectives conjectured that Nancy might have awakened and fought valiantly before giving in to the furious attack. The police had little doubt that a young man had committed the murder given the circumstances surrounding it and the evidence found at the scene.
One of the detectives indicated that the murderer had to be quick to scale a fence to reach Nancy’s second-floor apartment’s balcony before jumping off to leave. The detective went on to say that Nancy’s cuts on her hands indicated she grasped the murder weapon while fending off her assailant, but police did not discover it in her flat. According to sources, the detectives’ initial hypothesis was that the assailant must have left the scene by car after killing Nancy.
The investigators conducted a comprehensive investigation and questioned nearly 500 neighbours and residents of Nancy’s complex, but they were unable to uncover any leads or suspects. For over three decades, the case went cold. The police created a DNA profile from the blood samples they recovered at the site in 2004 thanks to advancements in forensic science. However, a search of the national and state CODIS databases turned up no matches to any offenders. Once more, the homicide inquiry was put on hold for more than 15 years.
After 15 years, the case was once more reopened, and in November 2019, investigators from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office started a forensic genetic genealogy study. Richard John Davis, who was 27 years old at the time of the crime and was a resident of the same apartment block as Nancy when she was killed, was named the suspect by the police on July 21, 2022. The detectives were informed by Richard’s former flatmate that David remained there until 1974 or 1975.
Is Richard John Davis Dead?
“We have a relative who was kind enough to submit their DNA,” Detective Micky Links said. He is our suspect, and we were able to confirm that. Old police reports claim that in October 1970, Richard and his flatmate verified each other’s alibis. There was no evidence, according to Micky, that the detectives noticed a wound on Richard’s hands or arms during the 1970 interrogation. Although there was a reported DUI arrest, he had no prior violent arrests. On November 2, 1997, he passed away at the age of 54 from complications related to his drinking.
The detectives were allegedly unsure of the motivation, however Richard reportedly resided across from Nancy’s apartment building’s pool and had a clear view of her. But it was all speculation on their part, they believed she rejected his advances because he may have been drawn to her. But plainly, he wanted to act as he did that day, Micky said. To hide his fingerprints, he taped masking tape to each finger. If he were still alive, we would be discussing a deliberate homicide.
Linda and Tom, I hope this provides you, Nancy, and your family some peace. Micky also addressed Nancy’s family, saying, “Sorry, there won’t be any sort of judicial justice since Richard Davis is dead. Farris N. Salamy, Nancy’s former fiancé, passed away from leukaemia on February 2, 2014, at the age of 84. Linda Cox, who is responsible for Nancy, commended the authorities for solving the case and added, “Honestly, I was almost giving up ever solving Nancy’s case.”
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