Gail Webster was reportedly killed at her apartment in the 2900 block of Dorchester Drive in October 1978.

Gail Webster was reportedly killed at her apartment in the 2900 block of Dorchester Drive in October 1978.

Photo provided by the Troy Police Department


Over 40 years later, Troy police still seek answers to homicide case

By: Eric Czarnik | Troy Times | Published October 21, 2020

 Police say they are looking for additional clues related to the unsolved murder.

Police say they are looking for additional clues related to the unsolved murder.

Photo provided by the Troy Police Department

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TROY — Troy police are taking a fresh look at an unsolved murder mystery that’s more than four decades old, and they are seeking the public’s help to uncover new clues or information.

In early October, the Troy Police Department revealed the summary of an old investigation concerning the death of Gail Webster. They reported that Webster, then 48, was found dead early in the morning of Oct. 28, 1978, at her Troy apartment, in the 2900 block of Dorchester Drive, near Maple Road and Coolidge Highway.

She was reportedly alone when someone beat her head with a blunt weapon, leading to her death, police said. Police said there was no obvious evidence of Webster being sexually assaulted. The culprit or culprits didn’t appear to break into the home or steal anything, police added.

Investigators said that Webster had no criminal history, and police long ago determined through polygraphs and other methods that a boyfriend, an ex-boyfriend and an ex-husband — as well as relatives, neighbors and coworkers — weren’t responsible.

Police have examined what Webster and her daughter, Terry, saw and did during the month leading up to the homicide.

Terry, who was then 25 and lived with her mom, reportedly visited the former bar Piper’s Alley, 3250 W. Big Beaver Road, Oct. 2. While Terry was at the bar, someone broke into her car and stole the keys to her apartment, investigators said.

Terry reportedly remembered that a suspicious vehicle had been lurking in the bar’s parking lot that night. She recalled a rusty, damaged blue or green vehicle, like a Pontiac Tempest or a Chevrolet, made in 1968-1970, police said. Two white males were reportedly inside it. Terry reportedly saw that same car early in the morning along Dorchester, adding that the vehicle’s driver had blond hair.

That same night, Oct. 2, Webster was at home and reportedly heard someone fidgeting with the apartment door’s handle, police said. She reportedly yelled in reaction, and the person was gone before anyone could get a glance at who it was.

Days after Webster was killed Oct. 28, police said, officers reportedly got an additional tip. Someone reportedly had spotted a dark blue vehicle in the vicinity around 40 minutes prior to the homicide, and the description was similar to the description of the vehicle Terry had seen. The tipster said the driver appeared to be a white man who was 6 feet tall, 160 pounds and 25 years old. He had black curly hair and sported an Army-style jacket.

Police are still looking for more information as to who stole Terry’s keys, as well as the identity of whoever was driving the suspicious vehicle. Police said they plan to pursue new investigative methods in the case, such as lab analysis.

When asked Oct. 19 whether the police request for new information resulted in any additional tips, Troy police spokeswoman Meghan Lehman said the search is ongoing.

“Regarding the murder of Gail Webster, we continue to receive information and work on follow up investigations,” she said in an email. “We are committed to resolving this case and urge anyone with information to come forward.”

Webster’s family could not be reached for comment.

Anyone who has more information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Troy Police Department by calling its anonymous tip line at  (248) 524-0777.

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