Thirteen Years Later, Two Unique Attempts to Solve Amber Hagerman's Murder

The cold case of Amber Hagerman -- the 9-year-old who was kidnapped and found dead in a creek bed near her grandparents' house in Arlington 13 years ago, and whose case started the Amber Alert program -- was officially reopened yesterday at a press event at Hagerman's mother's home in Hurst. But the announcement that Atlanta-based Cold Case Investigative Research Institute would be attempting to find Donna Norris's daughter's killer was tied to another: the release of a comic book by a 14-year-old from Fort Worth, who has put a hero called Night Owl on the case. (Three pages of the book are after the jump.)

The press conference -- held beneath a shade tree in front of Norris's home, and attended by Norris, comic creator Jake Tinsley and Sheryl McCollum, the director of CCIRI -- was a sort of surreal event well attended by local media, who made as much of Tinsley's comic-book prowess as the resurrected search for Amber's killer. Jake, son of a former newspaperman, didn't seem too overwhelmed: "I hope the sick freak who did this gets caught," he told reporters.

This is Tinsley's sixth comic book, but the only one based on fact. The others are mostly "hilarious," but he wanted to try and help out the students at Bauder College in Atlanta, where the institute's based.

Norris was asked if she thought the comic book or the students in Atlanta would help solve her daughter's case. "I think it's going to be a unique way of solving her case," she said. After the 15-minute conference ended, reporters stayed to photograph the young Tinsley. Standing alone near her garage smoking a cigarette, Norris said that sometimes she wishes this whole thing would just be over with already and that the press would go away. But then her daughter's case still has not been solved, and she still can't understand why anybody would do that to a girl.

"She would have been 21 years old now," Norris said, her blue eyes staring down the street.

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