Almost two years to the day after Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin were ruthlessly shot execution style, arrests have finally been made in connection with the fatal attack that left Mollie dead and Kristene seriously injured. In 2012, the young women's story garnered media attention and community support on a national level.
On a summer night in a park in Portland, Texas, teen couple Kristene, then 18, and Mollie, 19, were shot with a large-caliber gun and left for dead in a heartbreaking and terrifying turn of events. Though, tragically, Mollie did not survive that night, Kristene was found nine hours later. She was placed in intensive care due to sustained traumatic brain injuries and--using sign language, pens, and paper—was able to describe her attacker for a police sketch.
In the last two years, Kristene has regained the abilities to move the left side of her body, to sit, and to stand. She continues to undergo physical rehabilitation.
David Malcolm Strickland, 27 years old, has now been charged with capital murder, aggravated assault with a weapon, and aggravated sexual assault. The role of sexual violence in the attack had not been made public until this week, after Strickland was arrested on June 20.
Laura Kimberly, Strickland's wife (both pictured above), has also been arrested for tampering with physical evidence. She is just three years older than Kristene.
The attack had never been formally considered a hate crime, though at the time the local police chief noted the case had "some of the earmarks of a targeted attack." The FBI, Department of Justice, and Texas Rangers assisted with the investigation.
"I hope that it gives them some closure knowing that this person is taken off the street," stated Gary Giles, Portland police chief. "We've been working very hard to make sure we get him as soon as possible. A series of fortunate events has led us to this point and I'm just very happy that we could help in — at least at this point — in bringing him to justice.” He added, though, "This is still an active investigation. We have a lot of evidence to still continue to process. There are still a lot of things that that we cannot release but we're confident that we do have our person."
Kristene commented on Facebook:
In an additional Facebook post, Kristene said, "Thanks everyone for the texts, messages, and calls but my family and I are just kinda in shock and just shook up. We need time to let it sink and just process the news we've waited on for two years please keep us in your prayers."
Watch the video below to learn about the evidence—including an anonymous letter—that helped police finally come up with a suspect: