Whitney Murphy – 2014

Cassia Woman’s Homicide Still Under Investigation

LAURIE WELCH lwelch@magicvalley.com Nov 5, 2014

Source: Magic Valley Times

DECLO • The Oct. 26 shooting death of a Declo woman is being investigated as a homicide in conjunction with the shooting injury of a nearby resident.
Whitney Murphy, 26, was killed at her home at 2266 E. Yale Road in eastern Cassia County. Nearby resident Levi Bodily, 24, was shot in the back.

“We are investigating … (both shootings) as one incident even though there were two separate locations,” said Undersheriff George Warrell.

Warrell said Murphy was in her home when shot. Several people were in Bodily’s house, but only he was injured.

The 911 caller who reported Bodily’s shooting said the shooter fired through a window at his home.

Warrell said he couldn’t disclose what type of firearm was used. “I can say that this was not a random thing where someone was going door to door; it was one incident.”

Detectives “are devoting all of their time to solve this case,” he said. The Sheriff’s Office “is actively serving search warrants” and “still collecting evidence.”

Idaho State Police are assisting, and the Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office has reassigned an officer to help. The Mini-Cassia Drug Task Force has been reassigned to help, too, and a Cassia County patrol officer has been assigned to work other cases during the homicide investigation.

“We are focusing all of our energy and manpower on this case,” Warrell said.

Anyone with information should call the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office at 208-878-2251 or Crime Stoppers at 208-878-2900, where the caller can remain anonymous. Click here for article.


Aging Burley Grandmother Seeks Justice in Granddaughter’s Slaying

LAURIE WELCH lwelch@magicvalley.com Oct 21, 2015
BURLEY • Marie Benally knew something was “not right” on Oct. 26, 2014.

Her 26-year-old granddaughter, Whitney Murphy, often stopped by for grandpa’s breakfast biscuits. She also popped in often just to joke with her grandparents and spend time. She doted on them.

But that day, instead of a receiving a visit from her granddaughter, Benally looked out the window and saw her at her brother’s house next door.

“Then all of a sudden I saw her driving down the road. I told my husband ‘Maybe she has something on her mind,’” Benally said, as tears crept into the corners of her eyes. “I didn’t know that would be the last time I would ever see her.”

Later that day, Murphy was shot to death at her home east of Declo. Nearly a year later, no charges have been filed. But police say they have a suspect, though they declined to identify him.

For Benally, it couldn’t come soon enough. For months, she’s hounded police and prosecutors for updates on the investigation. She set up a reward account for information leading to a conviction. The grandmother wants just one thing before her own death: justice for her murdered granddaughter.

“My health is getting worse, but before I leave this world I want to know who did this to her,” Benally said. “I want to hear they caught the person that did this.”

A Joyful Spirit Extinguished
Even as a child, Murphy radiated a compassionate and joyful spirit. She loved shopping with her grandmother and raiding zucchini from her grandfather’s garden, a beautiful smile ever present on her face.

Murphy especially loved God, Benally said. She taught Sunday school and sang at her church. Everyone who knew her commented on what a sweet person she was, Benally said.

She was taking music lessons, and two weeks before she died she asked her grandmother for the piano that still sits in Benally’s living room. The silent instrument remains as an aching reminder of all of her granddaughter’s unfulfilled hopes and dreams.

Murphy loved children, and with none of her own she showered her nieces, nephews and stepson with kindness.

“She was the best aunt anyone could ask for,” said her brother, Kale Satterwhite. “She treated my daughter as her own and would spoil her every Sunday by taking her shopping, which I’m now seeing the effects of.”

Her nickname was “One Feather,” he said, and she had a heart of gold.

“She was that person that would be there in a heartbeat, no questions asked. I still to this day catch myself wanting to call her because I need that shoulder to lean on,” Satterwhite said.

A Quest for Justice
When Murphy’s mother called Benally to tell her the news that she had been killed, Benally screamed and her legs gave out.

“I wanted to die,” she said.

Despite Benally’s relentless calls, police have disclosed few details.

Murphy stopped for groceries before heading to her home at 2266 E. Yale Road, where she lived with her husband, Jim Murphy, and Ryker, her stepson. The family lost track of Jim Murphy shortly after the death. The Times-News was not able to find him for comment, and he did not respond to interview requests through Facebook.

The family was never close with Murphy’s husband. Benally said she had not met Jim Murphy prior to them marrying in 2010.

“I think the police are the only ones who know where he is now,” Benally said.

Murphy was killed inside her home. In what police suspect was a related incident the same evening, someone shot through a window at Levi Bodily’s home, hitting him in the back. Bodily’s residence was near Murphy’s on the rural farm.

“There was no rhyme or reason for why her life was taken in the fashion that it was,” Satterwhite said. “It was not deserved, and I pray to God that answers come soon.”

For Murphy’s family, those prayers may be answered soon.

Investigators have zeroed in on a suspect, and several months ago they turned over their case files to the county prosecutor, said Cassia County Sheriff’s Detective Kevin Horak.

“I can’t disclose who the suspect is,” Horak said.

Cassia County Prosecutor Doug Abenroth confirmed his office had the case files but declined to name the suspect or whether he is considering charges. “That’s really all that I can say,” Abenroth said.

But the investigation isn’t over. As time goes on, criminals will often talk about their crimes to someone, Horak said. He urges anyone who has heard about the crime to contact investigators.

“It’s not uncommon for a suspect to do that,” Horak said, “and if anyone has information they need to come forward and help give Whitney justice and her family closure.”

For now, the family will wait.

The Call that Never Came
Benally still misses her granddaughter more than ever. She thinks of her often.

On Benally’s birthday, the first call of congratulations always came from Murphy. This year was different.

“On Sept. 29, I sat here waiting for the phone to ring,” Benally said.

This year, the call didn’t come.

“I just broke down and bawled.”

Read original article here.