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Missing: Rachel Trlica, Lisa Wilson and Julie Moseley

by Marc Hoover 11 months ago in investigation

What happened to these missing friends?

On December 23, 1974, a married teenager named Rachel Trlica, 17, and her friend Lisa Wilson, 14, had planned a shopping trip. The Fort Worth, Texas, teenagers first stopped at a local store to get some items out of layaway. Julie Moseley, a nine-year-old neighbor who knew Wilson, asked if she could go. The teenagers told Julie to ask her parents for permission. Julie’s mother allowed her to go to the mall with Lisa and Rachel.

The young trio left before noon. After picking up the lay away items, the young women drove to a local mall. Rachel parked her car near Sears. What happened after the trio arrived at the mall remains a mystery nearly 50 years later. When the trio failed to make it back home before dark, the authorities were contacted.

The day after the girls disappeared, Thomas Trlica, Rachel’s husband, received a letter in his mailbox from someone who claimed to be Rachel. The letter stated that Rachel parked her car near Sears and planned on leaving town. Thomas and Rachel’s parents studied the handwriting and knew Rachel didn’t write the letter. The handwriting looked childlike.

The police examined the letter and never figured out who wrote it.

Three friends vanished from a Texas mall

Per the letter, Rachel’s car remained parked near Sears with gifts still inside. But Rachel, Lisa and Julie weren’t with the car. During the investigation, witnesses told the police they had seen the girls inside the mall. However, one witness claimed she saw someone forcing three women into a pickup truck. Another witness came forward in 1981 and said he saw a woman being forced into a van. After approaching the van, an unknown man told the witness to mind his own business and leave.

Another witness claimed to have seen the girls sitting inside the vehicle of a mall security guard. Fort Worth police located the security guard, who denied having anything to do with the missing women.

None of the witness statements ever led to any significant breaks in the case. Were the eyewitnesses credible or did they misidentify the women? Today, this case still remains unsolved. Frustrated by a lack of police progress, a private investigator named Joe Swaim was hired to find the missing women. After he died in 1979, his case files and documentation were destroyed. It’s unknown if he ever found out anything significant. Moreover, psychics and crackpots have also given unconfirmed tips to the police.

Over the years, the police aren’t any closer to finding out what happened to Rachel, Lisa or Julie. However, there have been accusations that Rachel’s sister Debra hasn’t been truthful. Rusty Arnold, who is Debra and Rachel’s brother, suspected that Debra wrote the letter that arrived in Thomas Trlica’s mailbox. Debra was previously in a relationship with Thomas Trlica before he married Rachel. Debra has said her relationship with Thomas wasn’t serious and she had no animosity towards her younger sister.

In 2000, Debra gave a statement to a local newspaper that she had nothing to do with the disappearance of the trio. In response to her statement, Rusty and family of Julie and Lisa asked Debra to cooperate with the Fort Worth police and the FBI. They also asked Debra to take a polygraph test. Rusty has said the police didn’t take any fingerprints or check the car for any evidence until a year after his sister vanished. He said the police treated his sister and her two friends as runaways instead of crime victims.

The mall was likely busy since it was two days before Christmas. How did someone abduct three young women without anyone noticing? Did a random stranger take the girls? Or did they leave with an acquaintance? Most likely, all three victims are deceased. The case is still open and needs to be solved. If anyone has any information about this case, they should contact the Fort Worth Police Department at 817-877-8345.


Marc Hoover

Marc Hoover is a Hooper award winning columnist for the Clermont Sun newspaper in Ohio. Contact him at or through Facebook: Marc also has a podcast called Catch my Killer.

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