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Daughter relentless in pursuit of justice in mothers murder
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FRENCH CAMP — Melissa Carson was only eight when someone murdered her mother in French Camp in 1970.

Carson is continuing her relentless effort to get the answers even today as to who is responsible for the heinous act that left her mother to die off the side of a rural road.

The murder investigation has remained in the Sheriff’s unsolved cold case files until recently when detectives began once again to look for leads of who killed 32-year-old Phyllis O’Brien Carson near Yettner Road. It is some five miles from where she was abducted in the heart of French Camp. She is believed to have been raped and then killed.

“We have come to a dead end.  The only way we can solve this is to have somebody come in with information they still remember,” she said.

Melissa was the oldest of her siblings – one brother and one sister – with the youngest only two.  She did have one half-sister who was 13 at the time, she said.  Her dad has since died at the age of 92.

Her mother – a native of Newfoundland – was reported missing on Oct.27.  Her badly decomposed body was not found until Nov. 21 by two pheasant hunters.  

“We knew it was her by her dental records,” she said. “My focus is to try and get the word out to anyone who might remember something.  Many people from French Camp who were around at that time are still there.  I hope somebody has a recollection.”

Melissa is working with Sheriff’s Sgt. Shandra Bassett hoping that together they can learn more about her mother’s death.  Now 47, she said she had seen the murder report years ago when the case was in limbo, but she’s is not allowed to see it now since the case has been reopened.

The Manteca woman has created a Facebook page in her mother’s name – Phyllis O’Brien Carson – and is asking family members and friends to post any photographs they might have of her mother or information that would help in solving the 42-yer-old crime.

Anyone with knowledge of the killing is urged to call the Sheriff’s Department in Stockton and ask for detective Sgt. Bassett.