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The Evil That Lurks: Listen to episode 9 of "A Better Search for Barbara"

Forty years since Barbara Louise Cotton went missing, the Williston Police Department has identified at least three persons of interest. One of them is Frank J. Delapena. He was living in Williston when Barbara disappeared and, a month later, he abducted and murdered two young girls in Wyoming. In episode nine of Dakota Spotlight's "A Better Search for Barbara," host James Wolner looks closer at Frank J. Delapena.

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Frank J. Delapena lived in Williston in April of 1981 when Barbara Louise Cotton went missing. A month after Barbara's disappearance, he was apprehended in Colorado, charged with the murders of two young girls in Wyoming. He hung himself in jail soon after his arrest. He is considered a person of interest in Barbara Cotton's disappearance. May 12, 1981 / Lincoln County Sheriff's department, Hugo Colorado.
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Barbara Louise Cotton disappeared from Williston, N.D., on April 11, 1981. She was reportedly last seen walking towards her home after having dinner with her boyfriend and another friend. Barbara, 15, never arrived at her destination and has never been seen or heard from again. Her case is considered open and unsolved. Dakota Spotlight's podcast series, "A Better Search for Barbara" explores and investigates this cryptic cold case from North Dakota's northwest corner.


"Don't give up. There are people out there who care, who are praying for a resolution."

Andre Johnson - cold case advocate and childhood friend of Delapena's victims


In Episode 9, James Wolner looks closer at one of several persons of interest in Barbara's disappearance: Frank J. Delapena.

Delapena was living in Williston , N.D. when Barbara Cotton vanished. One month later, he murdered two young girls in Rawlins, Wyo. He was quickly apprehended but took his own life in a Colorado jail cell.

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Podcast host James Wolner traces Delapena's movement between Williston, N.D. and Rawlins, Wyo . and interviews missing persons advocate Andre Johnson . A childhood friend of Delapena's victims, Johnson shares her own memories of how Delapena's crimes affected her and the community of Rawlins, Wyo.

Listen to Episode 9

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Listen here to the podcast or anywhere podcasts are found ( Spotify , Apple , Google Podcasts , Stitcher etc.)

RELATED

Information about Missing Kids
True Crime podcasts BY JAMES WOLNER

RELATED Podcast homepage | Newsletter | Season 3 videos | Season 2: 1976 Zick murders | jwolner@forumcomm.com

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Missing person Barbara Cotton was declared legally deceased in 1998. When her much older brother Frank passed away in 1999, Barbara's mother decided to include Barbara on a headstone alongside her brother. In March of 2021, Williston PD identified Frank as a person of interest in Barbara's disappearance.

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Missing person Barbara Cotton was declared legally deceased in 1998. When her much older brother Frank passed away in 1999, Barbara's mother decided to include Barbara on a headstone alongside her brother. In March of 2021, Williston PD identified Frank as a person of interest in Barbara's disappearance.

James Wolner is a Digital Content Producer at Forum Communications Company, Fargo North Dakota and the creator, producer and host of Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast. He has lived the Upper Midwest since 2013 and studied photojournalism at California State University at Fresno. He is fluent in English and Swedish.
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