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Crime News Cold Justice

What To Know About The Brutal Murder Of A Texas Teen Before ‘Cold Justice’ Returns

In a new episode of "Cold Justice," Kelly Siegler and her team of investigators travel to Texas to look into the murder of Natasha Atchley.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

Working with local law enforcement, “Cold Justice” investigators have helped bring about 22 convictions and 56 arrests while looking into unsolved homicides across the U.S.

How to Watch

Watch Cold Justice on Peacock and the Oxygen App.

“Cold Justice” returns for new episodes on Saturday, February 25 at 8/7c on Oxygen, and veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler is working a case in East Texas with Steve Spingola, one of a rotating roster of investigators. They're looking into the brutal 1992 murder of a popular teen, which has been on Siegler’s radar for more than 30 years.

Before the series returns, we get you up to speed on the homicide in San Jacinto County, Texas. 

Who is the victim?

Natasha Atchley, 19, attended school in Livingston, Texas, before she moved and graduated from Odessa Permian High School in 1990, according to Texas Department of Public SafetyShe was “popular and pretty” and “always attracted attention,” reported khou.com in 2017. “

"She was a cheerleader, she just was wild and she loved to have a good time,” her friend Keisha Myers said in the report. 

On May 2, 1992, Natasha was last seen at a friend’s party in Shepherd, Texas. It was a late-night affair, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Then, she vanished. 

When was the crime discovered?

Early in the morning of May 3, 1992, Natasha’s family reported her missing, reported nbcnews.com.

RELATED: 'Is This The Kind Of Case We Can Solve?' How The 'Cold Justice' Team Picks Cases

Natasha’s car was found later that day a mile away from where the party was held. Her charred body was found inside the trunk of the Chevy Camaro. It had been “burned to bones,” khou.com reported.

“Once you’ve seen your sister's burned remains, it’s something that just stays with you forever,” Natasha’s brother, Chad Woodard, told "Dateline," according to NBC News.

What clues and leads were found?

An accelerant — drip gas — had been used to fuel the fire.

“Drip gas is something you can get out of the oil well, if you know what you’re doing,” San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tom Branch told "Dateline," according to NBC News. “But not everyone does. I think it narrows down suspects somewhat.” 

Detectives questioned people at the party and in the area. They also inspected vehicles during the course of the case. But despite the drip gas clue, interviews, searches, and cash rewards offered by Natasha’s family and friends, the case stayed unsolved.

Did suspects emerge?

Early on in the case, two people were arrested based on a witness who claimed he saw them beat up Natasha. When the witness recanted his story, the case was back to square one.

To learn more about this case and what Siegler and Spingola turn up, watch “Cold Justice” on Saturday, February at 8/7c on Oxygen. You can stream past episodes here.

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