The 15-year-old was murdered in January 1992. She was headed to school during the early morning hours, but she never arrived.
After 30 years, Salt Lake City Police have yet to make an arrest and hope new information being released will solve the teen’s murder.
“My theory is there was so much drug activity going on in the house that people in [house number] 59 had to be aware of it,” said Cordon Parks, the department’s cold case detective.
House number 59 was where Grabher lived with her mother and partner. Behind their home was house #63, both located on 800 West.
Back in 1992, a police SWAT team busted its tenants for drugs.
“There was a lot of drug activity here and it was so close from the proximity of where Debbie was living,” said Lt. Michael Ruff. “We certainly would like to know what that relationship was.”
It may be why Grabher was murdered as she headed to West High School. She is listed as 6’4” and 125 pounds on the police website for missing persons. Parks said she wanted to be a fashion model.
“It was a vicious attack,” said Parks. “It’s very sad. She had plans for her future.”
In a 2019 interview with the Justice Files, her mother, Cindi Scherer, said that her daughter had been dumped.
“In the lot near our house,” Scherer said. “It’s just so shocking that I just want to cry.”
She said the body of her daughter was wrapped in a blanket and found a day after she went missing.
“This was no accident,” the mother said. “I don’t know if they actually meant to kill her, but I can’t give any other reason you would kidnap someone, tie them up, cover their eyes.” Police confirmed that her body was wrapped but would not disclose the cause of death.
Thirty years later, the area where police found Grabher’s body is now vacant.
“Two individuals actually saw a male pushing a shopping cart with a large bundle in it,” said Lt. Ruff. “It tipped over. It was very icy.”
The man, described as white male with dark long hair and a green army coat, walked back in the direction of where Grabher lived on 59 South and 800 West.
Police said he is on the top of their list of suspects. For the first time, police are now revealing he may have left something at the crime scene.
“We found some biological forensic evidence that was found and we’re currently in the process of processing it at a lab to see if it will take us anywhere,” said Lt. Ruff.
Scherer’s partner Catherine Wood and Wood’s former husband were questioned, but the police cleared them and Scherer of any involvement.
In Grabher’s journal, detectives said she was infatuated with an older man who recently moved into the neighborhood, but he was never located, and police are not sure if he had anything to do with the murder.
More than likely, detectives believe the answer is with the people at the drug house in 1992.
“Here we are, 30 years later, and we still don’t have a lot to go on,” said Lt. Ruff. “That’s one of the reasons that we’re here today. We’re hoping somebody knows something up here and I am sure somebody does.”
Parks said the evidence found at the scene is now at a forensic lab.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Salt Lake City Police.