Two faces that have haunted Leonard Granger for more than 40 years.
“They didn’t say a word. Oh, the tears were just running down their face, crying. And I can tell they were totally scared. They looked at me, and I just always remember that … that look, you know? Hoping I’d do something,” 84-year-old Granger said, recounting in great detail.
Granger owned a gas station in Marysville back in 1973.
He believes he was among the last to see 12- and 13-year-old best friends Doris Derryberry and Vallerie Lane alive.
Granger says the girls, along with William Harbour and Larry Patterson, arrested just this week for their murders, pulled into his gas station to fill up.
After all these years, he remembers their encounter with great detail. Both girls were in the backseat, then got out to go to the bathroom.
“But I was surprised. The two guys walk up here and stand by the door … and when they went out, they took them by the arm and went over to the passenger side in the rear, it was a four-door sedan, and they put them in the car. But, the girls were crying,” he said. “You could tell they was scared. So I asked this one girl, I says, ‘What’s wrong? Is there something I can do to help ya?’ And the guy got right up in my face and says, ‘Don’t get involved.’ He says, ‘We’re taking care of it.'”
Sensing something was wrong, Granger immediately called police once they pulled away.
“Then the next day I saw where they found those same two girls, that’d been killed. And you know it’s bothered me ever since,” Granger said.
On Thursday, Yuba County sheriff’s detectives, including Karen Howard, who reopened the case two years ago, paid a visit to Granger at his Vacaville home to show him pictures of the suspects back when they were 22.
“How big a piece of the puzzle is his portion?” FOX40 asked the detective.
“It will certainly give him as a potential witness, seeing the girls. That’s what we’re always looking for, anybody from that era that had anything to do with it, and that’s been the hardest thing, for the investigation, is trying to find people that were involved in it,” Howard said.
Solving the case after 43 years, finally gives Leonard the peace of mind he’s been without for so long.
“What a relief. When I saw that in the newspaper. After all these years,” Granger said. “I slept good last night.”
Detective Howard is set to retire after 19 years on the job.
“At least I’m going out on a really good note in knowing I can close this case,” she said.
“I’m just glad that they were caught,” Granger added. “I just pray for the families. I hope they have a closing on it.”