When Linda Malcom’s family gets together, or passes the phone around at holiday gatherings for siblings living afar, there is this constant feeling that something isn’t right.
And even when they joke around about their late sister and daughter, when they ask “What would Linda say about that?” or recall some goofy thing she did, invariably the mood changes and the loss is felt.
“We start out with Linda, she might come up in conversation, and we try to come up with something funny she did or said, and still it turns,” said Dianna Malcom, 55, Linda’s sister. “It always seems to turn back to the fact of what we have had to deal with, what happened, and that we have no answers.”
April 30 marked the sixth anniversary of Linda’s death, who was 47. Her rental house on the 1100 block of Sidney Avenue had been set on fire, likely to conceal the crime.
Her death is one of 32 unsolved murders in Kitsap County dating back to 1961. Although the killers have not been brought to justice, there are developments in the cases that keep detectives rethinking and theorizing. Just last week the remains of a young man found in South Kitsap in 2009 were identified.
Port Orchard Police Chief Geoffrey Marti said investigators assigned to the case will rotate, with Det. Beth Deatherage becoming the primary lead. Det. Jim Foster, who has been on the case for four years, will rotate back to assignment as a uniformed officer, but will be on day shift with Deatherage so they will be able to compare notes.
Marti said the investigators will review the case and reinterview sources. Some have moved out of the area, and others have died.
“It makes it difficult,” Marti said, but noted the department is still committed to the case. “I am glad to say the detectives have been able to keep developing things to work with.”
Linda’s family has been steadfast in pushing for more information, to get her name out and to appeal to the decency of those with information about her death.
“We don’t forget,” Dianna said.
Raised in Springfield, Ill., the Navy brought Linda to Kitsap County. Despite being two time zones away from her hometown on the prairie, and her big family — she was one of nine kids — she decided to stick around. She worked as a paralegal and liked singing karaoke.
Linda is buried in Springfield, and her family keeps her grave clean and will pour out a bit of wine in her honor. Her mom is mobile, and tends to the gravesite. Her dad has more difficulty getting out of the house, but it is their wish to see justice delivered before they die.
“I don’t think (mom) wants to go before she knows who did this to her daughter,” Dianna said.
Those with information on Linda Malcom’s death can contact a tip line set up by the Port Orchard Police. The number is: 1-844-TIP-POPD, or 1-844-847-7673.