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To Catch a Killer: A mother's search for her daughter's murderer

To Catch a Killer: A mother's search for her daughter's murderer

SPOKANE, Wash. - Back in 2004, a 19-year-old woman was raped and suffocated while away at college in Oklahoma. 

Fifteen years later, her mother is still searching for answers. 

Maggie Zingman had that motherly feeling something just wasn’t right on a Septembember night in 2004. 

Her daughter, Brittany Phillips, was away at school, not responding to her texts. Still, Zingman assumed she was just busy. 

“Thursday night I left that typical mom message. I said Birttany, just call me I know you’re okay but I’m worried,” said Zingman. 

“Then it was 1 a.m. the next morning and I got a knock on my door and this young sheriff had a piece of paper in his hand and he said ‘Are you Maggie Zingman? You need to call this detective; your daughter’s been murdered.” 

Zingman says the police were able to pull DNA from the scene, giving her hope of at least solving the case. 

But fifteen years later, and who Brittany’s killer is remains a mystery. 

Zingman says the DNA hasn’t matched anyone in the criminal system to this day, meaning the suspect is still on the loose. 

Now, she’s pushing lawmakers across the country to change the system.     

“A lot of these dangerous people remain in these states and they’re not getting convicted so their DNA is not in the system,” said Zingman. 

Right now in Washington, DNA isn’t taken from a suspect until they are convicted of a crime. Instead, Zingman is pushing lawmakers to have DNA collected once a suspect is arrested. 

So far, she’s had success with the law going into effect in her home state of Oklahoma, as well as 30 other states in the country. 

“After years of ruling out suspect after suspect, I felt like I have to do something more to help it and that’s what started it.” 

Zingman says a woman saw her car on the street in Spokane earlier today and sent an email wishing her the best. She says that alone makes this all worth it for her. 



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