July 5, 2021 | By Omar Aftab
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
Linda Allomong was a young adult full of hope. She was always looking for a new adventure, always chasing the next journey. She was unapologetically herself and lived for her ideals.
“When alone I can smile — being lonely is better than being false,” Linda would often say.
That all ended when she was murdered in 1975 at the age of 25. Her body was found decomposed in an oil field. This murder has never been solved.
Linda lived most of her life in Long Beach, California, but she was known for her wanderlust and never stayed anywhere for too long. She was whirled into the zeitgeist of the late ‘60s and pursued excitement wherever she could find it.
At the age of 17, she married Donald O’Connor soon after meeting him at a party, after he had returned from the Vietnam War. They moved to Colorado together. However, she was unhappy there, and Donald knew it.
“I bought her a ticket to LA and told her to go if she wanted,” Donald said. “When I came back home that day she was gone.”
Donald, however, ended up following her. She was pregnant, after all. Their daughter, Shannon Miller, was born soon after. Donald took custody.
Afterward, Linda lived as a wanderer. She would come back to Long Beach whenever she wished but wouldn’t stay for long. She would leave unannounced and disappear for months without a word to anyone.
“She was only 25. She wasn’t ready for kids,” Shannon said, who was only a few years old when her mother died. “I’m sure she would have grown out of it.”
In March of 1975, Linda married a man name Luis Flores. No one around Linda seemed to know who Flores was. By September, she was married again, this time to a man named Harvey Walters. She and Walters married in Las Vegas, but no license has ever been discovered. Therefore, it’s most likely not a legally binding wedding. Walters was a part of the Hell’s Angels biker gang.
In November, Linda was found dead.
Her clothes had been pulled up to her neck with her dress covering her face. She died from blunt-force trauma to the head with a large concrete slab.
Due to her unpredictable lifestyle, nobody reported Linda as missing. She was found several weeks after the murder by a high school student looking for lizards. Her body was decomposed to the point that they couldn’t immediately identify her. The police didn’t conduct a thorough investigation due to a lack of information, and they have since lost the files for the case as well as the murder weapon.
Shannon Miller never had a chance to know her mother. She was raised by her father and stepmother, who happened to be a close friend of Linda’s while growing up.
Shannon grew up near her maternal grandmother, who was raising Linda’s two sons, Shannon’s half-brothers. Shannon always thought that her stepmother and stepbrother were true blood relatives and her brothers down the street were simply friends from the neighborhood.
Then Shannon learned the truth. She learned about her mother’s story while visiting her paternal grandmother. However, most people around her were tight-lipped when speaking about her mother, and Shannon learned to stop asking about it.
In recent years, Shannon has had a renewed interest in the death of her mother, despite never truly knowing her.
“I just think it’s wrong that the killer got away with it,” she says. “They got to live free, and they might still be out there.”
Despite encouraging initial contact with the Long Beach Police Department, the investigation didn’t seem to move forward much, if at all. Investigators openly discussed with Shannon that the evidence was no longer available due to the age of the case. Whether it was destroyed, misplaced, thrown out, or simply decayed beyond use, there wasn’t much more the detectives could do at this point.
The death of Linda Allomong was a tragedy. The perpetrators haven’t been brought to justice and Shannon wished she knew her mother better.
“Throughout most of my life I wished she was there with me,” Shannon said. “After having my own kids, I couldn’t understand how she could give this up.”
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Linda Allomong, please call the Long Beach Police Department at (562) 570-7244.
Research and Impact
Many of the questions that come through the Project: Cold Case office center around DNA and genetic testing. DNA testing is such a hot-topic buzzword nowadays and seen as a fix-all to solving cold cases. The reality, however, is that DNA testing is relatively young in the investigative world. When a murder occurred prior to the mid-1990s, forensic DNA wasn’t a thing. Crime scene technicians were not privy to knowing that this type of technology would be incredibly beneficial in the future.
Look back at crime scenes from the 1970s and 1980s – detectives rarely wore gloves and were often seen smoking around evidence. That was simply the time. But as technology improved and detectives were trained better, those practices improved, and the preservation of evidence was vastly better.
Many families are often surprised to hear that the evidence collected in their loved one’s case may not be available or suitable for testing. DNA, like most evidence, can deteriorate over time, especially when not preserved correctly. DNA also is a limited resource, meaning if it is used for testing, it likely isn’t available for future testing. So, investigators must be selective on if and when they test evidence and by which technology they utilize.
It’s not uncommon to hear detectives cite the wait for improved technology before moving forward with evidence testing. It’s better, in some cases, to wait for testing practices to improve rather than rushing to use up all the precious DNA evidence in fruitless tests.
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