Q: In the early 1980s, a co-worke of mine, Mary Ellen Barker, was murdered. Apparently, she and her husband were kidnapped, he escaped, she was killed. What really happened and was anyone ever charged or convicted for Mary Ellen’s murder?
A: No reports of arrests in the case were found in The Sacramento Bee’s archives.
In January 1987, five year’s after the slaying, The Bee, at the request of the Sacramento Police Department, ran an update on the case in its Secret Witness column because of recent information police had received.
According to the account in The Bee, On Feb. 1, 1982, 30-year-old Mary Ellen Barker was walking with David W. Barker, the man she had married, divorced and reconciled with, on the levee a half-mile south of Miller Park, when two men and a woman allegedly accosted them. Mary Ellen Barker was shot and killed, and David Barker was wounded in the right arm.
In 1987, detectives said witnesses recently interviewed had reported seeing a single male running from from the levee area near Sutterville Road and then walking southbound along Riverside Boulevard.
At the time, a $2,500 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.