Chattanooga woman determined to solve her sister's murder case - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga woman determined to solve her sister's murder case

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A Chattanooga woman is determined not to let her sister's murder case go cold. Deborah Underhill was beaten to death and found floating in the Tennessee River in March. Her sister says she will not rest until the case is solved.

Karen Searle says there is not a day that goes by she does not think about her sister's murder case. Even though it has been four months since her death, she says each day is just as hard as the day she found out.

"We weren't prepared. You don't think. You think you have tomorrow," says Searle, holding back tears.

Karen Searle goes to visit the grave of her sister, Deborah Underhill. Her family is still putting money toward a headstone.

"Someone saw her. And took advantage of her," says Searle.

She says her sister struggled with mental problems. On March 28th, she was last seen leaving the AIM Center in downtown Chattanooga. Fishermen found her body more than five miles away, on the banks of the Tennessee River.

"She gave the person injuries who did this to her because she gave such a fight. She did not want this to happen to her because she gave such a fight," says Searle.

The autopsy report shows Deborah was beaten and bruised over much of her body and ultimately strangled to death.

"I've got to know the person who did this, there will be justice served. I've got to know that. I've got to do that for her. She would do it for me or anyone else she loved. I've got to do it for her."

Since her death, Mother's Day has passed. Deborah would have been 58-years-old in July.

"Just think if this was your loved one. Your sister or daughter or granddaughter, or niece or aunt or cousin. You would want, whoever took their life, to have to pay for it," says Searle.

While she can not comprehend Deborah's death, she knows her sister is at peace.

"In one of my dreams I've had about her, and I can see it right now, she's standing there smiling."

She will not stop putting up the fight her sister lost.

"You don't commit a crime and no one knows anything. Someone knows something. Please. And for the person out there. If you are watching this that did this, you will be caught one of these days," says Searle.

Underhill leaves behind two sons and three grandchildren.

Despite there being few leads in the case this is still an active murder investigation. If you have any information in Deborah Underhill's case, call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-3333. You could be eligible for a reward.

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