A Teen Lesbian Couple’s Brutal Rape & The Murder That Shocked A Small Texas Town

Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa [Investigation Discovery]

PORTLAND, TX — On the morning of June 23, 2012, a pair of birdwatchers in Portland, Texas, made a horrifying discovery: The bodies of two young women bound with duct tape and lying in a pool of blood.

Detectives soon discovered that both women had been shot point-blank in the head. The first victim was declared dead on the scene, but paramedics discovered that the second was still clinging to life, and rushed her to a nearby hospital.

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In a nearby parking lot, detectives spotted a solitary car that was registered to 19-year-old Mollie Olgin. After calling her parents, investigators were able to identify the dead victim as Mollie by the hummingbird tattoo on her neck.

The brutal murders of Mollie and her girlfriend Kristene Chapa, which shocked the small town near Corpus Christi Bay, are detailed in a new episode of Unusual Suspects: Deadly Intent on Investigation Discovery.

Watch the “Terror Under the Moonlight” episode of Investigation Discovery’s Unusual Suspects: Deadly Intent on ID GO now!

Detectives theorized early in the investigation that the execution-style murders indicated that the killer could be someone with military or police experience. “There was no other indication that anything had been stolen or taken, so it didn’t appear that the motive was robbery,” Detective Roland Chavez said.

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Police found a few clues at the scene, including two .45-caliber bullet casings, beer cans, a can of iced tea, and other bottles. They also found cigarette butts — and, according to friends and family, neither woman smoked.

They later discovered that the women had been raped, but the lack of DNA evidence indicated that the attacker may have worn a condom.

Detective Roland Chavez [Investigation Discovery]

Detectives spoke to friends and family, and found out that the two women were well-liked and had no enemies. The attack appeared to be completely random — but friends did let detectives in on a secret: The two women were not just friends; they were a couple.

This led police to investigate the possibility that the double murder could have been a hate crime.
Police appealed for information, and seemed to get a break when one caller reported spotting a white sedan speeding away from the murder scene.

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Meanwhile, Chapa, despite losing a significant amount of brain tissue, was making a miraculous recovery. As soon as she felt strong enough, she began to give detectives details of the attack. Portland police released two composite sketches of the male shooter, based upon information from Chapa.

She told police that after they arrived in the park, a white male in his twenties wearing a mask and dark clothing had pulled out a gun and told them that he planned to sexually assault them. He referred to them as “Girl One” and “Girl Two” as he raped them. Chapa told detectives that she heard her girlfriend being sexually assaulted — and then heard a gunshot. She said that she never heard the shot that hit her in the head.

David Strickland [Davis County Sheriff’s Office]

DNA testing found that the cigarette butts found at the crime scene were a match to 21-year-old Dylan Spellman, who appeared to be a promising suspect once detectives found out that he had a criminal record that included a home invasion and an incident when police found him with a half-naked woman in the same park where Kristene and Mollie were killed.

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Spellman failed a lie-detector test, but he did not match Kristine’s description of the murderer. She had said that the man who assaulted her and Mollie was around their height, while Spellman was much taller. After that, the case went cold.

Detectives got a break in 2014 when police in a neighboring town received a handwritten letter, addressed to Chapa’s father, that contained chilling details of the case that had not been released to the press. The letter was from a person who claimed to have been a hitman hired to kill her daughter — and the author reportedly referred to the women as “f—ing lesbians.”
The author said that the person who hired him was an Army reservist named Cristobal Melchor who lived 1400 miles away in Utah. The letter writer also enclosed a photo of Melchor.

Investigators traveled to Utah to interview Melchor, who claimed to have never heard of the crime or the victims. But he was able to identify the photo: He said that the second person in the picture, who had been cropped out, was his former roommate David Strickland. Melchor said that he had had a falling out with Strickland after Strickland stole his guns and was arrested after Melchor reported the theft to police. Crucially, Melchor revealed that after leaving Utah, Strickland had moved back to Texas.

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Detectives returned to Portland and discovered that Strickland had fed several false tips to police — including the one about the white sedan. With their focus now on Strickland, detectives took a look inside the backpack that had been confiscated when he was arrested for the robbery. They found disturbing items inside — including personal lubricant, a condom, handcuffs, a Glock .45, and black gloves.

Chapa was unable to identify him in a lineup, but detectives found traces of the handwritten letter on his computer and produced evidence that shell casings from a handgun he owned were a likely match to those found at the scene.

He was arrested and charged with the womens’ murders. His wife, Laura Strickland, was charged with tampering with evidence in the case, but the charges were later dropped.

Strickland was found guilty of capital murder, and sentenced him to life in prison. Strickland continues to maintain his innocence. His request for a new trial was denied in 2016.

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Chapa lost functionality to the left side of her body and had to relearn how to walk and talk, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. She is still partially paralyzed on her left side. Earlier this year, she said that she continues to visit the park on special anniversaries, like Mollie’s birthday and day they met.

In April 2017, Chapa filed a $500 million civil lawsuit against Strickland and his father, Larry Joe Strickland, for damages, including loss of future earnings and physical and mental anguish. The lawsuit alleges that the elder Strickland helped his son buy a gun and did nothing to help curb his violent tendencies.

Watch the “Terror Under the Moonlight” episode of Investigation Discovery’s Unusual Suspects: Deadly Intent on ID GO now!

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Main photo: Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa [Investigation Discovery]

  • Royal Royal

    What a sad and unfortunate heinous crime against these two young women I remember seeing this story before….. Glad they found the piece of sh*t that murdered and raped her and her girlfriend… Thankfully she survived. I pray she can one day find peace and happiness after a senseless crime.