On November 6, 1998, a 15 year-old Mexican-American girl named Lisa Diane Norrell disappeared from a party at a dance hall in the East Bay town of Antioch. Eight days later, her asphyxiated body, hands bunched into fists, was found face down in the yard of a landscaping firm in Pittsburg, her hometown.

It was the first of four murders of young women occurring over the span of two months in Pittsburg last year, and devastated Lisa's largely working-class community.

Today, nearly 12 months after her death, police still have no suspects charged with the crime, and painfully few tips -- unlike other high profile murders of women in San Francisco and Yosemite National Park which resulted in arrests in the same period. It is a case which has inspired fears that a serial killer was on the loose, witnessed a local fire official escape criminal child molestation charges in exchange for offering evidence in the murder probe, sparked a court fight over media access to public records, and prompted changes in California state law governing the reporting of missing children.

This web site, produced by a news reporting class at the Journalism School, examines Lisa's murder, the police investigation, and the lasting effects on her city, friends, and family -- one year after the tragedy.

-- Neil Henry, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism


Norrell Informant to be Tried for Child Molestation
The former fire captain who reportedly gave police information on the Norrell murder faces a civil trial.
Follow the chronology of the Lisa Norrell case.
A Teacher in Mourning
Christine Rohde speaks about the effect of Lisa Norrell's murder on her city and school.
"Is Anyone Still Crying?"
How the Berkeley journalists tried to get their stories and avoid media mistakes.
  Unsolved Murders
Lisa Norrell's isn't the only unsolved murder in the Bay Area.
  Reporters Test Public's Right To Know
Public records are invaluable sources of information -- if you can get your hands on them.


If you have information that might help the investigation of Lisa Norrell's murder, contact the Pittsburg Police Department at (925) 646-2441. There is currently a $60,000 reward.


Special thanks to web designer Matt Golec

and story consultant Matthai Chakko Kuruvila


Unsolved Murder Frustrates Police, Community
One year after the murder of 15-year-old Lisa Norrell, the investigation continues.


Keeping the Memory Alive
Lisa Norrell's family and friends fondly remember her one year after her murder.


Official Silence Spurs Questions, Anxiety
Pittsburg investigators continue to clamp down on information about the murder.


Released, But Not Yet Free
The involvement of two men arrested in killing remains a mystery.


Norrell Tragedy Unites Pittsburg Community
Within hours of Lisa's disappearance, community members came together to support each other.