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Yogurt Shop Murders

The victims of the Yogurt Shop murders.

The 1991 Yogurt Shop murders is an unsolved murder case in Austin, Texas. On December 6, 1991, an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt! shop was robbed and set on fire. Inside the shop were the bodies of four teenage girls: 13-year-old Amy Ayers, 17-year-old Jennifer Harbison, her 15-year-old sister Sarah and 17-year-old Eliza Thomas. All four had been raped and murdered, with three of the bodies stacked on top of each other.

The initial investigation spanned nearly eight years. Serial killer Kenneth McDuff was in the area at the time and was initially considered a prime suspect, but he was later ruled out.

On Wednesday, October 6, 1999, police in Texas and West Virginia arrested four suspects in connection with the murders. Robert Burns Springsteen, Jr., 24, was arrested in Charleston, West Virginia. Michael James Scott, 25, of Buda, Texas, was arrested in the Austin area. Maurice Pierce, 24, was arrested in Lewisville, north of Dallas, and Forrest Wellborn, 23, was picked up in Lockhart, Texas, southeast of Austin. Despite DNA testing not matching up to any of them, the men confessed to the crime - allegedly after being coerced by police - and were convicted, but they were released in 2009 for lack of evidence.

No new charges have been filed and local media coverage remains ongoing. As of 2016, the Austin Police Department's cold-case unit continues to pursue the identity of an unknown male using DNA found on the youngest of the victims, but thus far the case remains unsolved.

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