Alabama ex-stripper charged in 1995 cold case murder of man who remains missing

ALABAMA -- A 20-year-old cold case murder is one step closer to being solved after a former stripper from Alabama was charged with beating, stabbing, and dismembering a young man back in 1995.

According to the New York Daily News, Tricia Abney has been living her life normally since then. She’s gone on to attend college, per her Facebook page. She also posted uplifting messages to her profile.

“Never let your past,” read one post posted two days before she was arrested, “determine your future.”

However, according to police, 40-year-old Abney has kept a dark secret for two decades. AL.com reports that she murdered a 23-year-old man in June 1995 after a robbery went awry.

Cold Case Detective Jonathan Ross told AL.com that another witness to the crime could not stay silent about the murder after so long. That witness went to police with details in January.

"He said he knew of a murder case that happened 20 years ago,'' Ross said to AL.com. "He had dealt with it for 20 years and it was eating up his conscience."

AL.com reports that while Abney was working as a dancer at an establishment named Sammy’s she lured Justin Barnett back to an apartment on June 3, 1995. The intent was so that Abney and her boyfriend could rob him.

“They dismembered his body in the apartment and drove the remains to Centreville in Bibb County,” Ross said to AL.com. “They buried the remains, and then came back to the apartment and tried to clean it up.”

Barnett’s body was never found.

Abney and her boyfriend, who moved to Mobile, Alabama and got married, broke up and went on with their lives.

Dogs were used to locate Barnett’s body, but attempts were unsuccessful.

Police went to Mobile earlier this month to interview the boyfriend. He refused to cooperate and six days later committed suicide.

"Nobody knew the exact location except for the guy who killed himself,'' Ross told AL.com. "He was the one who dug the hole."

On July 22, Abney was arrested. It was the same day her ex-boyfriend killed himself.

She has confessed to her role in the murder, according to police.

Currently, Abney is jailed without bond at Jefferson County Jail. Her criminal record includes three felony convictions dating to 2002 for burglary and drug offenses.

"They were happy," Ross said to AL.com of Barnett’s family, "although they wanted to see the second suspect in court, also, but they were happy."

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