Exclusive: Friend who was walking home with Beth Lynn Barr speaks out after 43 years

PITTSBURGH — Target 11 investigator Rick Earle spoke exclusively with a woman who was likely one of the last people to see Beth Lynn Barr, who went missing 43 years ago.

Tisha Davison was walking home from school with her sister and Beth on the day before Thanksgiving in 1977. They had gotten out of school early for the holiday and Beth typically got a ride with a neighbor. On that day, however, the neighbor wasn’t going home, so Beth walked with the other two girls.

“We were joking and laughing and everything. We were talking about what we were going to do Thanksgiving. We get to here and she decided to go this way,” said Davison, pointing in the opposite direction that she and her sister headed.

That was the last time Tisha Davison and her sister saw their friend and classmate, 6-year-old Beth Lynn.

“I wish at that time we were a little bit smarter to say, ‘Hey Beth don’t leave, walk with us, stick together,’ but at that time we didn’t feel that we had to because we felt that our neighborhood was safe,” said Davison.

Minutes after they parted ways, Barr vanished. Police believe she was abducted.

When Beth Lynn didn’t make it home that November afternoon, her older brother went looking for her around the neighborhood.

“He asked us, ‘Did we see Beth?’ and we explained to him where we last saw her, and we advised him where Beth was going,” said Davison.

Davison said police officers showed up at her house the very next day.

“Detectives come into the house, questioning us and they came a couple times, questioning, hoping to spark our attention, hopefully we seen something, but I didn’t. I wish I did but I didn’t,” Davison said.

An elderly neighbor told police she saw the girl get into a car with a man. That set off a frantic search. Fear gripped the normally quiet neighborhood, situated off the Parkway East in Wilkinsburg.

“I was so scared. I didn’t want to go back to school. The first week back my Dad drove us every day. I was scared, wanting to sleep with my lights on. Didn’t want to go nowhere,” Davison said.

Sixteen months after she vanished, Barr’s body was found in a shallow grave near a cemetery in Monroeville. She had been stabbed multiple times.

“At first I didn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh no, it couldn’t be,’ until after they had her funeral. No but a lot of us neighbor kids that we were friends with these kids that lived here. We went up to the cemetery and we found her gravestone, and we read it and realized it came true that she was gone,” said Davison.

The disappearance and death of her friend and classmate had a profound impact on the way she approached raising her kids and grandkids.

“I tell them don’t go near nobody’s car, don’t look for nobody’s dog if they’re saying they can’t offer you no candy that I can’t give you. Don’t just go. It literally changed a lot,” Davison said.

Forty-three years later, Davison said she can’t believe the case is still unsolved.

“Nobody has ever talked. I was thinking about that somebody would have to at least know something, a wife, a girlfriend, a brother, somebody had to (know) something that somebody did something. And after 43 years, I’m thinking are they still alive, or did they pass? And did you spend your 43 years having your kids and grandkids and you took 43 years away from her family?,” Davison said.