The murders of two 14-year-old best friends had stumped Broward investigators for decades. They now have more answers almost 50 years later.
In June 1975, Barbara Schreiber and Darlene Zetterower were hanging out on a bench in their Hollywood neighborhood, enjoying the summer before high school.
A white van pulled up, and the duo, who loved ones described as “inseparable,” hopped inside. Barbara and Darlene frequently hitchhiked, much to their parents’ surprise.
Days later, a family on a fishing outing discovered the girls’ bodies in Andytown, an area on the outskirts of the Everglades.
They were sexually assaulted and shot to death.
DNA solves a decades-old mystery
Over the years, detectives, crime scene investigators and sleuths took a crack at Barbara and Darlene’s case. But they turned up with little evidence and fewer answers.
Now, DNA shed more light on who was responsible for the girls’ murders, the Broward Sheriff’s Office announced last week. BSO Detective Andrew Gianino of the Cold Case Homicide team tested Darlene’s clothing and developed a full DNA profile of the suspect.
It turned out to be a match to Robert Clark Keebler, who died in 2019. Keebler had a criminal history in South Florida and California that included sexual assault, aggravated assault and armed robbery charges.
Keebler wasn’t a suspect in the case until the DNA hit.
For Gianino, the case of Barabara and Darlene was personal. He was set to retire last year but couldn’t leave knowing that the case was still unsolved.
“It was a very hard case to solve from the onset,” he said in a video. “I think what made this case live on and resonate with investigators is the innocence of these kids.”
Gianino and other detectives are now reexamining the cases of other murdered women found in the same general area. These unsolved killings, which occurred from 1975 to 1976 in Broward and Miami-Dade, are known as the Flat Tire murders.
“We’re looking back at all of the other murders that took place out here to see if there’s DNA evidence to tie [Keebler] into those cases.”
Gianino also believes someone else was involved in the murders. He’s asking the public for information about the murders, the possible second suspect, Keebler — and his connection to the girls.
“For two 14-year-old girls to be murdered in such a way, it’s just sad,” Gianino said in a video. “There’s just no other way to explain it. Senseless, actually.”
Remembering Barbara and Darlene
Gail Cavaco remembers her friend Darlene as a fun-going girl with lots of character. She also remembers seeing her hanging out with Barbara on the bench that day — and the white van. Darlene had even asked Cavaco to join them, but her father had said no.
“I was scared for them because I didn’t know what was going on,” Cavaco said. “And thank God that I didn’t follow up to go with them.”
Reflecting on the tragedy, Cavaco remembers the girls’ murder as a terrible time for anyone who knew them.
“It was hard. It was really hard on all of us because our lives changed,” she said. “It’s been many years, and I would love to see the closure.”
In 1979, Barbara’s mother Joyce Tate told the Miami Herald about how she suffered and processed her daughter’s death.
“I’ve been under medical care and taking sedatives since Barbara died,” Tate said. “I think I’m slowly coming to grips with it, with the help of the Bible.”
Anyone with information on the murders of Barbara Schreiber and Darlene Zetterower should contact Det. Andrew Gianino at 954-321-4376. If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).