The cold case murder of Opal Zacharias - Houston, Texas - March 6, 1987

On March 6, 1987, a horrific crime occurred at a home in Houston, Texas. 64-year-old Opal Zacharias was about to leave for work at 8 a.m. when she walked into her garage and was attacked by two unknown people. Apparently they had been waiting for her with the plan to rob her. Opal and the robbers got into a struggle during which one of the two criminals fired a shot into the 64-year-old's thigh.

As if this had not caused enough suffering, one of the two robbers got into the Zacharias family's car and drove the vehicle over Opal, who died on the spot. Taking her handbag as loot, one perpetrator fled from the scene in the family car while the other probably escaped on foot.

About Opal Zacharias
Opal Lee Uloth Zacharias was born on April 12, 1922 in Katy, Harris County, Texas to a family that included two sisters. She married Herbert Zacharias in October 1943, with whom she lived in Houston, Texas. The couple owned a liquor store and rented out a home behind the store. Opal was also a Sunday school teacher. People remember her as a successful businesswoman and also a warm-hearted person who kept everyone together and for whom she was always there. She was buried on Katy Magnolia Cemetery. Her husband died in 1991 and rests in the same grave.

Police Investigation
The police conducted a major investigation and immediately started looking for the stolen car, in the hope of apprehending the perpetrators. A neighborhood investigation was conducted and witnesses were interviewed. One of those witnesses reported seeing one of the robbers flee the scene by climbing over a fence. That same day, the police found the stolen car of the Zacharias family, but there was no trace of the perpetrators. The car was searched and fingerprints of the suspected perpetrators were recovered.

Arrest suspect
Tips continued to come in, one of which led to the arrest of 30-year-old Houston resident Dang M. Le. He is said to have been one of the two robbers. The case seemed to be solved when it turned out that his fingerprint matched the print in the car. However, he was released for unknown reasons and was therefore not tried for the murder. 

Second suspect identified
The investigation into the murder seemed to yield little in the period that followed, but behind the scenes hard work continued to achieve justice. One year after Dang Le's arrest the identity of his suspected accomplice finally became known thanks to new tips. Suspect Lance Bedgood allegedly pulled the trigger, according to police. A man with a long list of crimes, who was on parole at the time of Opal's murder. Police suspected that he had followed the victim home from the liquor store and must have thought she had a lot of money. A possible link with Bedwood and the house that the Zacharias family rented next to the shop was also considered, but no evidence was found for this scenario.

The police went looking for Lance Bedgood, and received help from TV program America's Most Wanted, which paid attention to the case. Tips came in about possible sightings from Florida to Michigan, but police were unable to track him down. They suspect that Bedgood's family is helping him avoid justice.

Two photos by Lance Bedgood. The second is an aging photo.

Cold case detective hunting Bedgood for more than twenty years.
Successful cold case detective Roben Talton was involved in the search for the suspect in 2001. She has managed to locate more than 400 criminals on the run and has been searching for Lance ever since. In her search for the suspect, she came across three post office boxes, which she believes are probably used by Lance for mail delivery. The mailboxes turned out to be registered to Bedgood's relatives and were paid for by a fourth person. However, the discovery has not led to the tracing of the suspect so far. There is still an active warrant for his arrest. Lance Goodbed has been on the run for more than thirty-five years. If he is still alive, he is almost 80 years old at the time of writing.

Information and Tips
The gruesome murder of Opal Zacharias is now decades ago. Her husband, as previously mentioned, died without ever getting justice for his wife. However, the family still has many living relatives who do not give up hope. Together with the police, they hope that there are people who know more about the case, or know where Bedgood is hiding.

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