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"Tell mom I love her." Listen to episode 5 of "A Better Search for Barbara Cotton"

Barbara Louise Cotton was last seen in the company of a young man referred to by some as her boyfriend. Three months after her disappearance, this young man was arrested in Montana for disorderly conduct. While in custody, he called his family and then, just a few hours later, he took his own life in his jail cell. In episode 5 of "A Better Search for Barbara," family members disclose more information about this mysterious young man and reveal the never-before-heard details of his last phone call home.

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Stacey DeMarr Werder was reportedly the last person to see Barbara Cotton. He hung himself in jail in Malta, Montana in July of 1981
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The mid-July temperatures hovered around 99 degrees when, in 1981, 15-year-old Lora Werder picked up the family telephone in Montague, CA and accepted a collect call. On the other end of the line was her older brother Stacey. He was calling from the town of Malta, MT where he had been arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct. Just a few hours later he was found deceased, apparently a result of suicide, in his jail cell.


"Now I kind of just wish someone would have taken the time to talk to me when I was fourteen."

Lora Werder Facey


In episode 5 of "A Better Search for Barbara" two sisters talk about their older brother Stacey Werder and Lora reveals the details of that last phone call home. Lora has never before been interviewed about this conversation and has never been contacted by law enforcement in regards to Barbara Cotton's disappearance.

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Lora Werder Facey was the last person to speak with her brother Stacey Werder before his suicide. In episode 5 of A Better Search for Barbara, Lora speaks out for the first time ever about her brother's last phone call home. She has never been contacted by investigators about Barbara Cotton's disappearance.

Listen to Episode 5

Listen to Previous Episodes:

  • Episode 1: "Five Blocks from Home" explores the night Barbara went missing from the perspective of her childhood friend Sandee Evanson. Read more about this unsolved mystery and listen to 40 years of nothing, few answers for family, friends of missing teen Barbara Cotton of Williston One of North Dakota’s longest running cold cases is the newest subject of regional true crime podcast Dakota Spotlight. “A Better Search for Barbara” is an investigative podcast series exploring the perplexing mystery of the 15 year old Williston, N.D. girl who simply vanished one Saturday night in 1981. With never-before-heard interviews, the enlistment of a private investigator and a fresh approach to this unsolved mystery, the five-part series begins Monday March 1 and will reveal new information about the case.
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  • Episode 2: "Tributaries of the Truth" we attempt to untangle the confusion surrounding Barbara's last known whereabouts. We also look closer at the question: Could Barbara Cotton have simply run away? Listen to Tributaries of the Truth: Listen to episode 2 of A Better Search for Barbara Cotton Barbara Louise Cotton vanished from the streets of Williston, N.D. on April 11, 1981 after eating dinner with a boyfriend and another friend. She has never been heard from since that night. "A Better Search for Barbara" is a five-part podcast series investigating this 40 year old mystery. Episode 2, "Tributaries of the truth" attempts to untangle two questions: What was that last dinner all about? Could Barbara have simply run away?

  • Episode 3: We look closer look at the initial police investigation. We also ask the question: might Barbara's kindness and big heart have led to her demise? Listen to She was "gentle and kind" - listen to episode 3 of "A Better Search for Barbara Cotton" A Better Search for Barbara Cotton is an investigative podcast series about one of North Dakota's longest running cold cases, the disappearance of 15-year-old Barbara Cotton of Williston, N.D.

  • Episode 4: Dakota Spotlight teams up with a private investigator. Listen to Investigating on our own - listen to episode 4 of "A Better Search for Barbara Cotton" When Barbara Cotton went missing in Williston, N.D. , in 1981, many assumed the 15-year-old had run away for a few days. Others disagreed. She has never been seen or heard from since that day. What happened to Barbara Cotton? Season Five of Dakota Spotlight "A Better Search for Barbara" explores this mystery and looks for answers.

  • See Also: Videos and Photos: A Better Search for Barbara Cotton A Better Search for Barbara Cotton is an investigative podcast series about one of North Dakota's longest running cold cases, the disappearance of 15-year-old Barbara Cotton of Williston, N.D.

The podcast, "A Better Search for Barbara" is a deep dive into the 1981 disappearance of Barbara Louise Cotton and will be released over five days starting March 1, 2021. Listen here or anywhere podcasts are found ( Spotify , Apple , Google Podcasts , Stitcher etc.)

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True Crime podcasts BY JAMES WOLNER

  • How did Victor Die? The Full audio podcast about a mysterious death in Glen Ullin, N.D.
  • True crime podcast: The untold story of a Zeeland, N.D., couple and their tragic murders in 1976
  • The house on Sweet & 7th: the Erickstad homicides. Listen to Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast hosted by James Wolner of Forum Communications Co.
  • In "Chasing Billy: A Pursuit for Justice," Dakota Spotlight debuts episode 1 of a new season focused on unsolved 1978 murder Listen to Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast hosted by James Wolner of Forum Communications Co.

RELATED Podcast homepage | Newsletter | Season 3 videos | Season 2: 1976 Zick murders | jwolner@forumcomm.com

James Wolner is a Digital Content Producer at Forum Communications Company, Fargo North Dakota and the creator, producer and host of Dakota Spotlight, a true crime podcast. He has lived the Upper Midwest since 2013 and studied photojournalism at California State University at Fresno. He is fluent in English and Swedish.
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