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‘I’m going to find them’: Cranston detective determined to solve 34-year-old murder case

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ On December 5, 1986, Donna Fisher was supposed to meet her neighbor for a shopping trip.

When Donna didn’t show, her neighbor went to her Prospect Street home to investigate and found the 38-year-old wife and mother unconscious in her bedroom. She was rushed to the hospital, but taken off life support three days later on her 39th birthday.

Investigators initially believed Donna had a medical emergency, but an autopsy later revealed she had been strangled.

Her husband, Bill Fisher, tells 12 News he left for work that morning around 7 a.m., just under three hours before the 911 call.

“I became number-one suspect because I was the last one to see her,” Bill said. “It’s tough when you didn’t do something.”

Thirty-four years later, the pain of Donna’s death has been compounded by the mystery that surrounds it.

“She turned out to be my best friend, not just my wife,” Bill said. “We fished together, we did everything together. We had a great time together.”

Bobby Fisher was Donna’s only child. He was 18 at the time.

“[It was] the strongest punch in the gut,” he said. “You don’t know where to turn or what to do or what to think. Literally the worst possible thing happened.”

Detectives at the time said nothing appeared to be amiss inside the home, aside from two phones that were pulled off the wall, meaning Donna most likely knew the person who ultimately killed her.

“Somebody out there knows something,” Bobby said. “How they can live with themselves is beyond me.”

Cranston Detective Robert Santagata said he’s confident they will solve the case, but he wouldn’t disclose whether there is DNA evidence that could help lead them to Donna’s killer.

“Donna needs justice,” he said. “How you can wake up every day knowing that you know something about this and go on and live your life like nothing happened is, to me, astonishing, but that’s the choice they make and I’m still out here and I’m going to find them.”

Anyone who believes they know what happened to Donna is urged to contact the Cranston Police Department at (401) 942-2211.

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