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Case remains unsolved as Cal City deals with understaffing

Mother calls for justice; she says she frustrated with lack of attention to cold cases in California City
Posted at 7:28 PM, Jul 09, 2024

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — Mother says she's frustrated with the lack of attention to her daughter Deverrie Schiller's case because she says there's a lack of resources in California City.

  • Debi Fones has written a book, “Without her, Now (The aftermath of losing Deverrie"
  • Cal City will have a special election July 30 for a special tax that will help fund its police and fire departments
  • There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest for the Deverrie Schiller case.


Eight years ago, Deverrie Schiller's body was found at this park in California City... and the case remains unsolved.

I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter.

Deverrie's mother, Debi, continues to advocate for justice... but staffing and other issues in Cal City frustrate her.

"I've been with, at the last count, five police chiefs, three detectives, and several city councils."

Debi Fones calls it a political mess in Cal City resulting in a lack of attention to her daughter Deverrie Schiller's case and six other cold cases in the desert town.

Debi has written a book that details how she has felt after the murder... and said she's frustrated because, she says, the City lacks resources.

"They're just being stupid. They're not helping. We need help. We need help," Debi says.

Cal City Mayor Kelly Kulikoff told me in a written response that read quote... "Unfortunately a lack of adequate resources prevents us from sufficiently supporting all departments. With limited funding, we are in a cost-cutting phase that will involve several million dollars in additional cuts."

A special election is set for July 30th for a special tax to help fund its police and fire departments.

Kulikoff offered another statement: "If Measure B fails, we would be in an extreme state of further cost-cutting and it would not be feasible to add more personnel to an already struggling budget."

Debi says she won't stop advocating for justice.

She says she moved to Mojave because she doesn't feel safe in Cal City. She visits to see the memorial for her daughter, the diamond, at Central Park, near where her body was found.

She says she stays up to date with what's going on in Cal City.

"We've got a reputation of a dream that went bad, which is true. Just start over. But take care of the cold cases," Debi says.

If you have any information about the case, you can remain anonymous and call Cal City police at (760) 373-8606.

There is a 25,000 dollar reward for information leading to an arrest.

I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter.

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