Debora Sue Cotton
19 Years Old

July 2, 1967 to May 7, 1987

Debora Sue "Debby" Cotton, of San Antonio, Texas, had attended John Glenn Elementary School, Peace Middle School and John Jaye High School in San Antonio and was studying to be a nursing assistant at Mansfield Tech at the time of her death.

Debby was a very friendly and sensitive child, and a neighbor once said that her smile was so big that it lit up the room. Debby had a cat named Sarah which she loved very much.

Debby loved helping people of all ages, and at the time of her death, she lived and worked in a senior residential home. The residents adored her. Debby's minister believed that her task here on earth was to make people feel good about themselves.

Debby left behind her mother, father, brother and sister who love and miss her very much.


On May 7, 1987, Debora Sue "Debby" Cotton of San Antonio, Texas, was coaxed to the home of Pernell Dale Bratcher whom she believed was a friend. Bratcher strangled her with an electrical cord and hid her body in his attic. Four days later, Bratcher put tape on Debby's face, hands and feet and placed her in a Christmas tree box and dumped her in a field. A woman walking by with her child found Debby's body and notified police.

After the murder, Bratcher and a female companion attempted to cash a check which was made out to Debby, but a bank teller who happened to know Debby refused to cash it and notified police.

Three weeks after the murder, Bratcher was arrested for murder. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

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Debora Cotton