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Murder at the Ghost Town
Traci Petrocelli
 Tracy Petrocelli



Dennis Gibson
Dennis Gibson

In 1981, Two hikers found Dennis Gibson's body bludgeoned and shot to death near Calico Ghost Town. The area was rugged desert terrain and not easily accessible to vehicles. At the crime scene, detectives located .22 caliber fired cartridge casings and a black wooden tire knocker. It took three years to positively identify Dennis. Shortly before his death, Dennis told his sister that he was going to tour the West coast and surf in Baja California. Dennis’ family never heard from Dennis again. During the investigation homicide detectives ran out of leads and the case went cold.

In 2008, the case was reopened by Cold Case Detective Casey Jiles. During the investigation it was discovered that Tracy was arrested in 1982 for robbing and killing a car salesman, which occurred after the murder of Dennis. Investigators would later find out that Tracy even killed his fiancé prior to killing Dennis. 

During his 1982 arrest he was found to be in possession of the same weapon used to kill all three victims. Ballistic tests confirmed it was the same weapon and Tracy was the registered owner. Also found in Tracy’s possession at the time of his arrest was Dennis’ birth certificate and identification cards. Tracy is a suspect in four other unsolved murders.

In June 2008, Deputy District Attorney John Thomas issued a murder warrant for Tracy’s arrest--27 years after the homicide occurred. At the time, Tracy was sitting on death row awaiting execution in Nevada. Tracy was extradited and a year later he pled guilty to 15 years to life.












































































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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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