Andrew Dalzell has been a suspect in the disappearance of Deborah Key since the beginning. The Orange County day-care worker was last seen in 1997 talking to Dalzell in a Carrboro parking lot.
Last year, Carrboro police arrested Dalzell and claimed he confessed to the crime. However, officers admitted they used fake court documents and a fake warrant to get that confession.
After a Superior Court judge threw out the confession, the district attorney's office decided to look into a possible appeal.
"I've become convinced that it is highly unlikely that that confession will never be used in a court of law," said Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.
Key's friends expected Friday's announcement, but said her disappearance still haunts them.
"It's really hard to be without her. That is the part that we are missing, no matter what happens in court, we are still missing our Debbie," said Joy Preslar, Key's friend.
Carrboro Police Chief Carolyn Hutchison said the department is looking at the case as a learning experience and that the case remains open. Dalzell may be in the clear on the Key case, but he still faces numerous charges of sexual exploitation of a minor in an unrelated case.
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