Facebook Pixel

Amy Ayers

A 13 year old is killed in a quadruple murder at an Austin yogurt shop

  • Last updated: January 24, 2024
  • Austin, TX
  • December 6, 1991

Overview of Amy Ayers

Amy Leigh Ayers is remembered as being a true country girl.

Her father, Robert, fondly describes her as being “all cowgirl”. A 13-year-old 8th grader at Burnet Middle School in Austin, TX, Amy had dreams of becoming a veterinarian and was known to have a celebrity crush on country star George Strait. She was also very artsy and on the yearbook staff at her school. A huge lover of animals, Amy showed hogs in the Travis County Fair and Rodeo and participated in the Future Farmers of America program. Through her participation in the FFA, she met her best friend, 15 year old Sarah Harbison, who was also an FFA member along with her big sister Jennifer, and Jennifer’s friend and co-worker, Eliza Thomas. Jennifer and Eliza were both seniors at Lanier High School and worked together at a local “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt” shop.

On December 6, 1991, Amy had a normal day at school and was excited for a sleepover later that evening with her friends.

Source: CBS News/AP Images

Jennifer picked up Amy and Sarah and took them to the Northcross mall before her shift at the yogurt shop, returning on her 9:00 pm break to pick up the girls and bring them back to her workplace. The plan was for the younger girls to help the older two close the shop, and then they’d head back to Jennifer’s house for the sleepover. Back at the yogurt shop, multiple witnesses said they saw two men sitting in a booth inside. The last known customers left around 10:42 pm. Witnesses did not mention seeing Amy or Sarah, but did see Eliza and Jennifer working diligently to close the store. A “no sale” was rung up on the register at 11:03 pm. During their investigation, law enforcement would also confirm that there was $540.00 missing from the register. Sometime between 11:03 pm and 11:47 pm, a shocking crime took place.

Exterior of "I Cant Believe It's Yogurt" after the attack. Source: AP

Emergency personnel entered the yogurt shop after reports of a fire and found the four bodies of Amy Ayers, Eliza Thomas, Jennifer Harbison, and Sarah Harbison in the back room of the building.

The girls were naked and had been bound and gagged with what appeared to be their own underwear. Eliza, Jennifer and Sarah had been stacked on top of each other, covered in an accelerant, and set on fire. Amy was the last to be found, separate from the other three, and not as badly burned. It is likely that Amy was trying to escape, as she was found in a separate part of the store from the other girls. She was found nude, with evidence of sexual assault, and had been shot twice in the head with two different guns. The first was a .22 caliber but did not penetrate the skull and was not fatal. The second shot was fatal; a .380 bullet from a semiautomatic had entered her brain and exited out of her right cheek.

Floor plan of "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt". Source: Austin Chronicle

Police were quick to determine that more than one perpetrator likely committed the crime. Initially, four men – Michael Scott, Robert Springsteen, Maurice Pierce and Forrest Welborn – were implicated in the crimes. The four, still teenagers at the time of the murders, were initially investigated shortly after the crime, but not pursued due to lack of evidence. A series of investigations in 1999 led to all four being implicated, with two of the men, Scott and Springsteen, confessing to the crimes. They were both tried and convicted of capital murder, with Scott receiving a sentence of life without parole and Springsteen being condemned to death. However, the cases were later overturned and both men were eventually exonerated when it was confirmed that the men’s DNA did not match DNA left at the scene.

Despite multiple false confessions, arrests, convictions, and exonerations over the years, the case remains unsolved.

This case rattled the local Austin community at the time, and continues to do so to this day. Many are hopeful that advances in DNA technology could eventually reveal the identity of the individual(s) responsible for the murders of these girls. This case is the inspiration behind the Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act, which aims to provide families with a full reinvestigation of a cold case, including forensic testing with today’s standards.


  1. Date Found:December 6, 1991
  2. Date of Death:December 6, 1991
  3. Birthday:January 31, 1978
  4. Age at Incident:13
  5. Race:Caucasian / White
  6. Gender:Female
  7. Hair Color:Brown

What's Left to be Uncovered

Featured Sources

Important People


Tap to Activate the Map


Online Resources (13)

Podcasts (16)

Misc (62)

More Cases to Explore

There are currently no cases that match the selected filters.