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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    FL - Clifford & Christine Walker, both 23, & 2 kids, Osprey, 20 Dec 1959

    His deputies were already scouring the wooden clapboard house that was the home of Cliff and Christine Walker and their two children when Sheriff Ross Boyer arrived about dawn Dec. 20, 1959.

    Boyer surveyed the grisly scene inside. Don McLeod, the family friend who had called to report "trouble in Osprey," was right. The Walker family was dead.

    The killer showed no mercy, killing Cliff while his children watched, then turning his gun on them.

    Boyer noted streaks of blood around Jimmie, suggesting he'd crawled to his father as the killer put bullet after bullet in his head. His sister, Debbie, was drowned in shallow water in the tub after being shot once in the head.

    The Evidence

    The crime scene included a bloody cowboy boot print, a cigarette wrapper from a brand Cliff didn't smoke, a print from the bathtub faucet handle and seven spent .22-caliber shells from the killer's gun.

    Although no one could tell if they were looking for a pistol or a rifle, a distinct mark left by the gun on the shell casings would make it easy to identify the murder weapon when they found it.

    The suspects: A litany of names and clues

    This is an absorbing story. Among the many other suspects are the infamous Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. 9 pages, but well worth reading.
    Additional links:



    Last edited by Kimster; 04-10-2011 at 08:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Wow, this is a great story! I cannot wait to read Monday's story. Will you link it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Reno Evening Gazette
    Monday, Dec 21st, 1959
    Reno, Nevada

    Osprey, Fla. (AP)- A Christmas tree glitters today in an isolated home, but two youngsters will never open the four gaily wrapped packages beneath the boughs

    An unknown assailant murdered Clifford Walker, his wife, and their two small children Saturday at their rural home.

    The bodies of the parents and a 3-year-old son lay on the floor not far from the Christmas tree until discovered Sunday.

    Officers theorize the killer was a friend of the family who tried unsuccessfully to rape the mother. They believe the murders occurred when the father and the children arrived home from a friend's house.

    The victims were Clifford and Christine Walker, both 23, their son Jimmy and a two year old daughter, Debbie.

    The parents and son had been shot in the head. No murder weapon was found, but three .22 caliber cartridges lay near the bodies.

    The girl's body was found face down in a half-filled bathtub and Sheriff Ross Boyer said the killer apparentely held the child under the water until she drowned. The girl had also been shot, officials reported..........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by mysteriew
    ...The Evidence

    The crime scene included a bloody cowboy boot print, a cigarette wrapper from a brand Cliff didn't smoke, a print from the bathtub faucet handle and seven spent .22-caliber shells from the killer's gun.

    Although no one could tell if they were looking for a pistol or a rifle, a distinct mark left by the gun on the shell casings would make it easy to identify the murder weapon when they found it....
    This is a fascinating case, which has many suspects, many clues, and an intriguing story line. It also illustrates how Coincidence can play a part in linking, rightly or wrongly, two very similar cases (the Walker Murders in Florida and the Clutter Murders detailed in "In Cold Blood" which took place in Kansas only a month prior).

    The statement about the inability to determine the type of gun is disturbing. If investigators had seven spent casings and probably fired bullets, it would be fairly simple to determine a short list of possible rifles or pistols which might have been used.

    Each firearm has rifling which leave marks on the lead bullet. Some firearms have four grooves and lands, some have five, or six, while some have as many as 16. Depth and width of lands/grooves vary, as does the rate of twist. Thus it is possible to narrow down the list of possible firearms which might have been used.

    Also, each firearm has a firing pin/bolt face which leaves marks on the casing. In addition, extractors and ejectors may leave marks on the cases. Thus, the list of possible firearms could be further reduced when compared with the FBI's extensive firearms data base.

    The story does not state, but if the casings were found in separate places, at the site of each fired shot, it would indicate that they were ejected after each shot. If they were found all in one spot, it would indicate that a revolver was used and that they were all ejected at one time after all shots were fired.

    This information would have been known from the start, yet the story speaks of various suspects owning either rifles or pistols. Why not come out and say what probable types of firearms the FBI lab narrowed it down to? Perhaps someone will know where such weapons are today. Tests conducted on a specific firearm might conclude whether or not it was the actual one used in the commission of the crime.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    It's so tragic that these murders have never been solved. I immediately thought of the "In Cold Blood" killers when I started reading the thread. The visual of that little 3 year old boy going to his father as he was shot sent chills down my spine.

    God Bless their souls.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by NewMom2003
    It's so tragic that these murders have never been solved. I immediately thought of the "In Cold Blood" killers when I started reading the thread. The visual of that little 3 year old boy going to his father as he was shot sent chills down my spine.

    God Bless their souls.
    That got to me too! Also the baby, which was shot then drowned. They were so young, that if they were left alive they most likely wouldn't have been able to tell anyone what happened. So why were they killed? Whoever did this was a seriously sick person.
    As far as the rifling on the bullet- I wonder if maybe LE doesn't know the possibilities of the type of gun used. Maybe this was one of those things, info held back for use when/if they ever find the killer.
    I am noticing a trend in cold cases. It looks like more and more LE is opening these cases up, putting more info about the case into the media, if they cannot resolve the case. But in this case they even listed the suspects, and that is unusual. I hope that by giving out all of this info, they will be able to prod someone's memory or concience (sp). Sometimes the murderers will allude to the murder years later, or even confess to it. Something like this could prod them to step forward and help solve the case.
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?

    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    The Walker Murders - Suspects

    The Walker Murders - Suspects

    Clay Cross
    Reason Suspected: In the early 1950s, his ex-wife said he shot her with a .22 rifle. Cross had been arrested for beating his ex-wife and mother-in-law with a crowbar.
    Result: His girlfriend -- his deceased brother's wife -- provided an alibi.
    Mike Cutter
    Reason Suspected: The Hendry County sheriff said Cutter was a "peculiar individual" who carried a .22 pistol and a picture of Christine Walker. The day of the murders, Cutter allegedly and inexplicably drove a car with two flat tires from Sarasota to Arcadia.
    Result: Investigators planned to have an undercover deputy buddy-up with Cutter, but it's not clear if they followed through.

    Butch Dennison
    Reason Suspected: A woman told a sheriff's deputy that Dennison, who lived near where someone hid bloody clothes that belonged to the murdered family, talked about killing the Walkers. Butch's father covered for him by burying his son's cowboy boots, which had the Walkers' blood on them, she claimed.
    Result: The elder Dennison passed a polygraph exam, but there is no indication that Butch was ever questioned.
    Mosby Henry Fulton
    Reason Suspected: Arrested several times for rape and fondling young girls, sheriff's files state. A friend said Fulton "has no principle at all when it comes to women or girls" and that he raped a woman while her wheelchair-bound husband watched.
    Result: Boyer reviewed Fulton's arrest record.

    Stanley Mauck
    Reason Suspected: Five days a week, Stanley Mauck left his Brinks Avenue home to read meters for the electric company. Before the Walker murders, he enlisted the help of a psychiatrist to quash an uncontrollable urge to kill his wife and two small children. From the early days of the investigation, Mauck held the attention of investigators desperate to close the Walker case. Detectives learned about him from their peers at the Sarasota Police Department, which was puzzled by a bizarre murder of its own. A few months before the Walker murders, Chandler Steffens, a 22-year-old University of Florida student, was found dead in his apartment. He'd been hog-tied, his head was wrapped in adhesive tape with only his nostrils and ears left uncovered, and he was tortured with a knife for hours before having his throat cut. The "Mummy Murder," as it came to be called, is still unsolved. Police focused attention on Mauck, whose meter route included Steffens' apartment complex. The coincidences became too much to ignore when sheriff's detectives learned that Mauck also read the meter for the Walker house.
    Result: Detectives never found evidence to link him to either crime.
    Mauck died of brain cancer in 1997 at the age of 63. His widow claims that he was devastated by the Walkers' deaths. He used to see the kids at the house when he read the meter, and had even spoken with one of them, she said. "When he saw it in the paper (in 1959), it just about killed him," she said. "After the murders, sometimes he would get up at night, walk the street and cry." Shortly afterward, he had a complete breakdown and received electroshock therapy, she said. "He was afraid he would do something to us. He had that fear that something might happen," she said. "He would get like that a lot of times reading meters. He explained it would build up in his chest -- the fear -- and he'd get scared that he was going to die." Mary said she never knew her husband had been a suspect, but she's convinced he is innocent. "I'm positive, in my heart, he could never do something like that," she said.
    Curtis McCall
    Reason Suspected: Curtis, who was 21 at the time of the murders, had been one of Christine's high school boyfriends. Alleged to have carried on a relationship with her up to the time of murders. Curtis, described by investigators as a "no-good trouble-making sort of person," owned a .22-caliber pistol. Reportedly became a man on the edge after the murders, often nervous and growing thinner, apparently unable to eat. Curtis had a history of violence. Before he was fired from his job as a Florida Highway Patrol dispatcher for neglect of duty, Curtis attacked a man who had been pulled over by an FHP trooper and attacked the arrested subject with his fists and became so violent that the trooper had to slap McCall to bring him to his senses. McCall said that he didn't even remember hitting the arrested subject.

    Result: Sheriff Boyer and Deputy Wade Coker interviewed McCall at the Sumter County courthouse in Americus, Ga., where he was working as a construction foreman in the early 1960s. McCall told Boyer he never dated Christine. He said he did see her a few weeks before the murder, but she was with Cliff and they had come to ask him about a horse. He said he owned a nine-shot .22-caliber gun at one time, but sold it to someone he couldn't remember. Coker hooked McCall to a polygraph machine. The results showed McCall was nervous. But after two more tests, the only response that gave Coker pause came when he asked: "Have you withheld any information from the law enforcement officers about the Walker murder?" The machine indicated that he had.
    Today, McCall's whereabouts are unknown.
    Don McLeod
    Reason Suspected: Don McLeod, the family friend and neighbor, was an obvious suspect because he was one of the last people to have seen the Walkers alive, and he found the bodies. He was one of the first men hooked to a polygraph machine.
    Result: McLeod passed the test and was allowed to leave about noon the same day.

    A. Delose Smith
    Reason Suspected: His ex-wife told investigators he had once talked to Christine about buying a Jeep. Smith tried to have sex with his ex-wife's teen daughter and had trouble sleeping after the murders, she said, according to Sheriff's reports.
    Result: Investigators scheduled an interview with Smith, who was living in Tennessee, but he blew it off. A friend told detectives that if they wanted him they "would have to come and get him."

    Perry Smith and Dick Hickock
    Reason Suspected: In November 1959, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock broke into a remote ranch home in tiny Holcomb, Kan., in search of thousands of dollars they heard a farmer named Herb Clutter kept in his safe. But there was no safe, so Hickock and Smith killed Clutter, his wife and their two kids. A month later, the men relaxed under a sun umbrella on Miami Beach, where they read about the Walker murders in the Miami Herald, and couldn't believe the similarities. "Amazing!" Smith said, according to Truman Capote's true-crime novel "In Cold Blood." "Know what I wouldn't be surprised? If this wasn't done by a lunatic. Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas."

    Result: When Hickock and Smith were arrested in Las Vegas the following month, they confessed to the Clutter murders, but denied killing the Walkers. Lie-detector tests backed them up. Boyer didn't discount the men, however. Besides the similarities between the two crimes -- including a bloody cowboy boot print at both crime scenes -- Hickock and Smith had been near Sarasota within hours of the Walker murders. In a January 1960 Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, a headline asked, "Have You Seen Them?" Underneath were photos of Hickock and Smith, and a plea from Boyer. If anyone had seen them in the Sarasota area the last two months, he wanted to know. The calls came in, most placing two of the most infamous murderers of the 20th century in Sarasota sometime between Dec. 16 and 20. The Walkers were murdered on Dec. 19. In the end, the evidence wasn't there. Their fingerprints didn't match any from the Walker home. And as Boyer's men pieced together their trip through Florida, they discovered that Hickock and Smith took U.S. 27 to Miami, which would have taken them near, but not through, Sarasota. In March 1960, a Kansas jury decided Hickock and Smith should be "hanged by the neck until dead." Five years later, a hangman carried out the order.

    Wilbur Tooker
    Reason Suspected: Few suspects seemed to fit better than Wilbur Tooker, a 65-year-old retired railroad worker who got a $101 pension check each month and paid $75 of it in alimony. He lived about a mile southwest of the Walker home and, as the family's closest neighbor, had often visited until he made himself unwelcome because he couldn't keep his hands off Christine. Her mother told investigators that Christine "dreaded" Tooker and was afraid of him. Christine had told her sister that the only way to stop Tooker "was with a bullet." A half-dozen of the Walkers' friends and family members recounted to investigators how Tooker had, more than once, manhandled Christine, tried to kiss her and get her into bed. When she finally had enough, Christine told her husband. Cliff wanted to kill Tooker, but a friend talked him out of it. Never one to seek out trouble, Cliff warned Tooker not to come around the house anymore because he couldn't behave like a gentleman. Tooker's friend, William Hosmer, told investigators that Tooker was infatuated with Christine and constantly talked about her. After the murders, Hosmer said, Tooker went to the Walker house twice a week because he needed to "gather counter-evidence to protect himself."

    Result: Detectives retraced Tooker's steps from the afternoon of the murder. He had eaten dinner in Sarasota with a friend, a retired dentist who said they ate sometime between 5 and 7 p.m. That left Tooker with no alibi between 4 and 5 p.m., when the Walkers were killed. After dinner, Tooker arrived at a Bradenton high school no later than 7:45 and played the violin with the West Coast Symphony Orchestra. Investigators asked people in the orchestra if Tooker seemed troubled, or acted oddly. He "is such a poor player that it would never be possible to determine whether Tooker played more poorly on one night than another," said David Cohen, the orchestra's concert master. Tooker died in March 1963 at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Bradenton and was buried in Edgewood, Ill.

    Elbert Walker
    Reason Suspected: Elbert Walker didn't mask his grief when his cousin, Cliff, and Cliff's family were buried in Arcadia a few days after the murders. Elbert wailed during the service and fainted twice, including when Christine's casket passed by him. Family members thought he was faking it, later telling investigators that Elbert had "put on a show" during the funeral. They described Elbert as "wild," especially on drinking binges when he got "rowdy and belligerent." He also fit the profile of a man who secretly loved Christine, they said. Cliff's brother, Clarence, was the most direct: Elbert was "the type of person who would commit a crime of this nature," he said. After the murders, Elbert's behavior fueled speculation that he was the killer. Elbert had been "extremely reluctant to talk about the crime," Cliff's sister, Grace Youmans, told investigators. Once, family members started talking about the murders and "Elbert got up from the room, walked out the door and refused to discuss the crime at all," she said.
    Investigators considered Elbert's actions suspicious on the day the bodies were discovered. On Dec. 20, 1959, Elbert said he came to Osprey from Wauchula to talk with Cliff about a Christmas party his cousin was going to host. Investigators later determined Elbert's story wasn't true. Cliff had never planned a party because he was going to Arcadia for the holidays. When Elbert arrived in Osprey that day, he dropped off a friend at the Ohio Bar, then drove to a nearby gas station, where he approached two men. One of them noted that Elbert's eyes were red and "it looked as though he had had a rough night." "Do you know where Cliff Walker lives?" Elbert asked, according to investigative reports. The question itself was suspicious. Elbert lived at the Walkers' house for months after leaving the military in 1958, and had visited often for cookouts and family get-togethers. He knew how to get there. One of the men broke the news to Elbert that the Walker family had been murdered, then had Elbert follow him to the house. When he arrived, Elbert reacted as if it was the first time he heard about the murders. He sobbed uncontrollably, leaned over the hood of Christine's parked car and buried his head in his arms.

    Result: In September 1962, investigators returned their attention to Elbert, tracking him down in Ridgely, Tenn., where he was employed as a migrant farm worker. First they talked with Elbert's 17-year-old girlfriend, Johnnie Rainey, and her brother. Although Elbert had often talked about the rest of the Walker family, he had never mentioned Christine to them. Rainey said Elbert became "visibly disturbed" when he talked about Cliff, and her brother said Elbert was "crying like a baby" as he explained how Debbie had been drowned in the bathtub. Elbert had also told him that Jimmie didn't die immediately because he "crawled up to his daddy and died," sheriff's reports say. Investigators wondered how Elbert could have known that, and reviewed every story about the Walker murders. They found no references to Jimmie crawling, just that he died "huddled next to his father."
    Elbert was questioned and strapped to a polygraph machine. He passed. Again, in 1987, investigators brought Elbert to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and hooked him to the latest polygraph machine. Once again, Elbert passed. Elbert "is not responsible for the Walker murders," Investigator Valente wrote in his report. He added that "Elbert Walker was extremely cooperative and appreciated the active concern regarding this case's investigation."

    Elbert, now 67, lives in Sebring, where he works for a private security company. He told the Herald-Tribune Saturday that he is innocent. He was surprised to learn that his own family members had told detectives he was guilty, and he had no explanation for why they would believe that. Elbert, who said he has had five bypass surgeries and is suffering the early stages of Parkinson's disease, started crying when he talked about his cousin, Cliff. "Hell, when you were as close as we were, we were like brothers more than cousins," he said. "Cliff is one of the most wonderful guys you ever met. It was such a shock to me that he could have had an enemy." Elbert said he would cooperate with investigators working on the case because he would like to see the killer caught.

    Ozie Youmans
    Reason Suspected: Married to Cliff's sister, he had made sexual advances on Christine. In 1931, he served two years for assault with attempt to rape, sheriff's reports say. "Whenever he saw a woman with whom he thought he could have sexual relations, Youmans would do it, one way or another," investigators noted.
    Result: Passed a polygraph test and was cleared.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Belleville, Michigan
    When I read this story, it made me feel so sad. :*(

    I clicked one of the links in the side bar and saw a picture of the family. They were such a beautiful family. Those kids were just precious!
    What happened to them is heartbreaking. I hope the detectives on the case now can finally bring justice to these people.

    I hope you will post new links as they become available.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Any more recent articles?

    This was a fascinating case, posted a few months back. I read all of the linked articles at the time, but have had a hard time reading them lately.

    Has anyone seen any more recent articles or information?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    47 year anniversary...

    December 20 will mark the 47 year anniversary of the murder of this family.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Chattanooga, TN
    This is the case that led me to WS. I was re-reading "In Cold Blood" and came across the bit about the Walkers. I googled their names, hoping to see that in the years after the book their murders had been solved

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    In Cold Blood

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisahas2cats
    This is the case that led me to WS. I was re-reading "In Cold Blood" and came across the bit about the Walkers. I googled their names, hoping to see that in the years after the book their murders had been solved
    I remember seeing the movie "In Cold Blood" about 1967. It was done in Black and White, and it stayed pretty close to the book by Truman Capote, and to the actual case.

    Robert Blake played the part of killer Perry Smith, and the movie opens with a shot of Blake as Perry sitting in the back of a bus with his foot propped up on the seat in front of him. I still remember some idiot sitting in the row behind me saying to his friend, "That's the shoe they trace him with." (Thanks a lot of spoiling the movie for others!)

    The story is about Perry just getting out of prison and meeting up with his prison buddy, Dick Hickock. Hickock has a scheme to rob a "rich" rancher named Clutter, and the two set out to do that. They go to the Clutter's Kansas farm home, break in, surprise the family (Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter), tie them up and demand that they give up the combination to a non-existant safe. Frustrated and angry, Perry Smith proceeds to kill the entire family.

    The rest of the movie is about the two on the run and the investigation into the Clutter murders.

    This case about the Walkers has some similarities to the Clutter murders and by a big coincidence, Perry and Dick happened to be in a nearby Florida city at the time. Did they do it? Hard to say. They certainly had the background and experience to have done it, but what would have been their motive?

    In the end, the two were hanged in Kansas. They both denied having anything to do with the Walker murders.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    One Suspect Ruled Out Through DNA

    One of the suspects in this case, Elbert Walker, was ruled out through DNA a year ago. It says in the article they have about 20 more suspects to try to get DNA from but there have been no new articles since April 2006 about this case. The link wouldn't work so I copied the whole article below.

    DNA test results complicate 47-year search for a killer

    April 9, 2006
    Section: A SECTION
    Page: A1
    MATTHEW DOIG matthew.doig@heraldtribune.com

    Elbert Walker has lived most of his 68 years as a suspect in one of Sarasota County's most notorious murders.

    Shortly after four of Elbert's relatives were found dead before Christmas in 1959, tongues wagged and fingers pointed at Elbert. Friends, neighbors and even his own close family members thought the worst of him. He was the kind of guy capable of shooting the Walker family -- including the two young children -- they told investigators.

    Today, those accusations seem to be unwarranted.

    A Sarasota County sheriff's detective said that Elbert's DNA does not match that taken from the crime scene, where Christine Walker was raped before she was shot in the head.

    Nearly a half-century of investigative efforts led right to Elbert, making him the best bet to close Sarasota County's oldest unsolved murder case.

    So investigators brought modern techniques to their coldest case last month when they started taking DNA samples from suspects to compare with semen left on Christine's underwear. Elbert had agreed to be among the first tested.

    The results backed up his longtime claims of innocence and ended the notion that DNA might offer a quick resolution to the longest murder investigation in Sheriff's Office history.

    Investigators now must consider less obvious suspects who never drew the scrutiny that Elbert had.

    In an interview this week at his home in Sebring, Elbert settled into a rocking chair and reveled in the idea that questions about his innocence had finally been put to rest.

    "God bless DNA," he said.

    Sarasota sheriff's Lt. Ron Albritton launched the DNA sweep this year following a series about the unsolved case published by the Herald-Tribune.

    Last fall, sheriff's officials agreed to let a Herald-Tribune reporter review investigative files on the Walker murders in the hopes that a story might bring fresh leads to their cold case.

    The stories, which ran near the anniversary of the murders in late December, described the brutal murders of the Osprey family, how the crime shocked the community and how investigators devoted their careers to finding the killer. For the first time, readers learned about many of the suspects in the case, including Elbert, an FPL meter reader and the two killers from Truman Capote's true-crime classic, "In Cold Blood."

    The newspaper also arranged to have DNA tests done for free by a Sarasota company, DNAPrint Genomics, which tested a sample that Elbert agreed to provide to investigators.

    DNAPrint used a swab from Elbert's mouth to generate his DNA profile. That was sent to the state's crime lab for comparison with a profile from the DNA found on Christine's underwear.

    Albritton said the test results show Elbert wasn't the man who sexually assaulted Christine shortly before she was killed, a result that "goes a long way toward ruling him out as the murderer."

    "Common sense says the person who assaulted her was the murderer, and Elbert didn't assault her," Albritton said.

    Elbert said his days as a suspect "better be" over.

    "I've done all I can do," he said. "It come back negative, and I don't want to be bothered anymore. If I can help, I'll do it. But I'm tired of being looked at that way."

    From the day the Walkers were found dead, Elbert's unusual behavior made him the focus of the investigation.

    That day, Elbert unexpectedly showed up at the Walker house while detectives combed the scene. Moments before, he had stopped at a nearby gas station to ask for directions to the house. That raised suspicions because Elbert had lived at the Walker house for a couple of months and had visited often.

    Family members later told investigators they thought Elbert "put on a show" at the Walker funeral, wailing and fainting until he had to be carried away from the service.

    For those reasons and others, Elbert stayed near the top of the list of suspects, even though he passed at least three lie detector tests over the years.

    "There was always the question and doubt about whether he did it," Albritton said. "But the investigative reality was every time Elbert was approached, he cooperated in every way. He did everything asked of him."

    Like many others who followed the investigation, Christine's sister heard the whispers that Elbert was the likely killer. She said it was disappointing to hear the mystery had not been solved.

    "It's good to know one way or the other -- but we were all so sure" that Elbert was guilty, said Novella Cascarella. "I just want to know who, and I want to know why."

    Elbert said he harbors no ill will against the people who told investigators to focus on him. But he said Clarence Walker -- one of Cliff's brothers who believed Elbert was the killer -- is "better at judging cattle than people."

    He also believes that some of the people who were quick to call him a murderer need to follow his lead and submit to a DNA test.

    "Anybody who's got any suspicion at all needs to take one," he said. "If he refuses to take it, he's got something to hide."

    Albritton agreed with that assessment, calling the DNA test the "worst enemy of the person who did it, but the best friend of the people thrown into the list of suspects."

    He said he has a list of roughly 20 people he plans to approach for DNA samples over the next few weeks. The innocent ones should jump at the opportunity to clear their name forever, he said.

    "Who wants to leave that legacy behind, being suspected as the person who killed the Walkers?" Albritton said.

    Don McLeod, the Walker family friend who found their bodies in 1959, used DNA to clear his name as well. McLeod asked to be the first man tested when Albritton started his DNA sweep.

    Because McLeod discovered the dead family, he became an instant suspect. And some detectives over the years kept him high on the list.

    Like Elbert, the DNA test showed McLeod wasn't the man who assaulted Christine.

    "That's damn right. That's the reason I wanted you to put this in the paper," he said. "For all the people who said, 'That's the sum-***** who done it.' "

    Cliff's sister, who knows Elbert and McLeod, said it was a relief that the test results had come back negative.

    "I have really worried about that because I'm very close to both of them," said Grace Yeomans. "I just hated that they had to go through it. I just felt so sorry for them."


    WHAT'S NEW: Since the Herald-Tribune published stories in December on Sarasota County's oldest unsolved murder case, a string of tips have come in that are guiding investigators.

    Dozens of people have contacted the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office to offer information or theories. Among them were two women from different families who said they had always wondered if their father had killed the Walkers. Since DNA from direct relatives is nearly as good as DNA from the suspect himself, each woman agreed to provide a DNA sample. Both tests were negative.

    A total of four people have been DNA tested and found not to match DNA gathered at the crime scene. Among those who tested negative were primary suspect Elbert Walker and Don McLeod, the man who discovered the Walkers' bodies.

    WHAT'S NEXT: Lead investigator Lt. Ron Albritton said he still has high hopes that he will solve the case. He has a list of 20 people he wants to DNA-test in coming months.

    In addition, state crime lab officials have agreed to share DNA information from the Walker murder scene with a private crime lab in Sarasota to speed up DNA testing.

    Elbert Walker was the prime suspect in the unsolved 1959 Walker murders until DNA tests showed he did not rape one of the victims. "I've done all I can do," he said, "It come back negative, and I don't want to be bothered anymore. If I can help, I'll do it. But I'm tired of being looked at that way."

    The 1959 Walker family murder case is the oldest open case at the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Southwestern Maine is home but I'm not there nearly often enough
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    This case about the Walkers has some similarities to the Clutter murders and by a big coincidence, Perry and Dick happened to be in a nearby Florida city at the time. Did they do it? Hard to say. They certainly had the background and experience to have done it, but what would have been their motive?
    Right, I doubt Smith and Hickock had anything to do with this case. They may have committed a horrible crime but they don't fit the profile of either sex offenders or serial killers and thus had little motive to attack the Walkers. Speaking of motives this crime appears to have been about one thing: an armed sexual assault on Christine Walker. From what I gather Christine was expected to be alone at home with her daughter at the time of the attack but her husband and son returned earlier than expected and walked in on a crime in progress.

    If this is true it means that the killer was either familiar with the daily routine of the household or just happened to have gotten wind that the husband would be away for a while, maybe because he had seen him in town or heard about it from the person Walker was visiting, or something similar. In order to have gained this information the murderer would have to have been known by the victims as well as by acquaintances of the victims. Of all the potential suspects it seems to me that Tooker is the most likely but without DNA evidence I don't think it could ever be confirmed. I wonder if there is enough circumstantial evidence to warrant the exhumation of Tooker's remains? Assuming DNA could be collected from his body of course. I don't know if that's possible on a (presumably embalmed) body that's been buried for almost 45 years and may not contain any natural teeth. Back in those days most people of Tooker's age had full dentures.

    I'm afraid no coroner would authorize any exhumations until every surviving suspects DNA is tested.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Southwestern Maine is home but I'm not there nearly often enough
    For some reason the links in the original post don't lead to the story anymore, it seems to have been moved here:


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