07-24-2008, 07:32 PM #1
Omaha double murder
We have a very baffling unsolved murder case over 120 days old here
Hope the links work!
I have some personal concern here as I have an elderly relative
living near the crime scene. The Omaha police in the first 30 days since
this happened released a lot of conflicting statements and the
general feeling was and still is that they are just stumbling around. The parents
of the child are both prominent doctors and there seems to be some
attempt to stifle this story. The local paper ran stories for a
couple days then a brief one the day the victims were buried,
a followup 60 days later nothing since. They would not even print letters to the editor. In 30 years of living here I have never seen such a clampdown.
Something is very wrong here.
I realize four months doesn't make a cold case but there is just
something very strange going on here. If anyone has any ideas or
wants to discuss this case your comments are welcome. God Bless
07-24-2008, 08:13 PM #2
Welcome to Websleuths Snick
I am just going to read your links now but from the little you have wrote it sounds very interesting.Rest in Peace Baby P xx
07-24-2008, 08:32 PM #3
Reply to yours
I have been interested - my family says obsessed- by this case ever since it happened. I will post a few more links tommorrow including one to a story on 'True Crime Diary'- that moderator has an interesting theory that this was an angry former med student who blamed the boy's parents for his failure to make residency.
There are persistant rumors in town that Ms Sherman was involved in some way with drug dealing and this was reprisal for something in that connection. Let me know what you think.
07-25-2008, 07:34 AM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- Houston, TX
Interesting. Please keep us posted.
07-25-2008, 09:38 AM #5
I read your links Snick. I wonder who the man was and why he would want to kill an 11 year old boy and a housekeeper who were unrelated to each other if in fact he did kill them. He has not come forward anyway and there does not seem to be too many details.
What do the locals say about this story and who do you think is trying to stifle it?
That poor boy just a kid too, I can't work out a motive for this crime at allRest in Peace Baby P xx
07-25-2008, 12:27 PM #6
Omaha Double Murder
Paste from True Crime Diary.
It's the kid that gets me, too. I am in my early 60's but have a son the same age. He looks a lot like the victim. I have found myself spending more time with him in the last few months. Anyway:
The Man with the Briefcase
Date Published 05.05.08
The Honda CR-V was gray. Or maybe silver. Around 3:20 p.m. it was observed starting and stopping along the street, as if the driver were searching for an address.
The Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood, in central Omaha, is known for its sprawling, early 20th century homes. Historic details abound. The streetlights are old-style, cast-iron globes; each summer the local preservation society hangs 475 identical flower baskets on them. Dundee is considered one of Omaha’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Warren Buffett lives there.
The driver, finding the address he wanted, pulled over to the curb and parked.
A dark-haired, olive-skinned man got out of the car. He was wearing a black coat and carrying a briefcase. He walked up to 303 54th Street, where the Hunter family lives. Drs. William and Claire Hunter are physicians and faculty members at Creighton University Medical Center. They have four sons, but only Thomas, 11, still lived at home.
On this afternoon, Thursday, March 18, Thomas had arrived home from school a little after 3 p.m., as he usually did. Also in the house was Shirlee Sherman, 57, the Hunter's longtime housekeeper.
Sherman opened the front door and let the man in the black coat with the briefcase inside. Later, a neighbor observed the man walking back to his car. He didn't appear to be in a rush or agitated.
William Hunter's call to 911 came in at 5:48 p.m. He'd returned home from work and found the bodies of Sherman and his eleven-year-old son. They'd been murdered --- stabbed to death inside the house.
Very few details have been released in the Dundee double slaying. Family members and friends came forward to describe the victims as bright, funny and sweet (Thomas), and strong, shy and giving (Sherman). Neither one was a likely murder victim. Robbery didn’t appear to be the motive either. Police admitted they were stumped, though they quickly eliminated William Hunter and his wife, who was out of town at the time of the murders, as suspects.
The man in the black coat with the briefcase was the best lead, as several neighbors saw him. Police released a composite sketch.
Composite sketch of suspect
But more than six weeks later, police are no closer to identifying the suspect, or even a motive.
When asked if he’s optimistic about solving the case, Lt. Gerald Hawley of the Omaha Police Department sighed. “Optimistic? I don’t know,” he said. “I'm hopeful.”
Hawley said that investigators aren't certain who the intended target was, which suggests that Thomas and Sherman's injuries were roughly similar. Interestingly, when asked about Sherman's routine, Hawley said it varied; she was known to work weekdays, but the time of day varied. The implication hung in the air.
The suspect apparently had the Hunter’s address, as evidenced by his starting and stopping along the street, and was targeting them specifically. He was well dressed and drove a nice car. This was no burglar. Burglars don’t normally carry knives --- too messy, too much risk.
The murders were likely motivated by intense anger and a need for revenge.
Who might be both professional looking and have it out for the Hunters?
Drs. William and Claire Hunter are physicians, but more importantly they’re professors at Creighton University Medical Center. William directs the Pathology Residency Program, and Claire is the associate program director for evaluation and credentialing in the Department of Medicine, along with directing the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program. It’s reasonable to assume they exert control over the career paths of many young, overachieving doctors-to-be.
It’s inevitable, in the high-pressure atmosphere of medical training, that hopes are occasionally dashed. People are told they don’t have what it takes. Years of relentless study and training appear to go down the drain.
It may be a coincidence, but the murders occurred exactly one week before Residency Match Day, the annual ritual on the third Thursday in March when graduating medical students learn at which hospitals they will train in their new specialties as residents.
It’s a famously emotional day, as thousands of medical students around the country unseal their envelopes at the same time and learn their fate.
If a student wasn’t graduating, or he hadn’t been granted the residency interviews that precede Match Day, the third Thursday of March would loom as a bitter reminder of his failure. He might cast around for someone to blame.
"That's definitely a theory we're looking into," Lt. Hawley said.
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07-25-2008, 06:48 PM #7
The way this man was dressed he sounds like he could be a Doctor too.
The motive is hard to fathom but I agree it was definately something to do with the two parents. This is an area the Police should be concentrating on. It would be interesting to hear what the parents have to say, they should know if they had any issues or personal problems at work. It definately sounds like a personal crime but why they had to take it out on the child I dont know.
From the way the man was driving up and down the street, its obvious he had an address but hadnt been there before. He knew what house he was looking for though.
I'd still like to know why the general feeling that these murders or the investigation into them is being stifled and stifled by who....The Police? The Parents?
I am going to go do some digging soon and see if I can find anymore articles or info. Its not right that this man whoever he is has not come forward which leads to the belief he must be the killer and I hope he doesnt get away with killing this poor child or this lady.Rest in Peace Baby P xx
07-25-2008, 08:04 PM #8
Reply to yours
The lack of any discernable motive is what makes this all so maddening. Shirlee's purse was on the counter and untouched. Nothing was apparently taken from the house. I think I mentioned rumors that this was drug related, that Shirlee had become involved in that due to one of her daughters owing money to drug dealers; that may well be but this seems way too personal and angry to have been a hit job. One idea I had was that Thomas may have spent a lot of time on line doing fantasy gaming, he may have angered someone unstable who pretended to want to drop off something but killed him in some pathetic attempt to look like a 'Ninja warrior'. If you look at the suspect's picture he could be 19 or 20. I think Dr. Hunter was crossed off early on, assume they have proof of his being at the college when this happened.
The rumors about a coverup began about a week or two following the crime when it became apparent that local media was trying to bury the story. One local TV station had a news comment board and some poster expressed the opinion that this case was being treated differently because of the parent's positions in the community. I have tried to cut the boy's parents a lot of slack all along- this must have been a profound shock to them. I do find it odd however that they have been so silent. I think I posted the second news article in which Dr Hunter submitted a statement by email- he doesn't sound terribly fired up about persuing the truth. But that's perhaps unfair, I just don't know. I don't think they are living in the house now, I have driven past and taken a picture or two- it looks cared for but unlived in, understandable.
If you would want to research this a bit I can send you copies of some emails I received from a local reporter and a couple others. I don't think those ought to be publicly posted without their permission. Thanks for the interest.
07-25-2008, 08:09 PM #9
After my last post I went back and realized I had not posted this article, it has lots of detail:
More than 2½ months have passed since the stabbing deaths of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and 57-year-old Shirlee Sherman, with no word of an arrest or even a possible suspect.
But Omaha police say it's not for lack of trying.
Police have received more than 160 tips about the deaths through Crime Stoppers and other phone calls - a dozen leads in just the past two weeks.
No detail too minor in pursuit of killer
If you have information — any information — that could be related to the slayings of Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman, call the police.
Police say they welcome tips, even if the details seem trivial. Those details, police say, could connect to another piece of information. That in turn could lead to something else, which ultimately could help solve the case.
If you think you have a name to go with the sketch (shown here), police ask that you explain in your call why you think the person might be involved.
People with tips can contact Omaha Crime Stoppers at 444-STOP or online at omahacrimestoppers.net. A $25,000 reward will be paid for information that leads to the killer's arrest. "We continue to get tips, and we continue to follow up on these immediately," said Mary Newman, an Omaha deputy police chief.
The Omaha Police Department's homicide unit has seven detectives and a sergeant on the case. And they are getting outside help: The Douglas County Sheriff's Office crime lab and the local and national offices of the FBI are part of the investigative team.
The county crime lab is processing evidence from the crime scene. And the FBI is providing expertise in two specific areas: computer forensics and behavioral profiling.
The boy's father, Dr. William Hunter III, found the bodies of his son and Sherman, the family's housekeeper, inside the house when he arrived home from work March 13. He called police just before 5:50 p.m.
Police have not released much information about the case, saying they don't want to jeopardize their investigation. However, interviews with law enforcement officials familiar with the case and public records provide some details:
• Thomas and Sherman each died of multiple stab wounds to the neck.
• The boy's body was found in the dining room.
• Police found Thomas' video game, set on "pause," in the basement.
• Sherman's body was found about 20 feet from the dining room, in a first-floor hallway. A bucket of cleaning supplies was a few feet from her body.
• Police recovered knives from the crime scene.
Police have not yet been able to identify the man depicted in a composite sketch that was released within days of the killings.
About two hours before the bodies were discovered, neighbors saw a dark-haired, olive-skinned man with a dark coat and briefcase walk to the Hunter front porch at 303 N. 54th St. Some neighbors later saw the man return to a gray or silver sport utility vehicle parked on the street.
Newman said police gladly will take more tips if people "can identify the composite drawing or the vehicle." The vehicle and composite are "still very important to us."
The FBI's behavioral science unit at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va., is helping in trying to identify the killer.
To develop a profile of the killer, FBI agents analyze the circumstances of the killings, the weapons and other unusual factors. Officials would try to determine why both the boy and his family's housekeeper were slain, said Gary Plank, a recently retired criminal profiler with the Nebraska State Patrol.
"You are not blaming them, but you ask 'Why would those people be victimized?' " said Plank, who is not part of this investigation. "The boy may not be the target. It would be very odd if both victims, as a combination, were singled out."
Because it's possible the killer was aiming his rage and aggression toward one or both of the boy's parents, FBI agents also would try to determine whether they could have been the intended targets, Plank said.
William Hunter is a professor and residency program director for Creighton University Medical Center's department of pathology. His wife, Dr. Claire Hunter, is an associate professor of medicine and director of Creighton's cardiovascular fellowship training program. Thomas was a sixth-grader at King Science and Technology Magnet Center.
Besides the criminal profiling, the FBI's computer forensics unit typically examines computer hard drives, laptops and personal e-mail accounts of people who have a connection to the victims - such as friends, relatives or acquaintances - or those who could be considered suspects.
The FBI would pay close attention to any online correspondence of the victims or their families, particularly if there were indications of threats, intimidation or verbal harassment, bureau officials said.
The FBI rarely gets involved in an Omaha homicide investigation, but federal agents helped in two recent cases: the probe into the death of Amber Harris, the 12-year-old north Omaha girl whose remains were found in a park in May 2006; and the prosecution of two large-scale marijuana dealers from Omaha, who were convicted of shooting three out-of-state men in Omaha in May 2005 and burning their bodies.
Since the FBI came on board in early April, FBI agents have entered extensive details about the slayings and what they believe they know about the killer into their national crime database and investigative matrix.
The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, known as ViCAP, is a nationwide data information center used to collect and analyze homicides. Cases may appear random or motiveless, but the information is entered to allow investigators to compare details from similar crimes that have been logged by other police departments across the country.
Newman said the Omaha police detectives assigned to the Dundee case continue to investigate other unsolved slayings. She said she wants the community to realize that clearing the case with an arrest is of the greatest importance to police.
"In every homicide, there is a loss, because a family just lost a loved one. We feel a responsibility to the victims and their families," Newman said.
Omaha Police Lt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez said detectives aren't frustrated by the case.
"They're not frustrated," she said, "they're just diligent."
Meanwhile, the housekeeper's family remains optimistic that the killer will be identified.
"We feel Shirlee's case will eventually be solved, and we're willing to be patient, although it can be hard sometimes," said Brad Waite of Omaha, Sherman's brother.
"Right now, the police detectives don't have a true road to follow," Waite said. "We don't know if this was a targeted killing, a serial killer or a house selected at random because it was easy pickings being in a nice, quiet neighborhood."
In a brief e-mail note, William Hunter said his family maintains regular contact with homicide detectives but had not heard any noteworthy information about the case. "We do not know what happened," Hunter wrote. "The neighbors, schools, the university and the community have been very supportive. Our hearts go out to Shirlee's family also, and the police would appreciate any information or tips from the public."
07-25-2008, 08:16 PM #10
I have never researched a case before. All I have ever done here is read and post but I guess it is called "WebSLEUTHS" lol so I can at least try. There are some great researchers on this site, its a pity we couldnt get them involved in this. I have no idea where to even start though I guess Google is my best bet
I didnt know about Shirlee and the drug connection but like you I think thats unlikely anyway as why would they kill the child. They could have gone after her anywhere. Besides I dont think I ever came across a drugs killing where the killer looked like a doctor carrying a briefcase! Unless of course, that was the general idea so neighbors would just THINK he was a Doctor
I also cant understand why just because the parents have standing in the community that this would be kept stifled, you'd think if anything that would give them more publicity and a better chance of getting it solved.
The fact the parents have not said much is also strange.
The whole case is very bizarre really. When I get some time this weekend I will go on a "hunt" and see if I can find anything.Rest in Peace Baby P xx
07-27-2008, 08:40 PM #11
One thing that has bothered me since this hit the news: this guy, if he was the killer, would have been covered in blood, or so you'd think. Yet he calmly walks out, apparently with nothing to indicate he'd just killed two people in a grsily manner. How did he manage that?
One idea I have had for some time, maybe he had a change of clothes in the briefcase. If so that'd indicate a high level of planning ahead. But then, he leaves the knives??
I think the police should be looking for a very bright, very mentally ill young man, probably with some medical training or background.
By the way the first thing I noticed when I stopped by the crime scene is that it would be impossible for anyone to leave the home without going out the front way. There is a back yard but with a high fence all around. No one else was seen leaving that afternoon so I think it's clear this guy did it. Why is the question, not to say who is he??
Yes this case is bizarre- it's one of those that you feel you've gone through the looking glass on and nothing is quite what it appears.
This murder site is just a short distance from Warren Buffett's home which may account for some of the way it has been handled, not saying any connection there but it just adds to the strangeness.
Somewhere on my computer I have obituaries for the victims listing names of other family members. If anyone wants this I can post it, someone better than I at digging out information on people may be able to come up with something. Some have felt there was something a little strange about the boy's older siblings.
07-29-2008, 06:42 PM #12
Thomas C. Hunter
HUNTER-Thomas C., age 11 years, Omaha. Survived by parents, Drs. William and Claire Hunter; 3 brothers: Timothy, Tacoma, WA, Robert, New York City, Jeffrey, Omaha; aunts: Patricia Theisen, San Bernardino, CA, Kathleen Corkery, Reno, NV, Barbara Johnson, San Juan Capistrano, CA, Vicky Williams and husband, Matt, Clio, CA.
Services Wed., 11 AM, St. John Catholic Church at Creighton University. Private Interment, Evergreen Memorial Park. Memorials to "Thomas C. Hunter Memorial Fund." The family will receive friends Tues., 6-8 PM at the Church HEAFEY-HEAFEY-HOFFMANN
WEST CENTER CHAPEL
78th & West Center 391-3900
If anyone is into research you could do worse than try to dig up something on the brothers- I keep wondering if one of them may have owed money to the wrong people or something like that.
08-13-2008, 06:50 PM #13
This may be nothing- but I have a gut feeling about the man arrested in this case:
Same thing- attack in daylight in a home, defenseless people, double killing, drugs involved. If the same guy, this time he got caught. Another account I read was that they found a briefcase with wigs in his possession. He tried to kill himself with a knife.
I have sent an email to the Omaha Police suggesting they talk to this guy. He may have been incarcarated at the time of the Omaha killings but if so I have not found reference to it. Maybe my imagination is working overtime but I just have this feeling.
09-11-2008, 03:55 PM #14Registered User
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Thank you for posting on this case. I have been wondering also, why this case has so quickly gone from the headlines. I had not heard the theories on this case. However, with the way it has been "covered up" it does make you wonder about family connections...is someone being protected?
09-11-2008, 04:00 PM #15Registered User
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