MS MS - Five Unsolved Murders in Columbus, Mississippi, 1996-1998

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by hopetohelp, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. hopetohelp

    hopetohelp New Member

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    I saw a show on this - 48 hours, 20/20, one of those types. At any rate, it just really struck me that we have these five elderly souls killed in their own homes, and I've seen very little media and information online. As far as I know, the case has become cold, and it's just so sad. And it must be terrified for the other elder people in that town. Here are the names of the victims:
    7-8-96 Mack Fowler, age 78, retired farmer, found stabbed and strangled (in his kitchen)
    11-2-97 George Wilbanks, age 75, retired, found stabbed and strangled in his home.
    10-13-98 Robert Hannah, age 61, retired hospital cafeteria worker, found hog-tied, gagged and strangled in his home. He was found when his house caught on fire. It was found that after the murder, someone had turned his gas on.
    10-21-98 Louise Randall, age 80, retired owner of a small grocery store, found hog-tied, gagged and strangled in her home. Additionally, she had a sock shoved down her throat. The gas was turned on her home as well. Mrs. Randall had been mobility impaired and clearly had a wheelchair ramp outside her home.
    11-17-98 Betty Everett, age 67, worked as a beautician at the Trinity Retirement Center, found murdered in her home. Reportedly, she had also been hog-tied and strangled, and the gas was found turned on in her home.
    --------
    There did not appear to be anything missing from any of the five homes. There were no signs of forced entry and it appeared that they had let the killer into their homes. All five lived alone. All five lived within a mile of each other.

    LE now feels (or did in 2000) that only the Everett and Randall cases are related. (Which I think is weird by the way. At the very least, the Hannah case would seem related to Everett and Randall. Hannah was hog-tied, killed the same way, and his murder was during the same time frame as Everett and Randall. I think all five could be related, but I definitely think the last three are).

    Here are some links to some media on the case:
    http://s2.excoboard.com/exco/thread.php?forumid=122599&threadid=1788423
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/06/26/48hours/main209570.shtml

    It was probably not helpful to the continuity of the investigation of this case that the police chief was involved in embezzling funds during the time period:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/06/26/48hours/main209573.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

    Some things I have wondered about. Are there any medical ties between these folks? One of them had worked at a hospital cafeteria, one was still working at a nursing home, and one was mobility impaired. Maybe these folks saw the same people in the health industry there, or maybe the killer is somehow involved in health care.

    Secondly, in what types of industries do people learn/use a hog-tie? That might be something to look at.

    Third, I believe there is a military base nearby. It strikes me that all of the murders happened within a limited amount of time and then stopped. I wonder if anyone with problems transferred onto that base and then left after the killings, transferred somewhere else. I think that's about it in terms of my thoughts so far on this case. It just really makes me sad (and angry) that these folks have had no justice, and that the elderly people in this town are probably still in fear.
     
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  3. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I saw the show on this too and have considered putting a thread up about it but never got around to it. For 5 unsolved murders in one small town it certainly did not get the attention I would have expected. I tend to think they are all related. As I recall the son of one of the women killed was a suspect for awhile. i don't know if he still is or not.

    I think you make some interesting observations. It is rare for a serial killer to just suddenly stop (although it does happen) which makes it seem very plausible the killer could have been part of the military and was stationed nearby until he was transferred.

    It would be interesting to find out if they were all connected somehow to the same person. Did any of them have any nurses coming to their houses? Could that same person be affliated with the nursing home where one of the victims still worked?

    The fact there was no forced entry seems to indicate they knew and trusted their killer enough to let them inside. However, being a small town I wonder how many of them left their doors unlocked.
     
  4. future criminologist

    future criminologist Active Member

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    bumping...I can't believe there isn't more info on these murders, or people asking about them, other than the 48 Hours special (which I saw tonight and piqued my interest in it).
    I googled it and couldn't find anything either.

    Maybe the killer who "stopped" either moved and started it somewhere else, or was jailed for another crime around that time, and thus was never connected to these murders? Detectives should check the inmate rolls for anyone sent to jail right after the last murder.
     
  5. future criminologist

    future criminologist Active Member

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    Or, they should connect with cold case LE in other cities for similar crimes - elderly, hog-tied, no sexual motive, gas turned on.
     
  6. jlittlern

    jlittlern New Member

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    I know this is a very old thread but just thought I would throw this out there. I worked in Columbus for several years as a nurse and took care of an elderly gentlemen whose son worked under the police chief when the murders started. I was at home one Saturday and saw the rerun on TV and made a note to talk to him about it when I saw him next. He told me that they were almost 100% positive it was a drifter but they never had any evidence to put any of the murders on him. Also, apparently when the drifter left, the murders stopped. The police had been putting a significant amount of pressure on him and soon after he left, or died. Now with that being said, I still don't understand the lack of forced entry. Being from that area, I suppose it is possible that they left their doors unlocked, but could be more plausible that people around there are so friendly and would have just opened the door regardless of whether they knew the killer or not. I lived in the nearby town of Starkville, MS for seven years and while there I inquired about a house that was perpetually for sale. I mentioned it to a coworker that the house just rolled from owner to owner. She, being a life long native, informed me that there had been a double murder in the home, and reportedly the house was haunted. She went on to tell me an elderly woman and her daughter had been murdered there. Apparently it was QUITE the horrific scene. Both had been sexually assaulted and according to people called to the scene there was blood everywhere. Now, the rumor there is that a professor at Mississippi State (college in Starkville) had adopted a son who was known to be a "weirdo" who had mental issues and he quickly had become a person of interest as he had a social link to the mother. Apparently, to save face, the professor had his son sent overseas ( I believe I was told Ireland ) to avoid prosecution/embarrassment. People in Starkville claimed there could be a connection between this adopted young man and the Columbus murders that had not been thought of before the murder in Starkville happened (also, to this day unsolved).
     
  7. LR1

    LR1 Active Member

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    Speaking of the Starkville murders LE has just released a age enhanced computer-generated composite image of a person of interest in that case. The article also states they are working with Interpol and certain countries overseas to see if their DNA databanks can be of some use. So the rumor you speak of might hold some truth to it.

    here's the article with the poi image.

    http://www.wtva.com/news/local/story/Police-release-suspect-composite-in-cold-case/PW1w1SwN_Ue1JsDccThIyA.cspx
     
  8. tlambs

    tlambs New Member

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  9. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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  10. tarabull

    tarabull Life is a puzzle.

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    Just reviewing & adding to the arrest of Eanest Talley:

    Suspect in Elderly Murders Surrenders

    Snipped...
    http://packet-media.com/2012/07/suspect-in-elderly-murders-surrenders/

    (Back to reading the case history)
     
  11. tarabull

    tarabull Life is a puzzle.

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  12. OkieGranny

    OkieGranny New Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    From February 2013:

    http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=22001

     
  13. tarabull

    tarabull Life is a puzzle.

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    Dark Minds Episode:
    [video=youtube;1KGFBQ3kEaM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KGFBQ3kEaM[/video]
     
  14. Renzolla

    Renzolla New Member

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