Cases kept warm
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June 22, 2008 - 12:27AM
DAILY NEWS STAFF
When detectives with the Jacksonville Police Department say they keep cold case homicide files "within arms length," they are not speaking figuratively.
Each cold case file is kept in boxes or a filing cabinet in Lt. Patrick Traitor's office in the detective division at the police department.
And at least one file can be found open on Capt. Gary Dixon's desk at any given time.
"I review cold case homicides constantly," he said Friday. "I'm aware of the facts and circumstances of all the cold cases we have."
Dixon said major reviews of cold cases are mostly lead driven, however different detectives are assigned to review different cases on a yearly basis and more often when time permits.
"This is the only way that you can have objective evaluations of the cases to determine if things were missed during the initial investigation that need to be followed up on now," Dixon said.
Since leads dry up quickly in a homicide investigation, a majority of the time cold case detectives are limited to reading through the files, researching possible connections and re-interviewing witnesses if they are available, Dixon said.
The Onslow County Sheriff's Department takes a similar approach to looking at cold cases.
"Some puzzles take longer to see how the pieces fit together," said Sheriff's Capt. Rick Sutherland.When a case is exhausted of leads, detectives look at another one, he said.
"We try not to have more cases open than we have resources," Sutherland said.
The Daily News has featured nine so far in a special cold case series. The following is a recap of those cases:
Bruce Edwards Meyers, 59, disappeared June 1, 1974. His body was removed from a tributary off the Intracoastal Waterway behind what is now Herrings Outdoor Sports at 701 N. New River Drive on July 20 of that year.
Meyers, a fry cook at Barnacle Bill's Pier, could not swim, and investigators said the people who remember him said Meyers would never go near the water.
The Surf City Police Department recently received information from a former resident who said the drowning was not accidental.
Brian Bogle was found stabbed to death in his taxi Nov. 12, 1986.
His cab was parked in front of Brynn Marr Village Apartments at Village Drive and Pine Valley Road. He still had his wallet, watch, wedding ring and fare money when his body was discovered.
Bogle, a native of New York, was a Navy veteran who had been stationed at Camp Lejeune.
Marine Staff Sgt. Andre Bullen, 26, and Nigel Bullen, 23, were shot multiple times with an assault rifle in September 2005 when they entered their Hunters Ridge Drive home.
The double-homicide was gang-related, investigators said.
The Bullens' roommate, Leslee Calixte, an active-duty Marine at the time, remains a person of interest in the case.
Sharon Sager, 34, Tyler Dash, 13, and Connie Smith, 12, were found with their throats slit in base housing aboard Camp Lejeune in 1981.
Federal investigators say they know who killed the three family members, but a series of jurisdictional technicalities prevented them from ever prosecuting their suspect - Carlton "Butch" Smith, a relative of the three victims who was 15 years old at the time.
However, reporters who covered the case as it unfolded say there was evidence that suggested someone else committed the grisly homicides - a bearded man who military authorities looked for, but never found.
Jane Doe in case 95-7000, an unidentified female skeleton, was found by a surveyor in 1995 in the woods behind Courts Plus on Marine Boulevard.
Jacksonville police have not ruled out foul play as the cause of death, but the woman's death has not been ruled a homicide since her skull and other bones show no overt sign of injury.
Found with the skeleton were some subway tokens, a motel room key, white Nike tennis shoes, a pair of eyeglasses, a red sweat shirt, black jeans, and some jewelry.
Katherine McFadden, 18, was found dead, her body badly decomposed and wrapped in a mattress pad aboard Camp Lejeune in November 1980.
McFadden dropped out of school during her senior year to go to work on Court Street as a prostitute. She returned to school and graduated, but returned to Court Street during the summer of 1980.
The NCIS Cold Case Unit is evaluating the possibility of reactivating the investigation after inquiries and information from The Daily News, said Paul O'Donnell, a spokesman for NCIS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Shannon Clegg, 16, and Detric Howard, 20, were found dead in Howard's mobile home on Lake Cole Road in 1999.
A cold case investigation into the double homicide led detectives with the Sheriff's Department to the leader of a major drug trafficking operation. Jonathan Wilson is serving nine years in prison after a 2004 conviction for running a continued criminal enterprise.
Detectives obtained a taped confession from Wilson, but prosecutors say the recording is too distorted to be used in court.
Princess Ann Allen was shot and killed on a street behind the Jacksonville Police Department in January 1993.
Police saw a compact silver-colored car leave the scene.
Allen was believed to be a prostitute working the downtown bus station at the time. Investigators said there are people in Jacksonville who know what happened to her.
Crime Stoppers of Onslow County is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest in any of the preceding cold cases. Anyone with information can call 910-938-3273. Callers do not have to reveal their identities.
The Onslow County Sheriff's Department can be reached at 910-455-3113. The Jacksonville Police Department can be reached at 910-455-4000. The Surf City Police Department can be reached at 910-328-7711. NCIS can be reached at 910-451-8071.
Contact crime reporter Lindell Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-554-8534. Read Lindell's blog at http://onslowcrime.encblogs.com