Will a FLORIDA cold case finally be solved?

In Cold Blood Exhume

Will a cemetery in Kansas hold the key to an unsolved murder in Florida? I was alerted to this story by one of my regular contributors who hails from Kansas. There are some of you who will remember these particular crimes and find the following of interest. With the aid of DNA and advances in technology, more cold cases are being solved. One more case solved means closure for another family.

Here is a portion of the article. You may read more at the link I am providing.

OSPREY, Fla. (AP) — At the end of 1959, two families of four — one in Kansas, the other in Florida — were brutally murdered.

Two men were arrested, charged and executed in the Kansas case, and writer Truman Capote captured the horrific tale in his iconic true crime book, “In Cold Blood.”

The Florida murder of two parents and two children was investigated by dozens of detectives over the years, but it remained unsolved. Now, a detective is trying to prove that the men who were executed in Kansas were also responsible for the Florida slayings.

“It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” said Sarasota County Sheriff’s detective Kimberly McGath, who began re-investigating the murders of Cliff and Christine Walker and their two young children in 2007.

McGath said there is evidence that points to two men who are now in a Kansas cemetery for executed prisoners: Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.

DNA recovered from semen found on Christine Walker’s underwear could be compared to the remains of Smith and Hickock, said McGath. She is working with Kansas authorities to petition a judge there to approve exhuming the bodies of the two men.


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11 Responses to Will a FLORIDA cold case finally be solved?

  1. Vicky says:

    The caskets were opened today and bones were obtained from both bodies. They did not raise the caskets out of the ground. Hopefully, the DNA from one of these monsters will close the Florida case.
    Law enforcement blocked off entrances to Mt. Muncie during the exhumation process and only cemetery workers and investigators were allowed on the premesis. No media allowed in. The Florida investigators have promised to let the staff at Mt. Muncie know as soon as they have the results.
    Smith and Hickock were the last two men executed in Kansas. The gallos are still at the prison, but lethal injection will be used if anyone else is ever executed at Lansing.
    I know one of the prison guards who prepared both men for execution. He is in his seventies, and tells quite a story about their executions.

  2. Vicky~~I expect the caskets would have caved in and the bones were inside rough boxes. I could be wrong. I think they stopped using hanging as a method of execution in the 50’s around here. The death penalty has been abolished and that even goes for killing a law enforcement officer which used to be Capital punishment.

    The cemetery at the prison where my daughter was a guard was a morbid looking place. Maybe if every little detail on how someone is prepared for their execution should be published. I wonder if it would be a deterrent for some??

  3. Vicky says:

    The original markers for their graves were stolen a number of years ago. The new one’s were set in concrete. They subsequently, recovered the original one’s and the Kansas historical society has them..

  4. cali patti says:

    Interesting. I recall during the VietNam war, body bags were shown almost every night on the news being unload from those large aircraft. Bag after bag. The war was real. I doubt that many young people with this war ever saw a body bag. I thought of that when reading Vicky and Snoops words about the cemetery and the boxes.

  5. Karen C. says:

    I have a signed 1st edition of Capote’s book, have read it many times. And the movie is a classic! Must admit that although no one seems to have a problem attributing the worst of human behavior to Hickock, it’s more difficult imagining Perry involved in the deaths of two very small children, and not needing to say something to someone about it. What a horrible, horrible crime.

  6. cali patti says:

    Karen C.~ A signed 1st edition, I’m jealous! I love books and have reread a few. It is interesting how the female detective in Florida was able to put the pocket knife found on one of the men in Las Vegas when they were picked up back, to the family in Florida. In reading Capote’s book, is there a mention of the pocket knife being on one of the men?

  7. I rec’d the following from a source who was present when the bodies were exhumed… You may find it of interest…

    [Thought you might want a run down on yesterday.
    6:45 Met at the LPD for a briefing in which discussions were held as to how we would procede. Expectations were shared and information provided by me as to what we should expect to find.
    7:15 Debbie called to tell me the school bus had left. She also told me of a high amount of beeper activity indicating a lot of car traffic.
    7:30 Upon arival, the front gate was closed and the LPD and I did a sweep of the cemetery.
    7:45 The exhumation of Perry Smith began. There were no surprises as the condition was about what was expected. We worked on this one until about 10:00. For lack of a better term, we got the KBI in the ball park and they took over.
    10:00 The exhumation of Richard Hickock began. Again, no real surprised here. This one went a little quicker having just done one and meeting similar conditions.
    11:40 Back fill of both graves began.
    1:15 I attended a press conference at Lansing City Hall.
    2:00 At the end of the press conference I came right back as I knew the press would be arriving.
    Channel 41 did 2 live shots from here at 4:30 and 5:00.
    Times are approximate. I do not have a firm number of visitors turned away but at this time we believe it to be a low number.
    Things went very well. We had several discussions here and laid out what we had hoped would happen and what could happen. The crew was reminded once again that they were not to discuss with anyone what they did or saw.
    Today is the 53rd anniversary of the killings of the Walker family.
    This has caused some controversy in certain circles as to whether or not this was needed, waste of time, etc. The point from our perspective is, we had no choice.]

  8. “In Cold Blood” got closer to “Cold Case” Tuesday as officials from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and a sheriff’s office in Florida exhumed the bodies of two murderers buried in Lansing’s Mount Muncie Cemetery.

    Read more here and see pic of graves….

    KBI exhumes ‘In Cold Blood’ killers

  9. The following video is a must see. It shows Smith and Hickcock and all the victims from both Kansas and Florida. There is also an article at this link…

    “In Cold Blood” Killers’ Bodies Exhumed for Evidence in Florida Case

  10. cali patti says:

    Interesting reads. I was pleased and surprised to read in your timed statement that LE does consider the cost of and time involved in what they are doing, if it is cost effective. That was one of my first thoughts but dismissed my thinking as being “wrong.”

  11. Karen C. says:

    Cali Patti- These guys carried knives routinely (you never know when you need to rough someone up, cut rope, threaten someone or slash tires), but the items that linked them to the Kansas case were their shoe-prints in the blood and the radio they had stolen and pawned- it had identifying marks on it. Hickock had wanted to rape the daughter and Perry admitted to the actual shootings as a kind of mercy killing, before Hickock could do that to her. Once that occurred they went whole hog on the rest. Hickock tried to weasel out by saying that Perry was the actual gunman- no one much thought of Perry as someone who would take the initiative and actually kill someone though, that Hickock was the “leader” of the two.

    If they were involved in the Florida case I can only imagine that the little ones were killed by Perry also as a “mercy Killing” of sorts, if Hickock was brutalizing the mother. Perry had been terribly abused himself as a kid. It is hard to imagine Perry not having to say something to someone though as it would have been a very heavy burden and he was talkative.

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