Police continue to investigate leads in 2013's unsolved murders - WRBL

Police continue to investigate leads in 2013's unsolved murders

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Investigators are still looking to make an arrest in the Thursday night shooting of David Scott. The case is one of many with questions left to be answered.

There have been 16 homicides in Columbus this year, but only 11 of them are considered cleared. Police say the remaining five are still actively being investigated, while the killers remain on the loose.

The five homicides of 2013 that have not been considered solved are on the constantly growing list of active investigations.

More than 100 people attended a vigil for Scott Sunday night, and they're calling for action from authorities, but Major Stan Swiney says sometimes finding a killer takes time.

"You look at everyone who has the possibility of being involved," says Swiney. "You've got motive, method and opportunity, and anyone who fits those categories is going to be looked at and investigated."

The 2011 murder of Steve Toms took more than a year to solve, but investigators were actively following leads. They finally apprehended Michael Jerome Johnson in July.

Swiney says, "Sometimes it's a dead end. Sometimes you lose a suspect and develop another as you do your investigation. It's just a matter of, follow your lead until its logical conclusion then find another lead."

Major Gene Hillhouse adds, "Bottom line is, we keep somebody on all homicides as long as it takes. They're never forgotten, they're never closed down."

If the leads run out, however, it becomes a cold case. The cold case unit of the Columbus Police Department consists of three investigators under Major Hillhouse.

They have about 75 cases dating back as far as 1973. Each file is reviewed periodically for new information, and sometimes it pays off.

DNA evidence pinned Kareem Lane as former school superintendent Jim Burns's killer 18 years after the 1992 murder.

"It was changes in technology and those kinds of things that helped us do that," says Swiney, "and murders is one of those cases that are never closed."

Hillhouse says, "There's experts available that wasn't available 20 years ago that have different backgrounds, different training, that's able to give expert opinions on the meanings of different things."

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Campaign 2014: Election results

    Campaign 2014: Election results

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:50 AM EDT2014-07-23 04:50:42 GMT
    Track the latest election resultnumbers as they come into the WRBL News 3 newsroom.Catch live "Campaign 2014" updates throughout the night on WRBL News 3 television or streaming at http://wrbl.com/live. WRBL News 3 Nightwatch will have a complete recap starting at 11/10c.
    Track the latest election resultnumbers as they come into the WRBL News 3 newsroom.Catch live "Campaign 2014" updates throughout the night on WRBL News 3 television or streaming at http://wrbl.com/live. WRBL News 3 Nightwatch will have a complete recap starting at 11/10c.
  • 18 arrested so far in Anderson County drug roundup

    18 arrested so far in Anderson County drug roundup

    Eighteen people have been arrested so far as part of a round up in Anderson County after a grand jury returned indictments on 26 people on drug charges.
    Eighteen people have been arrested so far as part of a round up in Anderson County after a grand jury returned indictments on 26 people on drug charges.
  • LaGrange police looking for woman in hit-and-run case

    LaGrange police looking for woman in hit-and-run case

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:15:02 GMT
    Police need your help identifying this womanPolice need your help identifying this woman
    LaGrange Police need your help identifying a woman.
    LaGrange Police need your help identifying a woman.
  • On Your SideMore>>

  • Opelika high schooler charged with murder after teen shot and killed

    Opelika high schooler charged with murder after teen shot and killed

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:36 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:36:43 GMT
    Vantavious Quintez, 17, of Opelika, is accused of shooting Alizah Ellis, also 17, of Opelika, Monday.Vantavious Quintez, 17, of Opelika, is accused of shooting Alizah Ellis, also 17, of Opelika, Monday.
    Vantavious Quintez, 17, of Opelika, is accused of shooting Alizah Ellis, also 17, of Opelika, Monday.
    Vantavious Quintez, 17, of Opelika, is accused of shooting Alizah Ellis, also 17, of Opelika, Monday.
  • Update: Teen dies after Opelika shooting on Edmon Avenue

    Update: Teen dies after Opelika shooting on Edmon Avenue

    Jul 21, 2014 07:00 PM2014-07-23 02:34:36 GMT
    The shooting victim who died Monday in Opelika is being identified only as a juvenile male because of his age, police say.The shooting victim who died Monday in Opelika is being identified only as a juvenile male because of his age, police say.
    A boy has died following a shooting on Edmon Avenue in Opelika Monday, police confirm
    A boy has died following a shooting on Edmon Avenue in Opelika Monday, police confirm
  • News 3 Neighbors: WWII Veteran "Shorty" Ogburn

    News 3 Neighbors: WWII Veteran "Shorty" Ogburn

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-07-22 19:49:30 GMT
    World War II veteran Earnest "Shorty" Ogburn receives a home renovation from the Cataula VFW.World War II veteran Earnest "Shorty" Ogburn receives a home renovation from the Cataula VFW.
    Earnest "Shorty" Ogburn has been living in the same house in Cataula for 45 years. Over the weekend his home underwent extensive renovations thanks to volunteers with the Cataula VFW. Darrell Sullivan is a lifetime member of that post andwas the team captain for the renovation project. Sullivan says, "Shorty is a World War II veteran. He's been shot multiple times with small arms and with shrapnel. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war twice." The weekend rain was not a deterrent for ...
    Earnest "Shorty" Ogburn has been living in the same house in Cataula for 45 years. Over the weekend his home underwent extensive renovations thanks to volunteers with the Cataula VFW. Darrell Sullivan is a lifetime member of that post andwas the team captain for the renovation project. Sullivan says, "Shorty is a World War II veteran. He's been shot multiple times with small arms and with shrapnel. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war twice." The weekend rain was not a deterrent for ...
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.