COLUMBUS, Ga — Paul Hill lived for many years in his small home on Marathon Drive. He loved his life, his neighborhood, his friends, and his family. Hill was a happy individual who took joy in giving to others in need, reflects his daughter Nichole Alred.
“He would go grocery shopping for families that couldn’t afford groceries and deliver their groceries for them,” remembers Alred. “He always did things for people.”
But things would never be the same after the horrifying discovery that early spring day nine years ago. On April 2, 2008, when a relative knocked on Hill’s door and he did not respond, the concern for him reached a critical point. No one had heard from him in a few days, and Hill always kept in touch. The relative called police for a welfare check, and they quickly arrived to the home in the 2200 block of Marathon Drive.
“They had to make forced entry into the home, and at that time, they found Mr. Hill deceased inside the home,” says Columbus Police Department homicide investigator Detective Stuart Carter.
As the years have passed, so have the iron-hot leads in the case.
“In terms of working it now, obviously, it’s a cold case. Over time, information dwindles,” says Detective Carter. “The area of town that it occurred in, that area, is not very notorious for people being forthcoming, witnesses coming forward.”
No one has felt the sting of the passage of the years more than Paul Hill’s family.
“And after days, weeks, years, went by, we lost hope,” recalls Alred.
Alred keeps in close contact with Columbus Police, and thanks to the hard work of Detective Carter and his team at the police department, while the case may be cold, hope of solving it is far from lost.
“There were several articles of evidence that we’ve had all these years that in our property and evidence that’s been stored there the whole time, but it can still be tested,” says Detective Carter.
Tested, Detective Carter says, with the latest scientific techniques that have advanced leaps and bounds since Hill’s murder in 2008.
“In this particular case, I have no doubt, that the suspect, or suspects in this case are more than likely still alive, along with key witnesses that probably could give us information, “ says Detective Carter.
Detective Carter says anyone with information on the murder of Paul Hill should contact him at (706) 225-4319. He adds that callers can remain anonymous, if they wish.
In addition, he encourages anyone with information about any unsolved case to contact him, be it a cold or current one.What is a “cold case” to police?
We often hear the term “cold case,” but have you ever stopped to question what it means? One misconception is that a cold case is one that police have stopped pursuing.
According to Detective Stuart Carter, the term “cold case” simply means police have followed all viable leads in an investigation at the moment. Detective Carter adds that investigators, however, continue to search for and follow new leads.
In some cases, time can prove an unexpected friend when it comes to witnesses.
“There might have been some witnesses who had information on the suspect or suspects involved in this case. They may have had a personal relationship with those individuals, so obviously, they’re going to be very reluctant in coming forward,” says Detective Carter. “Well, now you move the clock forward. It’s 2017, and those relationships may not exist anymore, and, so that reluctancy is no longer there.”
That’s the hope for all cold case investigators—that anyone with information will come forward and give police information needed to solve cases and bring needed answers to loved ones whose grieving is compounded with a lengthy search for answers.