Unknown Randall Church Killer- Montana- 1985 Feb 18, 2017 1:41:07 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Feb 18, 2017 1:41:07 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: andrewdavison.com)
The unsolved murder rate in Bozeman is shockingly low, especially compared to numbers in other cities across the United States.
But an unsolved murder from the mid-80s still remains on the books.
It was February 10, 1985, when Randall Church was closing up for the night the Pizza Hut on West Main Street in Bozeman.
Church was 23 years old and pursuing an engineering degree at Montana State University. He was left alone to close up the store but was found dead by the restaurant manager the next morning.
“It appears that the case was a robbery at the Pizza Hut and it appears that Mr. Church was shot with a smaller caliber handgun - maybe a .22,” said Captain Andy Knight of the Bozeman Police Department.
At first, there seemed to be a few promising leads, but ultimately no charges or arrests.
“It's one of those cases that a lot of leads are available to you at the beginning of a homicide,” said Knight. “When those get exhausted we continue to keep those cases open, we continue to take a look at those cases every few years.”
Church's case is the only unsolved murder Bozeman has records of, which might seem unusual for a town of Bozeman's size. According to Scripps news, More than 211,000 homicides committed since 1980 remain unsolved in the United States.
“I think it says a lot for the dedication of the investigators that who work here,” said Knight. “But (it) also says a lot for our community as well.”
A case is considered to have run cold when all of the initial leads have been exhausted. Since homicides do not have a statute of limitations, homicide cold cases remain open and active indefinitely.
“Cold cases are always open,” said Knight. “These cases are not going anywhere and we have a duty as a police department and investigators to do everything we can to victims. Keeping these cases open and active are really important to us.”
With technology constantly changing and improving, new clues to a case can be discovered years later. According to Captain Knight, they often use new technology and science to take yet another look at the Church case.
“We'll reopen the case - are there some things that we can do with the evidence we currently have, either related to DNA, either related to something that maybe there are some new techniques in a lab that come about that we can maybe get some evidence from,” he said.
Bozeman used to average one homicide per year, but police say recently it has risen to one or two a year, within city limits. But this has not stopped the department from solving all but Church's case.
“There's no doubt about it that the solvability goes up the closer it is to the actual event,” said Knight.
However, Randall Church has not been forgotten. Even though 32 years have passed, the police will continue to stay persistent.
“I would say if there is any action we can take we will do it,” said Knight. “We are committed. If it means that we travel somewhere and have to do an interview with somebody. If it means we have to send some evidence off to a lab we'll do that as well.”
Pizza Hut did reach out and extend their condolences and sympathy to Randall Church's family.
If you have ever witnessed a crime or have any additional information about the Randall Church Case, you are encouraged to call the Bozeman Police Department or Crimestoppers and you will be allowed to stay anonymous.
Bozeman Police: 406-582-2000
Church's family has established a memorial scholarship at MSU - Randy Church Memorial Scholarship: For a Junior or Senior majoring in Electrical Engineering who maintains a 3.0 GPA and is a Montana resident. Recipient(s) must be of good citizenship and character and who has not been recognized for talents and abilities, but whose efforts deserve recognition. In memory of Randy C. Church.
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