Unknown Miriam Rice Killer- Indiana- 1988 (ARREST) May 26, 2018 1:37:32 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on May 26, 2018 1:37:32 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: wndu.com)
South Bend, Ind. (WNDU) - "It's a cowardly, senseless act," said Tim Corbett, Commander of the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit (CMHU).
The kidnapping, and murder, of a pregnant woman right along the St. Joseph River.
"She's walking for her health and the health of her baby. And because of your actions - whoever you are - you decided it was so important, so necessary to kidnap this lady and kill 'em," Corbett added.
It's late on June 24th, 1988. A Friday.
Around 11:30 that night, 28 year old - Miriam Rice - leaves her Park Avenue home for a walk with her dog.
It's the last time anyone would see her alive. And two of her neighbors from back then say - murder - was the last thing anyone expected.
Sue and Thomas Fezy lived nearby.
"Years ago this was a safe neighborhood. You could go out at night," Thomas said.
"Leave your doors unlocked," Sue said.
"Leave your doors unlocked. I'd sit on the front porch. People would come by walking dogs and say 'hi' late at night," Thomas added.
The couple moved to the Riverside District in 1974. Years later they met Miriam and her son.
"She was just very warm, welcoming, talked about us getting together for coffee or tea," Sue said.
But that meeting never happened. Miriam was walking here along Riverside Drive that night. And when she didn't come back - her husband called police. The next day her dog was found hiding under a car just about a six minute walk from her house.
WNDU has covered this case from the beginning.
FILE: "A massive search began...A search that lasted four days. Miriam Rice's family began a yellow ribbon campaign. Flyers with her photograph were circulated. Reward money totaling thousands of dollars was offered for leads."
But five days after she disappeared - the search came to a devastating end.
FILE: "Mrs. Rice's body was found, by a family member, just north of Pinhook Park. The coroner ruled she died of a skull fracture."
Crimestoppers features her case many times.
Law enforcement is flooded with tips, but none that lead to her killer.
The crime puts her neighbors on edge.
"I remember shock. Shock that it had happened to someone we knew, someone we had talked to recently," Sue said.
Years go by... and in 1994 - a Special Crimes Unit reopens the case.
Investigators try - but end up not far from where they started.
So the case grows cold until roughly two decades later... in the hot summer of 2017.
"The Cold Case squad was looking at some of these things in June of last year and that's when we found some of the information that nobody had really seen before," CMHU Det. Michael Norby said.
Norby said those leads were like unraveling a sweater.
"Pull one thread and things just kind of started to fall into place," he added.
Technology - has advanced tremendously since Miriam's murder - and is giving new ways to process clues.
The team has sent DNA material downstate for testing.
"So when we re-look at evidence that has been gathered over years...in the Miriam Rice case there's evidence that was there that obviously back in 1988 people didn't look at and say 'this might be DNA-related, there might be DNA here," Norby said. "Or they had an idea that there might be and they had no way of obtaining it, abstracting it, processing it and verifying it."
And sometimes, 'time' convinces people to talk. Commander Tim Corbett said his team has also traveled to several states in the last few months to follow leads.
"It's talking to people, getting out and doing your job, being professional about it, being honest about it - but you have to get out there. People just don't come to us, we have to go out and create situations," Corbett said.
For the Cold Case squad - their work on this case is like solving a puzzle...one they believe they are close to finishing.
"You don't need the entire puzzle completely put together to be able to see a picture," Norby said.
And even without having all the pieces - the Miriam Rice murder case is back open and that gives hope.
Authorities cleared Miriam's then husband - Jeff - of any wrongdoing in this case.
Efforts to reach him were made through Metro Homicide - but we were told he did not want to participate in our story.
Though the Rice murder case is back open, we must remember - no one has ever been charged.
Perhaps you know something that could help investigators.
If you do - contact the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Cold Case Squad at 574-235-5009 or remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at 574-288-7867 or 800-342-7867.
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