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ORN IN THE LATE 1800’S, MR. EARL PETERSON FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR TWO, AND WORKED ON THE RAILROADS FOR ABOUT FOUR DECADES.
HE WAS A NATIONAL TREASURE, FULL OF HISTORY, STORIES, AND GOOD MORALS, AND VALUES.
00:08:55 — 00:08:58
“Every time I go to the graveyard I think about it.”
BUT ON JUNE FIRST 1981, AT THE AGE OF EIGHTY-THREE, MR. PETERSON SUFFERED A VIOLENT DEATH.
00:06:25 — 00:06:28
“I couldn’t believe it had never gotten solved.”
WE’RE TALKING TO COLD CASE INVESTIGATOR DAN BENDIG ABOUT THIS EGREGIOUS CRIME, THE ATTACKERS THAT NEVER GOT CAUGHT, AND HIS QUEST TO GRANT THE VICTIM’S FAMILY SOME CLOSURE.
WE’RE EVEN HOPING MAYBE YOU CAN HELP US SOLVE THIS “UNFINISHED BUSINESS.”
00:08:24 — 00:08:34
“Killed a man whose been through WWI and WWII, the depression, he was 83 years old and the sheer violence of it all.”
MR. EARL PETERSON HAD JUST MOVED INTO AN APARTMENT ON THE TWO-HUNDRED BLOCK OF LARK DRIVE IN DOVER.
A WIDOW, HE LIVED ALONE, BUT HAD A LARGE FAMILY CLOSE BY.
IT WAS JUST AFTER ELEVEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING WHEN THIS WAR VETERAN WAS KILLED BY TWO UNKNOWN MEN.
00:01:44 — 00:02:12
Natalia: “What did residents say? Neighbors?”
Bendig: “it was about eleven fifteen in the morning on June 1, 1981, it was a corner property, so you had two cross streets intersecting the property, and neighbors actually saw the burglary occur, they either heard the window break or they saw the two young men in front of the house break the window and they immediately started to notify the police.”
DETECTIVES SPOKE TO MANY WITNESSES WHO DESCRIBED THE SUSPECTS AS TWO YOUNG AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN WHO FLED THE SCENE IN A TWO-TONED GREEN CADILLAC WITH TINTED WINDOWS.
DESPITE PURSUING SEVERAL LEADS, THE MEN WERE NEVER IDENTIFIED.
AND THE CASE EVENTUALLY TURNED COLD.
00:02:37 — 00:02:45
Natalia: “How did they describe the suspects back then and another problem now is that years have gone by so these suspects are much older.”
00:03:02 — 00:03:15
Bendig: “You’re talking about 1981, these young men were in their twenties, they are much older now, but usually when you have an incident like this, it’s not the first time they commit a crime.”
MR. PETERSON’S GREAT NIECE, JOAN DOWLING, CALLED THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE IN 2013.
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“and I thought, let me call and see who got arrested in this case, and I was shocked no one had been charged, there were all these witnesses, it was such a violent death.”
BUT THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS NOT GIVEN UP.
Natalia: “What makes this case so difficult to solve?”
00:03:34 — 00:03:43
Bendig: “The point of time, time passing, and not getting, back at the time, an identification of either subject.”
IT’S CERTAINLY CHALLENGING, BUT HOPE IS NOT LOST.
00:03:57 — 00:04:06
“As a cold case investigator, we try to assist the original detectives, we try to look at things with a different set of eyes.”
00:04:18 — 00:04:51
“We revisit the evidence, which is vitally important, anything that was touched by the subjects, there’s been such advances in DNA, and touch DNA, and latent print science, so science is insane and what they can do and what scientists and forensic professionals can do now with evidence, so that’s what we like to do, the evidence doesn’t lie, you get someone’s DNA or fingerprint, if they were never there, weren’t supposed to be there, never had any reason to be on the property, it just helps prove the case.”
MEANWHILE, MR. PETERSON’S FAMILY CONTINUES TO WAIT FOR JUSTICE.
00:09:04 — 00:09:11
“To find out what happened because he was such a sweet, gentle man.”
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THIS CASE … OR ANY CASES INVESTIGATED BY THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE… PLEASE CALL HCSO AT 813 247 8200.
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