One of my favorite books is Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." For those of you unfamiliar with the work, it recounts the true story of a Kansas
family massacred by two paroled convicts, and the subsequent trial and execution of the convicts, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.
The killers murdered the Clutter family: father Herb Clutter, mother Bonnie Clutter, and teenagers Nancy and Kenyon Clutter. Why? Because they
mistakenly believed the Clutters, who were prosperous Kansas farmers, kept money in a house safe. The clutters did not, and the killers found
themselves on the run with little gain.
While on the run, they stopped in Florida for a period of time. During that stay, a Florida family suffered a similar fate to the Clutters.
According to ABC News,
Investigators from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office are hoping to travel to Kansas as soon as an order is approved by a judge to exhume the
bodies of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. They hope mitochondrial DNA evidence collected from the bones of the killers, who were executed by hanging
in 1965, will help close a cold case that rattled Sarasota County.
On Dec. 19, 1959, the Walker family, including parents Cliff and Christine and their toddler children Jimmie and Debbie, were shot to death in their
Detective Kim McGath, who has been assigned to the Walker case for the past four years, said she decided to start from the beginning last year in
investigating the case, and through her research developed a hunch that Smith and Hickock could be responsible. The men were briefly investigated in
1960, but were ruled out as suspects after passing lie detector tests.
It's possible the young family, who had been in the market to purchase a Chevrolet Bel Air, may have crossed paths with Smith and Hickock, who were
driving a 1956 model and likely needed money, McGath said.
They were spotted several times in the Sarasota area the day of the murders, and after the Walker family was killed, one of the men was seen with a
"scratched-up face," McGath said.
Physical evidence, long before the emergence of DNA testing, was also left behind, McGath said.
Christine Walker had been raped and semen was found in her underwear, she said, and there was a bloody cowboy hat.
And two suspicious hairs, which were inconsistent with the Walker family, were found in the home.
"There was a dark hair found in the bathroom, where baby Debbie was found in the bathtub, and a long blonde hair inside the dress of Christine
Walker," McGath said.
The detective in charge of the cold case hopes that DNA taken from the exhumed bodies of Smith and Hickcock may finally solve the Sarasota murder