Cold homicide cases get another look
Cold cases from Monroe County’s homicide case files are being re-examined by some new eyes. The Sheriff’s Office, working together with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has assembled a group of experienced criminal justice investigators who will be bringing a fresh perspective to the cases.
Over the past few months, investigators from MCSO and FDLE have been assembling the group, and have gone over a number of cold homicide cases, reviewing them for the potential for new avenues of investigation, and for “solvability”. Solvability is, for example, the potential for evidence which can be reexamined with new technology, or witnesses willing to be re-interviewed. They have also scanned the extensive files to make them more accessible.
MCSO Homicide Detective Mark Coleman, Crime Scene Detective John Underwood and FDLE Investigator Kathy Smith have been the main organizers working on this project.
The first two cases to get a fresh look: The murder of Lisa Sanders in December of 1988, and the murder of Beth Neumeir in May of 2008.
On Tuesday, they gave a briefing on the two cases to a group of people who are experienced in criminal investigations, including investigators from FDLE, MCSO, the State Attorney’s Office, Miramar Police Department, Miami-Dade Police, Miami Police Department, the current Medical Examiner and some retired investigators with homicide investigation experience.
The briefing was held in the hopes that the group would be able to bring new ideas to the investigations, including the application of new forensic technology to examine the evidence, and the possibility of comparison with other cases which may have taken place after the cases in question.
“We hope this fresh perspective will give us ideas leading to new avenues of investigation; questions we didn’t ask, investigative ideas we perhaps didn’t think of,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “There is a wealth of experience in this group and we hope, if we can apply that experience, perhaps we can solve some of these cold cases.”
“We are happy to be teaming up with such an experienced group to tackle these cases,” said FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Vince Weiner. “You never know what a fresh set of eyes can bring to cases like these. I feel it is important to let the victim’s families and community know that law enforcement has not forgotten and we will continue to investigate with the hopes of solving these heinous crimes.”
More briefings will be held in the future, and more cases will be presented to the group for a fresh perspective.
“You never know when an advancement in technology will make the difference, or a witness will suddenly remember something. We don’t give up on our victims,” said Sheriff Peryam. “We may give an investigation a rest, but we always pick it up again and keep on trying. We want the families of victims to know we care and are committed to bringing them closure, no matter how long it takes.”
Information about the Lisa Sanders and Beth Neumeier homicides:
20 year old Lisa Sanders was killed between December 16 – 17, 1988 on No Name Key. She was hit on the head, and dragged behind a car or truck for a distance, before being dumped beside a dirt road. She’d attended a party on Friday and then failed to return home. Her family reported her missing just prior to her body being found. A photo of Lisa is attached to this email.
On May 4, 2008, 48 year old Beth Neumeier of Marathon was found dead in a pile of debris in the yard of a home on 24th Street in Marathon. An autopsy revealed she’d been murdered. Detectives have kept details of this case under wraps and won’t talk about how she was killed because they say releasing the details might hamper their ability to investigate.