Not solved, but not forgotten: Escambia detectives revisiting 4 cold case homicides

The Escambia County Sheriff's Office is calling on retired law enforcement detectives for the county's second cold case symposium to help solve homicide cases that have gone unsolved for years and even decades.

The symposium, which is scheduled for March 15 and 16, is meant to bring a "fresh set of eyes" by bringing in retired law enforcement homicide investigators to help solve four Escambia County homicide investigations that have leads or evidence that has gone cold.

"We were going to do this with our own deputies, because we have the deputies to do that, but we wanted to open it up because we've been contacted — last year and this time — by some people who are retired in our area, and they could have some insight," said Escambia County's Sheriff Chip Simmons. "And a fresh set of eyes is always a good thing."

Simmons said they will be focusing on a smaller number of cases this year, moving from six cases down to four, and plans to use the two-day window to find any piece of evidence that may have been looked over or to make connections that weren't seen in the past.

Although last year's summit didn't necessarily lead to closing the cases, the sheriff is convinced that continuing to keep these cases top of mind could lead to a breakthrough.

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"Usually when you do a homicide it's not your first crime," he said. "So, we're looking to maybe see if we can get some DNA or maybe we can cross-reference these cases with some other non-homicide cases and, again, a fresh set of eyes as well."

Here are the three cold cases investigators will work in March:

  • Connie Slaughter, a 43-year-old woman, was found strangled to death on Dec. 10, 2010.

  • Steven Davis, 46, was pronounced dead on Aug. 26, 1998, after sustaining one gunshot to his jaw and two gunshots to his back.

  • Anna Louise Brown, 38, was found fatally shot with a gunshot wound to the head on April 30, 2017.

  • Kenneth Underwood was a 9 when he was found dead by blunt force trauma on Jan. 3, 1981.

"We just want to make sure that the families and people understand that we haven't forgotten about these (victims)," Simmons said. "Just because they're not solved doesn't mean they're forgotten.

"Even though in some of these cases I wasn't here, that doesn't mean we have lost our desire to solve the cases to bring the family, whether it's the children (or) the grandchildren, some closure," Simmons added.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Escambia County Sheriff's Office hosting Pensacola cold case symposium