Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Mystery Couple

Following Clues

McGehee also spent a lot of time mentally retracing every move he had made the night before. Had he seen or heard something earlier in the day while on his beat that he didn't think was significant? If he hadn't gotten off at midnight, would he have been able to save the couple?

''Someone somewhere has a couple of children missing. If nothing else, I'm sure those people would like peace of mind,'' McGehee said.

He worked on the case shortly before retiring last year.

McGehee, who sent a retired North Carolina homicide detective information on the case, also re-entered information about the couple in the National Crime Information Center files two or three years ago. The data had somehow been deleted, probably because it was so old, he said.

''Any law enforcement officer would like to solve the crime and bring the people responsible for justice,'' he said. ''But not everything happens the way it does in the movies.''

That was especially true for this case, as authorities quickly learned.

Days and months went by with no leads. A year would pass, and still nothing.

By then, investigators had checked out every lead, including trying to identify the dead people through their finger prints and using the serial number on the dead man's watch in hopes of trying to track down the jewelry store where he might have bought the piece of jewelry. Dental records were published in national dental journals. Officials with Interpol as well as U.S. Customs investigators and immigration authorities also had been alerted about the deaths.

Investigators had tried to trace tire tracks from the death scene. They had also established that the man's T-shirt most likely came from the 1975 Coor's sponsored Sebring Races in Florida, and that the box of matches in his pocket had likely come from a truckstop in the Midwest.

The autopsy revealed the pair had eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit not long before they died so investigators were certain the two must have bought the food from a local eatery or store.

Someone remembered seeing a couple matching the dead couple's descriptions at a now-defunct fruit stand that was located off the Florence Highway, but the person couldn't say whether the man and woman were with someone else or if they were riding in a car.


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