Monday, April 2, 2012

Cold Case Solved, Others Remain

On December 23, 1995, Carol Johnson was found deceased in her home.  She appeared to have been stabbed to death.

 Twelve years later, through the technology of forensics, investigators were able to determine the DNA from blood collected at the crime scene belonged to Ronald William Free.  A subsequent comparison of fingerprints determined Free's fingerprint was also found inside the crime scene.  He was charged with Mrs. Johnson's death. 

The case began receiving more scrutiny in 2011 when investigators began preparing the case for trial.  They were able to combine the physical and forensic evidence that led to the indictment and Free's sentencing.

Ronald Free plead guilty to the charge of Murder and Burglary on March 30, 2012.  He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Lieutenant McSwain of the Warner Robins Police Department Criminal Investigations Division was the lead investigator in the case.  Investigators with the Warner Robins Police Department Criminalistics Division played an instrumental role in the investigation.  Captain Lanneau of the Criminalistics Division identified Free's fingerprint through the comparison process. 

See Houston County District Attorney's Media Release.

The last cold case to be solved involved the 1988 Valerie Coates missing persons case.  Detective Stokes was assigned the case in 2007.  Through interviews and numerous lead follow ups it was determined Ms. Coates was murdered and buried in another county.  The case was turned over to the Pulaski County authorities in 2010. 

The Warner Robins Police Department currently has 10 cold cases.  Nine of the cases are homicide incidents.  One is considered a missing person incident.

Review summaries and contact information for each cold case. 

Citizen information is vital to help solve each of these cases.  Anyone with additional information about any of these cases can use the contact information listed on the website.  If you wish to remain anonymous - use TipSubmit.  This program allows citizens to send anonymous tips by sending information through text message, mobile application, or through the web form.