Cops Eye In Cold Blood Killers in Fla. Murder Mystery

Exhumation could provide missing link to '59 slayings
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2012 8:52 AM CST
Cops Eye In Cold Blood Killers in Fla. Murder Mystery
In this Jan. 6, 1960 file photo, Perry Edward Smith is led by police officers into the courthouse at Garden City, Kan.   (AP Photo/William Straeter, FILE)

After sniffing out 587 suspects, police are edging closer to solving a 52-year-old Florida murder mystery. The likely culprits: the murderous duo featured in Truman Capote's landmark book, In Cold Blood, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Sarasota detective Kim McGath now believes Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, who notoriously killed the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, followed up that attack by raping a Florida woman and murdering her, her husband, and their two young children. Investigators hope to get permission to exhume the men's bodies from the Kansas prison where they're buried to learn more.

For decades, police have been stumped by the case of the Walker family, which was brutally killed upon returning from a car shopping trip just before Christmas in 1959. The car they were seeking, a 1956 Chevrolet, was the same kind Smith and Hickock drove through Florida after the Kansas killings. During that time, "they were always pawning, trading, stealing," says McGath. She theorizes that they killed the Florida family after discussing a potential deal for the car. The two were actually briefly considered suspects, but passed a lie detector test—which a polygraph expert has since called useless. Now, an exhumation and DNA test could reveal a key link between Smith, Hickock, and the Walker family. Click for more on the theory. (More Truman Capote stories.)

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