There isn’t much down time for police, but, when there is a lull in criminal activity, officers can provide a valuable service by dusting off the unsolved murder files.
Fortunately, the number of unsolved murders are relatively few in Hancock County. But if you go back far enough, they’re there, an ever-lingering reminder that a life was lost and no one has yet been held accountable.
The goal should always be to bring a killer to justice regardless of how long it takes.
The Crime Stoppers of Findlay/Hancock County website ( lists the four most recent unsolved homicides:
• Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001, at 1:53 a.m., a fire at 224 E. Main St., McComb, claimed the life of Kathryn Stevens. Four other family members were injured. The State Fire Marshal’s Office ruled the fire arson.
• Sunday, Oct. 29, 2000, at approximately 10 a.m., Findlay police officers responded to a check-on-welfare call at 1701 Hillstone Drive. Officers found signs of forced entry and discovered resident Robert L. Hamilton shot dead. The interior of the residence showed signs of a burglary.
• During the late hours of Aug. 20, 1998, or the early morning hours of Aug. 21, 1998, the residence of James Thallman, 611 Blue Bonnet Drive, Findlay, was entered by an unknown person or persons. Thallman was fatally shot.
• On Sept. 6, 1996, Linda Bissell was found shot to death in her home at 531 Findlay St., Findlay. The murder weapon, a small-caliber handgun, has not been recovered. Bissell was home alone and there are no known witnesses to the shooting.
Most unsolved cases, police say, aren’t necessarily a mystery, but rather remain open because there isn’t enough evidence to bring charges against a known suspect.
One credible witness, one comment overheard in a bar, or a piece of evidence re-examined after many years could help solve a case.
Crime Stoppers continues to offer a reward for information on any of these cases if the tip leads to an arrest.
It’s been almost two decades since the oldest of the four homicides, but anyone who knows anything new about the crimes shouldn’t hesitate to contact the Police Department or sheriff’s office.
One call may be all it takes to finally close a case.