Disappeared but not Forgotten; Texas Cold Cases
ITALY – Cold cases are not always as easy to solve as in the movies or as how we see it played out in one-hour television shows.
That goes for an almost three-year-old murder in Italy, Texas too.
The victim, Richard Earl Wilson, a 59-year-old black male who was found dead in the 700 block of Williams Street on a hot summer afternoon at around 5 p.m. on July 13, 2018.
Now Italy police are hoping a geo-tracking devise can help them get a little closer to solving the murder.
The geo-tracking system involves a series of pings and pongs to cell towers and the use of mobile phones for possible tracking and it has been known to work for other law enforcement agencies.
Indeed, as technology advances it also becomes harder to get away with murder.
A Long Involved Process
And Italy police believe “someone has the answers.”
While the geo-fencing idea is a good one in cases that have no other clues, it can also be a longer process than again, a one-hour television show leading right to the suspect.
In the case of Wilson, the Italy PD first sent a search warrant for a specific area to be checked in relation to mobile phone and Wi-Fi use on the day of the murder.
Criminal Investigation Division Lieutenant Bob Wilbanks at the Italy Police Department said from there “any google phone or application can be tracked through this geo-fencing system and it can be tracked based on time, date and we can also specify longitude and latitude.”
Results are then sent back with a list of possible hits with a phone number attached and then it is up to Wilbanks and his team to determine the significance of the phone numbers they have received.
Clues From The Crime Scene Are Sparse
Other clues from the scene of the crime back in July 2018 include the city’s police department offense report indicating Wilson was found with blood “coming out of the victim’s nose and back of head.”
There had only been one shot to the back of the head.
There was also an unnamed man at the scene when police arrived attempting to perform CPR on the victim, but to no avail.
That man said he found the body while at his grandmother’s home next door. He took the trash out and said he saw someone laying in the backyard next door.
Another neighbor said he heard voices and one male voice saying, “you don’t have the nerve to do it.”
So what about the gunshot?
Since Italy is a town in Ellis County that still prides itself on its country feel, gunshots and firecrackers sound the same in some situations. Or at least that is what neighbors said they thought.
That and the fact there was a birthday party going on nearby too.
Both the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Rangers were called to the scene to investigate alongside the Italy Police Department that day.
And now, Lt. Wilbanks is hoping someone’s phone ping and the geo-fencing system might offer additional clues to a case that has so far left police with more questions than answers.