While the Parkland region remains relatively immune from the most violent of crimes, and in the rare instance that one does occur it's usually solved with a quick arrest, throughout the years there have been a handful of murders and disappearances which have gone unsolved.
Several years ago the Daily Journal editorial staff created a webpage to document and keep those "unsolved" and "missing" cases in the forefront. The hope was that someday someone would read one of those stories and a new lead would be discovered or new evidence brought to light that would bring an answer for law enforcement, family and friends.
The page can be found at http://dailyjournalonline.com/news/local/missing-and-crimes/.
This month marks the anniversaries of two of those cases. Bobby Moore Jr. was gunned down on Oct. 10, 1979 while working the night shift at a gas station. Jimmy Wade Martin was found seriously injured lying on the sidewalk just down the street from a bar where he had visited earlier in the night where witnesses later reported an "altercation" had occurred. He died at a hospital a couple hours later. That was on Oct. 13, 1989.
If you have any information regarding either of these cases contact your law enforcement agency.
Bobby Moore Jr.
Bobby Moore Jr. was a husband, a father to a 7-week-old son — a young man with his whole life ahead.
The Valles Mines man's life was short, though. He died Oct. 10, 1979 at the age of 18, killed by a person or persons who still have not been arrested.
He was shot two or three times on that Wednesday night while working at the Bonne Terre Fina Station seven miles north of Bonne Terre on U.S. 67.
At the time, then-Chief Deputy Gene Archer called it a brutal murder. Moore's attackers took off with a little more than $200 from the all-night service station.
"I believe that (the person) went in there with the sole purpose of robbing him and murdering that boy," Archer said the day of the murder. "Maybe we should rephrase that and not say for the purpose of murdering him per se, but for not leaving any witness."
Former Detective Jeff Black was just a teenager then, too. At the time he was working at the other Bonne Terre Fina Station in Bonne Terre. He knew Moore and his family.
"When I started in law enforcement I always asked about it because I knew him," Black said.
Those detectives always gave him the same suspect's name. That suspect was a local man who was never charged in connection with the murder.
The murder occurred while James Hickman was sheriff. Kenneth Buckley began another term as sheriff shortly after in 1980.
"I know (Buckley's) administration worked on it quite a lot," Black said adding he began working at the sheriff's department under Buckley.
During Black’s time as a detective, he worked on the case from time to time. He has since retired. He said it is Sheriff Dan Bullock's policy to never close a murder investigation.
Moore is just one of the county's unsolved murders.
"I solved one that was right at 10 years old," he said. "So it can be done, but it's really tough."
The problem is witnesses have moved, or died, or perhaps forgotten what they saw or heard.
Moore's body was found by a waitress from a nearby restaurant after a customer couldn't find the gas station attendant to pay for fuel.
The shooting was reported to the sheriff's department at 10:57 that night. He had just talked to his wife at 10:45 p.m. so the shooting occurred in that 12-minute span.
Three bullets were recovered: the first at the base of his skull, a second on the floor near his body and the third in a pack of gum on a candy rack.
In the early 1990s when Black got a lead he began looking for the bullets. He found out the bullets were still at the SEMO Crime Lab in Cape Girardeau. No one had ever picked up the bullets, perhaps due to a miscommunication between administrations.
The bullets are molded and oxidized but can still be used to do a ballistics test. The gun used in the murder has never been found.
In the 2000s, Black developed "a couple of suspects within the state but they are not local."
"The information I got within the last year is the most promising information we've got in a long time," he said.
But nothing came of it. He followed up on the lead but it came "to an end - not because the information was not good but because the suspect was not as cooperative as he could have been."
Some of the former investigators still believe it was the local man who did it, but Black said "this new information seems to fit a lot better than the old information."
Black said if anyone heard anything about this murder he would like to talk to them. He said he would also like to talk to anyone who remembers traveling down U.S. 67 that night, especially if they remember seeing a truck, car or a van traveling at a high rate of speed away from the gas station.
"I know the family, they're good people," Black said. "They should have closure and I'd like to help them with that. It just takes a lot of luck."
Bullock also hopes they solve the case.
"Not just to solve an old case but to give the family peace of mind," he said.
Jimmy Wade Martin
Despite the passage of almost 27 years, no one has stood trial in connection with the death of Jimmy Wade Martin of Desloge.
According to police reports at the time, Martin went to a bar on Friday, Oct. 13, 1989. The bar was across the street from Politte's Tavern in Bonne Terre. Police believe the incident started on the parking lot of what was known as the Last Chance Saloon and there may have been other people involved.
Martin was found two blocks away from the bar lying on a sidewalk in front of a residence in the 100 block of Mound Street shortly after midnight. He was bleeding profusely from head wounds. He was taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead two hours later.
Police found a 4-by-4 post near the victim. They believed he was struck with the post four or five times.
Twelve hours after finding Martin on the sidewalk, David Brian White of Bonne Terre was arrested and later charged with second-degree murder. A second person was taken in for questioning and "was held for investigation of first-degree murder." That person was apparently never charged and White's charges were dismissed just days before his trial was scheduled to begin. Then-Prosecuting Attorney Gary Stevenson indicated there were some problems with evidence.
Today officers say the evidence was tainted somehow. Officers said while the murder occurred in Bonne Terre, the sheriff at the time acted as coroner that night and took over the investigation.
The day the charges were dismissed the prosecutor was quoted in the Daily Journal as saying, "This case is not ended by any stretch of the imagination."