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Retired school teacher murdered on Christmas 1981

Edna Winter, 75 at the time of her death, was strangled in her home sometime between 10:30 p.m. on Christmas 1981 and noon the following day.

The retired teacher lived at 705 Walnut Street in Leadwood. She was last seen alive by a neighbor about 10:30 p.m. Christmas night, according to officials.

At first it was believed she died of natural causes, but later funeral home personnel found a piece of cloth around her neck. Authorities confirmed the cause of death was strangulation.

Bill Stokes, Leadwood Police Chief was quoted at the time as saying, “we have very few leads as to who would have done this to Miss Winter.”

According to the Lead Belt news, Winter gave piano lessons in her home and was very active in church work at the Leadwood United Methodist Church. At the church she was choir director, a lay-delegate to the church’s annual conference; she was an active member in the United Methodist Women organization, taught Sunday School and was a director of the annual bible school. She was also active in the Mothers and Patrons Club in Leadwood and a member of the Bonne Terre Hospital Auxiliary.

According to the Associated Press, a Leadwood man was charged with first-degree murder in the incident. A witness, also a former convict, told authorities the man panicked during the commission of a burglary.

The man was later acquitted. No new charges have been filed.

The case remains open according to the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department.

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