Sarasota, Florida - The Sarasota's Sheriff's Office is one step closer to solving the 1959 Walker Family Murder Case. It's a cold case that is heating up again after 53 years and nearly 600 suspects. One detective has narrowed her list of suspects to two.
"I think my gut tells me we're on the right track," says Detective Kim McGath. She has worked on the murder case of Cliff and Christine Walker and their two young children since 2007. They were gunned down in their Osprey home on December 19, 1959.
McGath says, "They were devoted to each other, to their children ... a lovely family. To see the crime scene pictures .. what happened .. heart breaking."
McGath believes Richard Hickock and Perry Smith are responsible. Both men were on the run after murdering another family in Kansas a month earlier, a crime they'd be executed for in 1965.
"I think it was Hickock losing control, wanting to rape Christine, that could have triggered all the events that day ... that's my speculation."
McGath says the men probably came in contact with the Walkers the day before while the family shopped for a car. Five decades later, McGath says DNA of semen taken from Christine's underwear is the new lead and connection to Hickock and Smith.
McGath says the next step is to exhume their bodies and compare the suspect profile they've developed from the DNA.
"They think they're that close to finding out who done it ... when they find out, I'll believe it," says Don McCloud. The 82-year-old man was 29-years-old when he found the bodies of his hunting buddy Cliff Walker, 25, and his young family.
McCloud says, "I will never get over that day."
For years McCloud had been a suspect in his gruesome discovery. He says they are images he will never forget. He says, "I can see them as plain as you sitting right there."
McCloud remembers how Christine looked. "They beat her ... oh she was beat up ... her face was a mess" said McCloud. McCloud says Cliff Walker was still wearing his hat and his 3-year-old son Jimmie was beside him. Detectives say all three had been shot, with Christine being beaten and raped. McCloud says, "There was blood everywhere."
McCloud's one wish is to see this case solved. "I like to know who done it."
McGath says she asked for the Walker case. "The family compels me to do the work, they deserve those answers."
McGath will file a petition with a Kansas judge to exhume Hickock and Smith's bodies so they can run their DNA samples and have this cold case close early next year.