SARASOTA COUNTY - After months of research, DNA test results do not link some convicted killers to the murder of an Osprey family of four back in 1959. However, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office says it doesn't mean convicted killers Richard Hickock and Perry Smith didn't kill the Walker family.
In December of 2012 the remains of Hickock and Smith were dug up. Looking for a DNA match to evidence from the scene. The Sheriff's Office now has those results. "DNA testing and comparison efforts showed no match," says spokesperson Wendy Rose.
After being on the run and later captured, both men convicted of murders in Kansas. Those killings took place in a similar fashion one month before the December slaying of the Walker family in Osprey. The two men were hung in 1965. There was no DNA samples taken then. The Sheriff's Office says going off of old bone and teeth which had been in the ground for nearly five decades isn't easy. "While there is not a match there is a lot of things about the testing that is kind of incomplete."
What it doesn't do is clear them. Witnesses say the two were in the area at the time. One described Hickock with scratches on his face. When arrested for the Kansas killing a pocket knife was found which may have belonged to Cliff Walker. The Sheriff's Office says there are many more connections. "There are just a number of pieces of evidence which led us to these two suspects. They still are out prime suspects in this case."
Don McLeod was a friend and initially found the family dead in their home. This is what he said in an interview we did a few months back about potential DNA results. "I ain't got much hope on it. I have been fooled so many many many times. Oh this one done it. Oh that one done it."
After all these years and hundreds of interviews, sitting in his living room Wednesday Don says he's simply tired of doing them. Saying as it's turned out it hasn't helped. Praying for positive news. Disappointed in the results.
Rose said they too were hoping for news one way or the other. "I think the disappointment is in the fact we don't have one conclusive answer. If it cleared them or included them. For the sake of the community, for the sake of the families, we would like that answer."
An answer which has never come easy. "The science is just not available to give us the answer we need."
The Sheriff's Office says the technology used in this recent DNA testing didn't even exist a few years ago. Perhaps new advancements down the line cold help them solve this case.
The killings came a month after the slaughter of the Clutter family in Kansas. The subject of Truman Capote's famous book "In Cold Blood".