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Charlotte detectives revisiting 50-year-old cold case

John Deal's eyeglasses were found on a road in Charlotte County with a bullet hole.
John Deal's eyeglasses were found on a road in Charlotte County with a bullet hole.(CCSO)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is renewing interest in a 50-year-old unsolved case in Port Charlotte.

In a video posted on the sheriff’s website, detectives ask for the public’s help in locating 16 people that may have information about the case of John Deal, a 71-year-old who was apparently shot and killed in 1971 on a desolate stretch of Harbor Boulevard.

Then-Sheriff Jack Bent learned of the crime after a local resident found evidence in the roadway -- a man’s hat, broken eyeglasses, a bank notice, a large amount of fresh blood and a .22-caliber shell casing.

The detectives noted the eyeglasses were broken in the middle by what appeared to be a small bullet. The prescription glasses were later identified as Deal’s. The damage to the glasses led detectives to believe Deal was shot between the eyes. The amount of blood at the scene would indicate that the victim did not survive.

Cold case detectives recently located a nephew of Deal in Georgia. DNA analysis determined the blood at the scene was from a male relative of the nephew.

The sheriff’s office says the people they’re looking to talk to are not necessarily suspects in the case. “We realize how much time has passed since this murder but we do believe there are still people in the area that have direct or indirect information related to this case.”

  • Andy Naylor, (Lee, Charlotte County)
  • Betty Faber AKA: Betty Cole, Betty Naylor, Betty Bird (Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota County)
  • Frank Jenkins AKA Sonny Jenkins, (Lee County)
  • Brenda Jenkins AKA Brenda Ray, (Lee County)
  • Ted Smith, (Lee, Charlotte County)
  • Shirlene McMillan Williams, (Lee County)
  • William Duffy, (Charlotte County)
  • John Bird, (Sarasota County)
  • John Faber, (Charlotte, Lee County)
  • James Harkcom, (Lee County)
  • Clarence Whickum, (Lee County)
  • Larry Lopez, (Lee County)
  • Ida Mae Pinder Dailey, (Lee County)
  • John Nelson, (Lee County)
  • Donald Naylor, (Lee, Charlotte County)
  • Robert Naylor, (Charlotte County)

If you had contact with any of these people around the time of the crime, or have heard any of them speak about the crime, please contact the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at 941-639-2101.

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