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Daughter appeals to public for help solving horse-racer's murder

TAMPA — The daughter of the Odessa lawyer and horseman whose Oct. 8 murder remains unsolved is asking for the public's help in finding his killer.

Kimberly Higgins, the 35-year-old daughter of 61-year-old Lawrence Higgins, who was found dead at his home Oct. 10, said her father had attended her Washington, D.C., wedding just a week before. It was the last time she saw him.

"Nothing I can do will ever bring him back, but if the person who did this is caught, it might prevent someone else's family from going through this," Higgins said at a Friday morning news conference outside the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Maj. Harold Winsett would not answer questions about the investigation, but he released the descriptions of two suspicious vehicles seen near the home before the murder. He asked that anyone with information call the Sheriff's Office.

One vehicle is described as a champagne-colored dual-wheel pickup truck with an extended cab. Witnesses said it was probably a 2000-2005 model with four tires on the rear.

The second is an older orange Nissan or Datsun sedan with a loud muffler, a model from the 1980s.

Higgins' body was found in his home, 11523 Trotting Down Drive, by an unidentified business associate Oct. 10. Winsett said he had died two days earlier.

Winsett would not specify the manner of Higgins' death or speculate on motives or suspects. The Medical Examiner's Office previously said Higgins died due to trauma to his upper body, a homicide.

Higgins was heavily involved in horse racing, and raced several of his own. Winsett said his hobby makes the investigation more difficult because his many associates must all be interviewed. Winsett would not say whether deputies think the murder was connected to horse races or gambling.

"Our investigation has been exhaustive," Winsett said. "But the investigation will continue."

Kimberly Higgins retold a story her father recalled at her wedding about taking her in a red wagon to feed ducks near their home.

"As he pulled me along, he always sang the same song to me: You Are My Sunshine," Higgins said. "I had hoped he might sing that song to his grandchildren one day.'"

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $1,000 reward for information that might lead to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477. You also can report anonymously online or text C-R-I-M-E-S, keyword Tip155 and a message. Or call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

Daughter appeals to public for help solving horse-racer's murder 11/07/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:18am]
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