Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs police offer $5,000 rewards in unsolved killings

Crystal Lake, left, and Dena Tingling put up a poster last month at the Tarpon Springs complex where Tingling’s father died.  

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Crystal Lake, left, and Dena Tingling put up a poster last month at the Tarpon Springs complex where Tingling’s father died. 

TARPON SPRINGS — The Tarpon Springs Police Department is offering $5,000 rewards for information that could help investigators solve this city's only two homicides of 2012.

Offered in the hope of attracting new leads, the rewards are also a reminder of the seeming lack of progress in the two cases, which have remained stubbornly resistant to detectives' efforts.

While no suspects have been arrested in the killings, a family member of one victim said she remains optimistic that in a town the size of Tarpon Springs, population 23,500, someone might step forward with a tip, now that the rewards are being offered. The $5,000 rewards come in addition to $1,000 rewards offered in both cases by Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County.

"Tarpon Springs is a very small community," said Dena Tingling, whose 73-year-old father, Eddie Dixon, was found dead by his caretaker one December morning in his apartment in a public housing complex. Police have not disclosed his cause of death except to say that he suffered "upper body trauma" that appeared to be the work of a killer.

"I plead to anybody, if they know something, to come forward," Tingling said.

Dixon's was the second death in 2012 designated a homicide in the city, which sees few violent crimes compared with larger Tampa Bay cities.

Early on a Tuesday morning in July, Luther Shaw, 48, was found shot to death in the street on S Safford Avenue near the corner of E Harrison Street. Shaw was found next to a white SUV with the driver's door open.

Police sought a search warrant for a house near the murder scene, but no arrests followed.

The Dixon investigation likewise began with a potentially promising lead: Dixon's housing complex at 351 N Ring Ave. recently had been equipped with surveillance cameras to improve security. But none of those cameras was pointed at Dixon's door, according to Tarpon Springs police Sgt. Mike Trill, and thus the cameras did not capture whoever entered his apartment and killed him in the night.

A third killing in Tarpon Springs last year was not classified as a homicide by police. In January 2012, Mary Kay Spradlin Hill, 52, was the subject of an investigation after she fatally shot her husband, Willard "Bill" Newton Hill, 79. She claimed she had acted in self defense, telling authorities he had pointed a gun at her. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office never charged her with a crime.

Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey Young would not discuss the details of the investigations into the Dixon and Shaw cases but said police think the new reward offers could spur witnesses to come forward — perhaps some who might reconsider an earlier decision to stay quiet.

"We're hoping the $5,000 will entice them to give us a call," Young said. "People talk."

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157. To write a letter to the editor, visit tampabay.com/letters.

Tarpon Springs police offer $5,000 rewards in unsolved killings 03/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 8, 2013 7:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Assault charge may not sway voters in Montana election (w/video)

    Nation

    BOZEMAN, Mont. — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

    People fill out ballots for the special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on Thursday in Billings, Mont. [Associated Press]
  4. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?

    World

    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  5. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city

    World

    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.