Triple murder case gets new attention - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Triple murder case gets new attention

March 24, 2004

Turner County-- It's been two years since a well known Turner County family was murdered and their home set on fire. Tax Assessor Tommy Joe Wideman, his wife and their pregnant daughter were shot and killed in their Rebecca home.

The killer then torched the house. Now a full GBI investigator has been assigned to work the case around the clock in hopes to bring to a close one of Turner County's most shocking murder cases.

It was the brutal triple homicide that grabbed national headlines on American Most Wanted and that shocked the small community of Rebecca.

The Turner County tax assessor , his wife and their pregnant daughter's burned bodies found inside their home. First believed to be an unfortunate fire-- but later discovered to be arson. And the twist in the case that would haunt Turner County Sheriff Randy Kendrick the most was that Tommy Joe, Deborah and their 20-year old daughter Melissa Wideman had all been shot and killed before the fire was even started.

"The Widemans were good friends of mine and good friends to this county. We think about a lot," says Kendrick.

So much so that Kendrick recently called a meeting of top state investigators including GBI Director Vernon Keenan to review the facts of the Wideman case and figure out where to go from here.

"We want to just sit down, back up ,and look at everything we got and see if there is any way new stance of doing what we want to do," says Kendrick.

And they will have their work cut off for them. The investigation that was once hot is now a almost a cold case. Most of the evidence lifted from the homes burned remains gave no leads and even fewer came  after national exposure on America's Most Wanted television show.

"It's going to be difficult to solve but we always try to stay optimistic about it and we have not stop working on the case."

Along with a full time investigator GBI Director Keenan has pledged increased efforts into solving the murders to bring the killer to justice and closure for a wounded community. There is a 50 thousand dollar reward in the Wideman murders.

posted at 6:35PM by scott.hunter@walb.com

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