This past Sunday the Sarpy County Sheriff’s office gave a presentation at the museum about several homicide cases that are classified as cold. The presenter, Kathe Erhart, has been an investigator with the county for twenty years. Sarpy County has only three homicides that are classified in that manner as a result of the training of staff and technological advances.
Case Number One: The murder of John H. Smith.
John H. Smith, who was 79 years old at the time, was found brutally stabbed to death in his home just outside of Springfield on September 7, 1976. The motive for the crime is unclear and while a person of interest was identified, no one was ever charged with his murder nor has the case ever been reopened.
Case Number Two: The shooting death of Arthur Morley.
Mr. Morley and his wife were shot on a rainy night on May 22, 1984 just outside of their home. Mrs. Morley ran to a neighbor’s home for help and survived. The case was re-opened in the mid- 1990s at the request of family but it remains unsolved.
Case Number Three: Hit and run accident.
A tragic hit and run resulted in the death of a 16 year old and 17 year old boy, Michael Moffitt and Michael LaFournaise. On the night of August 27, 1984 the boys were sitting on a curb at 25th and Lynnwood in Bellevue when they were struck by a car and killed. At the time a person of interest was investigated and a car impounded but there was not enough evidence to bring any charges. The case was reopened in 1991 but once more there was not enough evidence to bring any charges.
Case Number Four: The Murder of Mary Cronin.
A final case that still remains unsolved, is one that falls under multiple jurisdictions- the 1992 murder of Mary Cronin. Ralston police, Douglas County and Sarpy County all have jurisdiction over various aspects of the case. She was last seen on April 12, 1992 leaving her work and reported missing on April 30, 1992. Her car was found abandoned in Sarpy County. Nearly a year later, just her skull was found. In 2004, investigators received a new lead that led to a renewed yearlong investigation.
If anyone has any information on the above mentioned cases, please call the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department at: 402-593-2288.
If you missed our “Cold Cases of Sarpy County” program, be sure to check out our next program “John Joubert: Sarpy County’s Serial Killer” on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6 p.m. Visit our events page for more details about this program and other upcoming events.