Cold Cases: Local unsolved cases from the last 80 years

April 23, 2024 | 12:15 am

Updated April 23, 2024 | 2:58 pm

While Kentucky State Police recently identified the victim in a 1990 cold case in Daviess County, the case remains unsolved. It’s also just one of many cold or unsolved cases over the last 80 years. Here’s a quick look at some of the more notable ones we know about. Do you know anything about these or others?

On April 19, KSP identified William Dennis Mathews as the victim of the cold case where a man was found with his hands and feet cut off in a wooded area off of Pleasant Valley Road in Philpot. However, several questions still remain about the incident.

Coincidentally, just hours before KSP announced their update, Owensboro Times came across a list of unsolved cases in the Owensboro area. The list was posted in a Facebook group by Penny Tomes (who has a connection to the Terri Howell case listed below). OT used that list as a starting point and compiled some quick facts about the cases we were able to track down some information for, as shown below.

Editor’s Note: Some summaries depict graphic/disturbing content.

  • Sister Carmelita Mattingly (died December 23, 1964)

According to the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office cold cases site, Mattingly was struck and killed in December 1964 as she was walking across the road on KY 144 from the Catholic Nun’s home to Saint Williams Catholic School. A portion of her habit was found 8 miles away in Thruston.

  • James Galloway (died February 15, 1979)

Galloway was last seen on February 15, 1979, after leaving his house with friend Robert David Marsch. A 2018 article from the Hancock Clarion reported that Kentucky State Police Detective Marc Carter was looking into Marsch’s 1985 murder of Roger Boling, and that Carter potentially had enough evidence that Marsch was a serial killer who also murdered Galloway.

  • Joann Hampton (died February 13, 1980)

Hampton was found dead at the 231 Motor Lodge (now the Owensboro Motel) where she was living. According to a 2008 14News article, the coroner initially ruled her death was due to natural causes despite the blood inside and outside the room. Police were not called until embalmers found she had been beaten in the head and shot with a small-caliber handgun.

  • Roger Dale Lee (died April 28, 1980)

According to a 1980 Messenger-Inquirer article, Lee was found by a fisherman floating in the river and was ruled to have died from drowning. Lee, 24 at the time, was last seen leaving his sister’s home on April 4. The timeline is “blank” between his last appearance and being discovered in the Ohio River on April 28. 

  • Terri Howell (died July 25, 1980)

Howell was found strangled and burned in an abandoned farmhouse by Free Silver Road and Lanham Raod outside of Knottsville. Owensboro Times was able to talk to Howell’s then daughter-in-law in 2023. The Daviess County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating this case.

  • Edith Marie Curry (missing January 30, 1983)

Curry was abducted from a pantry store on Carter Road to a strip pit area. At the time, other women were missing and killed in Owensboro, and according to a 1983 Messenger-Inquirer article, the Owensboro Police Department had exhausted all sources and tips.

  • Frances Allen (last seen March 29, 1984)

Allen was last seen at her Fern Terra home in 1984. According to NamUs, she was 46 years old when she went missing.  

  • Angie Dickens (died June 17, 1986)

Dickens was last seen after her friends dropped her off at home after leaving a bar in the early morning hours. As her friends drove off, they reported seeing her talk to two men. It wasn’t until a month later that she was reported missing. Ultimately, her remains were found in a cornfield on Lower River Road.

  • Shannon Green (missing July 6, 1986)

Green was last seen at 12:30 p.m. walking from 2nd and Poplar Street to 12th and Haynes to visit a friend, approximately 2 miles away. Shannon has a red mark on the back of her neck and at the hairline, as well as a light brown birthmark on the back of her right arm. She was last seen wearing black jogging shorts, an aqua green top, tennis shoes, and a gold heart chain.

  • Dwayne Bell (missing July 11, 1986)

Bell was last seen riding his bike to his sister’s home. He was 18 at the time of his disappearance. According to a 14News article, Former Sheriff Keith Cain said John Reneer was listed as a potential suspect in the cases for Bell, Angie Dickens, and Shannon Green.

  • Robbin Lewis Slaughter (missing October 14, 1993)

Lewis was 36 years old when he went missing. According to NamUs, his wife said he went to a nearby convenience store but never returned. It is believed to be Franey’s on Carter Road.

  • Unidentified partial baby remains (found April 21, 1996)

Remains of an unidentified baby were found in the area of KY 142 and KY 54.

  • Carole Embery Hamilton (missing August 20, 2003)

According to the Charley Project, Hamilton was last seen after being stopped by the police for a traffic infraction. A few weeks after her disappearance, Hamilton’s 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix was found in a rural pond on Shreve Road in Fordsville cut into 30 pieces, with no sign of Hamilton at the scene. Several people were charged in connection with her murder in 2005. The Charley Project has details regarding the suspect’s involvement in Hamilton’s murder and the disposal of her body. Her body was never found.

  • Charlie Haywood (missing July 21, 2008)

Haywood went missing after leaving the hospital in a black truck. The Owensboro Police Department at the time was investigating the scene at a lake in Daviess County and found a vehicle that was believed to be connected to Haywood; however, that was never proven to be true.

  • Donald Frakes (died February 19, 2010)

Frakes died after a hit-and-run on West 4th Street in February 2010. Frakes was using a wheelchair as he traveled down the one-way and he is believed to have died from the impact. He was found in the ditch by two individuals later that night. The search for the drivers that night has continued with no conclusion.

  • Wilber “Willy” Pate (missing November 14, 2012)

According to the Courier & Press, Pate left his shift at Walmart on Frederica Street on November 14. He was last seen that night at 11 p.m. at his residence on the east side of Evansville. Little was published about Pate’s disappearance at the time. His Ford Explorer was found in a “remote corner” of Daviess County which led OPD to suspect foul play.

April 23, 2024 | 12:15 am

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