Sheriff Emery A. Gainey remains committed to the missing and murdered.  Formed in 2007, our Cold Case Unit’s mission is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, seeking answers and justice for victims and their families. A Cold Case Investigator works unsolved homicides, missing persons cases, and other high-impact unsolved crimes in Alachua County – and we need YOUR help to solve these cases.

If you have information, please contact Investigator Todd Hand at (352) 367-4164 or email him at

To view our solved cold cases, click here.

Lila Leach

Incident Date: 07-16-10

Circumstances: Lila Leach was attacked in her Newberry home and died as a result of the injuries she sustained. Detectives continue to work this case and have partnered with CrimeStoppers and the Florida Sheriffs Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program to offer a $8,000 reward.

Case # 10-6756

Lila Leach - CrimeStoppers Reward of $8,000

James Edward Tuff, Jr.

Incident Date: 12-04-06

Circumstances: On 12-04-06, at approximately 1:00pm, James Edward Tuff was found lying on the edge of SE County Road 2082, at about the 11000 block. Tuff was last seen alive at a residence in Lamplighter Mobile Home Park in Gainesville earlier that morning. Tuff was a lifelong resident of Gainesville.

Case # 06-15353

Wende Ellinger

Incident Date: 03-18-05

Circumstances: Around midnight, the body of Wende Ellinger was found in a fire at her residence at 10207 SW 84 Avenue, Gainesville (Kanapaha Highlands). Wende was last seen alive at approximately 10:30 PM, 03-17-05, in her residence. The investigation revealed that she sustained other injuries prior to the fire and it was ruled a homicide. Wende Ellinger was the mother of three small children who were not home at the time.

Case # 05-3214

Baby Jane Doe

Incident Date: 08-20-03
Age: 2 weeks to 5 months

Circumstances: An Alachua County resident discovered the body of a female baby floating in a private pond. The pond is at the end of NW 102nd Place, just 3 miles north of the Highway Patrol Station.

Recent advances in DNA technology has been utilized to determine that Baby Jane was a black female whose parents were both black and most likely of Caribbean descent.

Case # 03-9523

Michael Shane Crutchfield

Incident Date: 05-13-99

Circumstances: On Thursday, 05-13-99, at approximately 2300 hours, Michael Shane Crutchfield, was found in the doorway of his apartment. The apartment is in the Hickory Hills Apartments at 4023 SW 16th Lane, Apt. A, Gainesville. The Sheriff’s Office is looking for a light colored sedan that was seen leaving the area with at least one unknown male suspect. The investigation revealed his death was the result of a homicide.

Case # 99-06101

Jose Rodriguez

Incident Date: 05-29-98

Circumstances: On 05-29-98 Jose walked away from his residence at 319 NW 5th Street, in an unknown direction. He was last seen at approximately 530pm on NE 39th Avenue between NE 15th Street and Waldo Road, walking toward Waldo Road. His body was found in Newnan’s Lake, and the investigation revealed his death was the result of a homicide.

Case # 98-6996

Beverly Springer

Incident Date: 12-23-97

Circumstances: Beverly was found deceased in the 11000 block of North County Road 225, approximately one mile north of the Gainesville Raceway, partially clothed along the west side of of the roadway. Investigation revealed her death was the result of a homicide.

Case # 97-15422

Photograph Not Available

Sharon Roberts

Incident Date: 12-16-95
Race/Sex: White Female

Circumstances: On 12-16-95, Sharon was taken to Shands Emergency Room by ambulance. She died later that date from “Shaken Baby Syndrome.”

Case # 95-13175

Robert Howard

Incident Date: 04-18-94

Circumstances: Robert was found 04-18-94, after he was reported missing on 08-05-92. He was found in a wooded area off Archer Road and SW 170th Street, and last seen alive in August 1992 in Arredondo Farms.

Case # 94-13973 and 92-21097

Gary Flanagan

Incident Date: 12-29-93

Circumstances: Gary was found on 12-29-93 at State Road 24 (Waldo Road) and NE 69th Avenue in the wooded area. He arrived at the airport in Gainesville on 12-22-93, at 7:10 p.m. He was a resident of Nashville, TN, formerly of Gainesville and still had a brother who lived here.

Case # 93-66895

Photograph Not Available

Miguel Pineda

Incident Date: 11-04-91

Circumstances: Miguel was fatally wounded on 11-04-91 when he was shot outside the front door of Pizza King trying to protect and defend the store owner and her son during a robbery to the business. He later succumbed to his injuries and passed away on 11-06-91.

Case # 11421-91

Betty Delores Covington

Incident Date: 10-14-90

Circumstances: Betty was found in a wooded area in Brooker, off of NW 218th Avenue. She had been deceased for several weeks and was last seen in Starke, Florida, getting into a pickup truck.

Case # 10852-90

Eileen Jones

Incident Date: 1-13-90

Circumstances: Eileen was found deceased on 01-17-90 in her mobile home at Windmeadows Mobile Home Park.

Case # 00467-90

Tiffany Louise Sessions

Missing: 2/9/89

Circumstances: Tiffany disappeared from the University of Florida. At approximately 6:00 PM she told her roommate she was going for a walk and never returned. An extensive search provided no clues. Last Seen Wearing: Red sweatpants. Long sleeved pull-over sweatshirt with gray horizontal stripes and the word “Aspen” in green letters on front. Blue or white low cut “Reebok” sneakers.

Case # 01569-89

Rita Melton

Incident Date: 08-28-88

Circumstances: On 8-28-88, the body of 32 year old Rita Melton was discovered in the woods approximately 1.5 miles north of Orange Heights. Melton’s blue and white Ford F100 pickup truck was located nearby. The body had been in the woods for several days. Her death has been determined to be a homicide.

Case # 88-09026

Gerald Davis

Incident Date: 02-05-85

Circumstances: Gerald was found on 02-05-85 on County Road 329B (Newnans Lake Road).

Case # 85-3746

Cecil Shealy

Incident Date: 05-20-80

Circumstances: Cecil was found 05-20-80 in a field off County Road 241, north of Alachua. Last seen leaving his car with a black female, walking towards the field where his body was found.

Case # 08861-80

Ernestine Boston

Incident Date: 10-27-75

Circumstances: Ernestine was found 10-27-75 in a ditch on NE 53rd Avenue, near the City water plant. Cause of Death undetermined.

Case # 74-64661

Burley Junior Barnett

Incident Date: 09-20-74

Circumstances: Burley was found on 09-20-74 in his car at the southbound rest area on I-75.

Case # 74-45638

Betty Ann New

Incident Date: 09-06-74

Circumstances: Betty was found 09-06-74 in a field near Lake Burnett in Alachua County.

Case # 74-44984

Edwin Dusek

Incident Date: 07-03-73

Circumstances: Edwin was found 07-06-73 on a dirt road off Millhopper Road.

Case # 73-27711

Pearle Bartley

Incident Date: 10-27-69

Circumstances: Pearle was found 10-27-69, murdered in a country store south of Paynes Prairie.

Case # 69-3895

James Harold Thomas

Found Dead: 05/18/66

Circumstances: James was found in the wooded area south of Cross Creek with a gunshot to his head. He was in the Army, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and was last seen there December 3, 1965. His vehicle was found abandoned nearby on 12/10/65.

Case # 66-1270