Murders reexamined after 35 years

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 1999

Even after 35 years, Thelma Collins can barely talk about the &uot;forgotten case&uot; of her brother’s unsolved murder. &uot;It ain’t going to bring him back, but it does make you feel better to see something being done,&uot;&160;said Collins on the news that the investigation into her brother Henry Dee’s murder has been reopened.

More than three decades after the mutilated remains of Dee and Charles Moore, both of Franklin County, were found dumped in a Louisiana swamp, District Attorney Ronnie Harper has reopened their case.

The bottom halves of their bodies were found in Old River 17 miles south of Tallulah, La., in July 1964, two months after they were last seen near their hometown of Meadville.

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The partial remains were found tied together with a thick rope. Other body parts were found later in the same area. No trials were ever held in connection with the killings.

The cases remain among a number of unsolved murders during the Civil Rights Era in Mississippi. Dee and Moore, both black, were about 20 at the time of their deaths.

Harper has asked two state agencies to assist in the investigation.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General’s Office have agreed to resume the investigation, Harper said.

&uot;I&160;made the requests after I&160;was contacted by (Dee’s and Moore’s) family members,&uot; said&160;Harper, refusing to comment further since the investigation is ongoing.

Lt. Col. Jim Box, chief of investigations for the Department of Public Safety, would not comment.

But spokeswoman Nancy East of the Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the office received a letter July 12 from Harper, asking that the probe be resumed.

&uot;We’re open to assisting in any way we can,&uot;&160;East said.

The discovery of their remains was made during the FBI’s multi-state search for the bodies of missing civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner who were later found murdered near Philadelphia.

Franklin County Sheriff James Newman, who was not sheriff at the time of the deaths, could not be reached for comment Thursday.