Friends and family of an 89-year-old man murdered in his home one year ago worked together to try to drum up leads in the cold case.
Harry Smith’s family said that they want BCI to take over the investigation because they were frustrated with how the Ross County Sheriff has handled the case.
Smith, 89, was found dead inside a burned home in October 2011. At the time, investigators said that they believed the cause of death was arson, though Smith’s cause of death was unclear.
Eight months later, Smith’s death was declared a homicide.
On Tuesday, loved ones gathered for a vigil to vow not to give up hope that Smith’s killer will be found.
Smith was a World War II Navy veteran, father and grandfather.
“He’d give the greatest hugs,” granddaughter-in-law Andrea Smith said. “I loved that and he told it like it was.”
Family members said that they felt investigators were not as honest about what was behind Smith’s death.
“We haven’t been able to have any closure,” Smith said. “We went from losing the patriarch of this family to fighting for his honor.”
The family said that from the start, investigators focused on suicide. They changed the focus when items were discovered to be missing from Harry Smith’s home.
“He was bound, beaten and had a fractured skull,” Andrea Smith said. “No smoke in his airway.”
Vigil-goers released red, white and blue balloons in honor of Smith’s military service.
10TV’s call to the Ross County Sheriff were not returned.
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