Murder Of Military Veteran Goes Unsolved For 27 Years


UPDATED: Thursday February 21, 2013 11:14 PM

For nearly 27 years, the murder of a central Ohio military veteran has gone unsolved in Fairfield County.

“It was a brutal homicide. It was possibly and probably an abduction from a home,” said Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen.

Family members recall trouble brewing at 39-year-old John Landis' Lancaster home the night he was killed.

“My husband was over there and dropped John off that night, and there was this car that kept suspiciously driving around and around and around,” said Cheryl Stiverson.

A team of investigators continues to work the case.

Details of the mystery are scarce. Evidence shows that there was an altercation inside Landis' residence.  A kitchen set was broken as the commotion continued in the back yard.

The next morning a farmer found the body of John Landis, eight miles from his home on rural Rockmill Road.

“He didn't deserve two bullet holes to his head,” said Stiverson. “The only enemies he ever had were in Vietnam.”

Lt. Tim Voris was at the crime scene that June day back in 1986. Crimetracker 10 went back to the spot with Voris who is still looking for clues.

“He's a former military officer, distinguished, tall big guy, kind of… You know, I think it takes more than one person to remove him from his home,” said Voris.

Especially since investigators said his young daughter was also home at the time.

Investigators said, like Landis often did, he stopped at a convenience store on the night of his murder. Then, he came down the alley and came home.

A broken chair from the kitchen signified that the struggle inside had spilled outside. There were no witnesses whoever came forward who could possibly have seen him for the last time.

Crimetracker 10 asked detectives how nobody could hear or see anything.

“There was a lot of activity in that area, in that neighborhood. So it's not unusual for a lot of disturbances, loud noises, people yelling and things like that in the evenings,” said Voris.

A neighbor told the sheriff's office that he heard some shouting in the alley that night.

Both the Landis family and law enforcement believe it's likely Landis knew his attackers which might mean somebody knows something that could solve this case..

“There's somebody here with the answer. I know there is,” said Stiverson.

Until the killer is found, Voris and the Landis family will continue to search, hoping to find out why John Landis was murdered.

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