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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Cold cases are listed

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cold cases in Martinsville date to 1974 and include not only homicides but also missing persons, according to summaries provided by the Martinsville Police Department.

The Patrick County Sheriff’s Office has two cold cases, one of which dates to 1989, officials there said.

Martinsville cases include:

• Beverly Marie Hairston, 19, and Elizabeth H. Stockton, 29, both of whom were found March 17, 1974, lying on the sidewalks on Fayette Street. One of the women was dead at the scene; the other died at the hospital. Both suffered gunshot wounds.

A potential suspect has been identified in the case.

• Jose Fransico Jimenez was found April 24, 2000, shot to death in his vehicle, which was parked in Applebee’s back parking lot. A relative of a person sought in connection with the case also was shot and taken to the hospital for treatment. The wanted man’s vehicle was later recovered, but there was no sign of him.

Warrants were issued for Jose Luis Rendon-Garcia. Local authorities are working with several other agencies, including the State Police Fugitive Squad, FBI, ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) and the Mexican Consulate in Washington, D.C., to locate Rendon-Garcia.

• Sidney Dion Thomas was found on Aug. 7, 2004, about three hours after authorities responded to a call of shots fired on Pinehall Road. When authorities arrived at the scene at 3:30 a.m., witnesses reported that multiple people were shooting and 15 to 20 vehicles were leaving the area. Around 6:30 a.m., Thomas’ body was found in the yard of a home in the 1200 block of Pinehall Road.

• Bryan Christopher Rorrer died on Oct. 3, 2010. Officers responding to a call of shots fired on Forest Street were told later that a man who had arrived at the emergency room with a gunshot wound to his abdomen had died.

• Lance O’Brian Schoolfield was found July 10, 2012, inside an apartment suffering an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A suspect has been developed in the case.

The two missing persons cases are:

• Howard Kenneth Woolwine, 74 and an Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patient, was last seen around 6:15 a.m. Aug. 15, 1998, as he walked out of the rear door of the Hairston Home for Adults. At the time, he was wearing dark blue pants, a light colored shirt and black suspenders.

Extensive searches were done with various law enforcement and search-and-rescue teams. Multiple types of trained canines also were used, according to Martinsville Police Lt. Mark Gilbert.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in those woods” searching for Woolwine, Gilbert added.

He also noted that Woolwine has a unique piece of medical equipment in his body that may help identify him. Gilbert said he has forwarded that information to the state lab in case information comes in that fits the description. Gilbert calls the lab once a year, but so far has had no luck.

That Woolwine went missing without a trace is surprising. “He had to shuffle his feet to walk,” Gilbert said.

• Earnest Thomas Mitchell, 61, on Dec. 4, 2004, told the Hairston Home staff that he was going to walk up the street. At 12:15 p.m., staff members became worried because Mitchell did not return for lunch. Extensive searches were conducted, but Mitchell has not been seen since.

There also are two cold cases in Patrick County, authorities said:

• Arthur Bowman, 48, who was found April 16, 1996, lying in the front drive of his mobile home in Ararat, Patrick County Sheriff’s Maj. Garry Brown said. Bowman had a single gunshot wound to his head and was dead at the scene.

“We’ve developed suspects, but we have been unable to get the concrete evidence we need to resolve the case,” Brown said. “We are still working on it, and we have been working on it since it happened. We just haven’t caught that break that we need yet.”

Work on the case will continue because “it is always important to give the families closure, and it’s important to the community,” Brown said.

• Patrick authorities also are jointly working with Henry County authorities on the Ether Adean Smith case.

Smith, 38, was reported missing from her 1538 Rivermont Heights home in 1989. Her remains were found in a 55-gallon steel drum pulled from Philpott Lake in 2001. Smith died from two gunshot wounds to the head.


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