News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Twenty-two murders in Richmond County so far this year. That is an increase compared to this time last year, but investigators say they've solved all but one of them.
Lt. Blaise Dresser, head of the Violent Crimes Division at the Sheriff's Office, says, "Overall, our murder rate is up this year than in previous years."
But even though murders are up for the year, the number of unsolved murders are down.
"Out of the 22 murders we've had this year, only one is unsolved," Dresser said.
To put that number into perspective, last year, there were eight unsolved murders. There were eight more in 2010.
"We've made some changes to our homicide division. We have additional investigators slated to investigate nothing but homicides," he said.
Dresser says the extra manpower has really made a difference.
"They have taken cases that were really 'who-done-its' is what we call them ... They've been able to develop leads that ultimately lead to the solving of the case."
The only case so far from 2012 that continues to stump investigators is the death of 16-year-old Kyle Royal. Royal was found dead in the backseat of a car on Jan. 16. Deputies say he was shot while leaving the Magic City teen nightclub. The Sheriff's Office has offered reward money, identified a murder weapon and even put up billboards back in June. However, despite their efforts, new leads still haven't shown up.
"We're still tracking down people. Every time we do an interview on it, we get an additional name of someone who may have been there. That one person may be the crux for solving the case," Dresser said.
And solving this case would mean a perfect record for Richmond County homicide investigators in 2012.
The reward for any information leading to an arrest in Royal's murder is up to $5,000. Investigators say to call with any information, no matter how small. You can remain anonymous.