News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, June 4, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Richmond County investigators say they have finally cracked a cold case from 1986.
The brutal murder happened 25 years ago, and deputies have been trying since then to solve who killed an 87-year-old woman.
A suspect, Jimmy Lee Riley, has finally been nabbed for the brutal stabbing death.
Janice Haynes, who lives in Hyde Park, was also living there 25 years ago when her neighbor Pauline McCoy was robbed, strangled and stabbed to death.
"Thank you Jesus because that's the one, that's the person who solved this case and he made sure that the deputies and the investigators stayed focus," Haynes said.
Haynes remembers McCoy and described her as, "A good neighbor. She was a sweet little lady; she didn't bother anyone, she loved everyone in the neighborhood and she lived to be a rightful age and she would've probably still been living if she hadn't been brutally murdered."
Investigators say that after all this time, they finally know by whom. Riley is a much older man now, but he was just 26 years old at the time.
News 12's cameras were there on that December 1986 night when deputies found McCoy dead in her living room.
"She was like a grandmother to the neighborhood, to all the little children in the neighborhood," Haynes said.
Haynes shares the same sentiment with neighbors News 12 spoke to at the time of the crime, when a neighbor said, "Anytime I went off from home, she would always watch over me and if she was gone and I'm home, I would keep an eye out on her house."
That home is much quieter now. A "for rent" sign hangs where sheets of plywood boarded up the scene of a crime. Neighbors are relieved that while some lost hope, investigators never did.
"I guess through the years, most people gave up, but that just let's you know that there's a God and he's looking down and he's still taking care of his angels, even when he calls them home," Haynes said.
Riley was taken into custody earlier Monday. He was picked up at his home. He was the original suspect in the case, but investigators just weren't able to link him directly to the crime and file charges.