New push raises hopes for solving Richmond County cold cases

Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There is a new push to solve a Richmond County cold case from 2010.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nancy Cushman and Angela Brooks were found dead near Twiggs Street and Laney Walker Boulevard.

A bystander was walking in the area around 2 a.m. and found the two victims near the train tracks.

Richmond County deputies found a car that was associated with the pair, but the case went cold.

Now Gov. Brian Kemp is investing $5 million to fund a new cold case unit within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

A new Georgia law allows families of homicide victims to ask law enforcement to look back into unsolved cases.

The bill could offer hope to families of more than 170 cold case victims.

“It’s about to be 23 years, and there is still nothing,” said Joy Lewis, sister of cold case victim.

It is 23 years of questions, sleepless nights, and no closure as to who took her brother’s life.

“Who are you to take a life when you didn’t give a life, you know, that was my only brother. My mom’s only son, my father’s only son, his two daughters. Only father, you know, and they didn’t get it today was wiped of them getting to know him,” said Lewis.

It went without a motive or a suspect.

“It went cold at the time. Richard Roundtree was the investigator on the case at the time, he was working exceptionally hard, you know, in regard to finding who the murderer was at the time,” she said.

According to documents from the sheriff’s office, this is the case for 171 other families in Richmond County.

“Many questions pose in my brain. Was the case worked, as it should? You know, is there something else we can do that can be done? And, you know, what can we do now, today,” said Lewis.

The sheriff’s office does have a cold case unit.

This year, Kemp signed into law the Coleman-Baker Act, a bill designed to help families of murder victims, like the Lewis family, get closure.

“I’m to the point, even if they have to go and dig up the remains, if there is any evidence that they can actually get from them from the grave, you know, I’m willing to exhaust all means necessary because I want to just kind of put this at ease,” said Lewis.

The bill requires law enforcement agencies to provide exact numbers of unsolved homicide cases.

Families of homicide victims can request law enforcement to review cold cases and apply new technology and resources to the case.

Lewis says it’s a sign.

“It’s hope. We just need the right people in place to accommodate the diagnostics and the logistics of that, that bill, and of course, the new technology,” she said.

She promised her parents when they died, she would get justice.

“I told my father, I said, you know, Mark, my word. I said I want to find Skeeter’s killers,” said Lewis.

It goes into effect on July 1.

We plan on sitting down with GBI to hear more about the team they are forming for the cold case unit, where the money is going, and what type of technology they’ll be using.