Cold Case: Who killed two elderly women in Starkville?

The Starkville Labor Day murder is two of the most brutal unsolved crimes in the city's history.

Posted: Nov 22, 2017 12:01 AM
Updated: Oct 8, 2018 2:40 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - The Starkville Labor Day murder is two of the most brutal unsolved crimes in the city's history.

Two elderly women died in 1990, but are still on the minds of many locally.

"I just opened the case file today in like several years," Starkville Sgt. Bill Lott said. "I just feel like a failure not being able to solve it."

Lott has been on the case since 2003. 

On September 3, 1990, a man entered the home of 65-year-old Kathryn Crigler.

Her friend, 81-year-old Betty Jones, was at Crigler's house. 

Jones opened the home door after hearing a knock. That's when a man entered and began stabbing her, killing her instantly.

"It's nothing anyone wants to hear," Jones' niece, Jennifer McWhorter-Taylor, said.

Crigler, who was in a separate room at the time, was raped and assaulted.

She was strangled and had several broken bones causing her to faint.

When she woke up, she was able to dial 911.

Crigler: "I need help."
911 Dispatcher: "Your name is Mrs. Crigler?
Crigler: "Yes. Tonight there is one single boy, a young man. And he went in the front room where my friend was and he came back with his hands all bloody."

Crigler died from her injuries and deep depression months later.

Before she died, she explained what she saw the night of the murder.

"She described him as having the most piercing blue eyes she had ever seen," Lott said.

Lott said the man came into the home asking, "Where is the silver?" But after he killed Jones and assaulted Crigler, he only picked up $20.

Police say sexual homicides of the elderly only occur in 3 percent of homicide cases.

And scary enough, statistics show that most suspects know their victim.

A sexual assault kit was used on Crigler, but there was never a complete match.

Lott thinks there is more that can be done.

"If you did familial search DNA you could run against the database again and see if he has kinfolks," he said. "You can find him and stop a rapist."

Familial search DNA is a system where you can find family members of suspects through the DNA search and the database.

Lab officials look for relatives by scanning genetic profiles in the offender database and look for DNA samples that match with the suspects.

States like California utilize the tool to snatch several criminals off of the streets, so they ask -- Why not Mississippi?

Taylor and Lott have become advocates for the tool.

Taylor even sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office asking to please consider the testing.

If you have any information that can help Starkville Police crack the case, please contact the department at (662)-323-4131.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 498560

Reported Deaths: 9939
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34150535
DeSoto31916399
Hinds31878624
Jackson24352379
Rankin21928388
Lee15450235
Madison14547279
Jones13789241
Forrest13428250
Lauderdale11944315
Lowndes10966185
Lamar10491135
Pearl River9454237
Lafayette8462138
Hancock7703126
Washington7371157
Oktibbeha7118130
Monroe6740174
Warren6656176
Pontotoc6620102
Neshoba6613206
Panola6466131
Marshall6398132
Bolivar6268146
Union596794
Pike5794152
Alcorn5646101
Lincoln5421134
George494979
Scott471198
Tippah466081
Prentiss464881
Leflore4631144
Itawamba4605105
Adams4577119
Tate4553109
Copiah445692
Simpson4423116
Yazoo440386
Wayne438572
Covington427894
Marion4222107
Sunflower4217104
Coahoma4127104
Leake407687
Newton381079
Grenada3700108
Stone358764
Tishomingo358091
Attala330589
Jasper328565
Winston313491
Clay306775
Chickasaw297867
Clarke290694
Calhoun278145
Holmes267287
Smith262450
Yalobusha232847
Tallahatchie225851
Walthall217763
Greene216048
Lawrence211440
Perry204855
Amite204055
Webster201845
Noxubee185940
Montgomery179356
Jefferson Davis170942
Carroll168238
Tunica159039
Benton147538
Kemper141341
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131637
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106328
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 814363

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1141131910
Mobile722941323
Madison52048686
Shelby37315341
Baldwin37098540
Tuscaloosa34973599
Montgomery33996725
Lee23158240
Calhoun22168470
Morgan20675372
Etowah19770496
Marshall18258300
Houston17314405
St. Clair15924337
Cullman15333290
Limestone15239198
Elmore15095284
Lauderdale14163294
Talladega13728272
DeKalb12575259
Walker11096366
Blount10104174
Autauga9904146
Jackson9795180
Coffee9182189
Dale8866181
Colbert8794200
Tallapoosa7045195
Escambia6747127
Covington6688179
Chilton6595160
Russell626358
Franklin5936105
Chambers5562142
Marion4960126
Dallas4897199
Clarke473482
Pike4721105
Geneva4564126
Winston4478101
Lawrence4269117
Bibb421786
Barbour356075
Marengo334189
Monroe330662
Randolph327763
Butler324894
Pickens314082
Henry311265
Hale309487
Cherokee300557
Fayette291079
Washington251151
Cleburne247058
Crenshaw243775
Clay240867
Macon230762
Lamar218146
Conecuh185752
Coosa179038
Lowndes174161
Wilcox167838
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125844
Choctaw87027
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We have had some nice and dry days for the last several days. We will change things just a bit over the next few days, as we will see some scattered showers and thunderstorms back into our weather forecast by later Wednesday and into Thursday.
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