UPDATE: Vanishing, burglary, and murder: notable unsolved crimes

Although 2011 was the second least deadly year since 1964, that does not mean that Richmond was free of sensational crimes. Here’s a recap of some of the more notable crimes that remain unsolved.

While Richmond may still be known throughout the country as one of the most violent cities in America, 2011 was actually the second least deadly year since 1964. Despite strides to raze Richmond’s reputation for crime and murder, local police were faced with several extraordinary crimes that remain unsolved.

UPDATE: The disappearance of Matthew Williams

Saturday, January 7th, a pedestrian spotted a body in the canal near the 1900 block of Dock Street. Police pulled the body from the canal and on Monday it was identified as Matthew Williams. Interestingly, at this time the police do not suspect foul play and are not looking for any suspects. Here is the release from the RPD:

The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the body found in the canal Saturday as Matthew H. Williams, who’s been missing since last month.

At approximately 2:10 p.m. Saturday, a passerby in the 1900 block of Dock Street spotted the body in the canal and called police.

The Medical Examiner’s Officer will determine the cause and manner of death, but Richmond Police detectives do not suspect foul play and are not actively searching for any suspects at this time.

Williams, 23, had moved to the Richmond area from North Carolina in November and lived in the 1900 block of East Cary Street. He was reported missing to police on Dec. 14.

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Original: Matthew Williams had just moved to Richmond from North Carolina in November 2011. It seems that Williams, 23, enjoyed nightlife in Shockoe Bottom and was eager to make friends. Employees at The Lucky Buddha recall that Williams, an employee at Wells Fargo, was so eager to impress people that he bought drinks for a table of strangers one night, spending hundreds of dollars. He was not shy in both showing and telling others that he had a lot of money.

On Tuesday, December 13th, Williams disappeared a few hours after leaving The Lucky Buddha earlier that night.

Surveillance cameras show Williams entering his 1900 East Cary St. apartment building with three unknown men at 10pm. Cameras show Williams leaving with the men one hour later.

At about 1am, two of those men returned to Williams’s apartment and left with his television and video game console.

Police identified the three men as Tre Carrington, 24, Erik Finger Jr., 22, and Andrew Scott, 21. Each were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary about one week after Williams went missing. Police also said, and still maintain, that the three are “persons of interest” in the disappearance of Williams. The three men have been released on secure bond and will have court dates in four weeks time.

Police have thoroughly searched the James River and Kanawha Canal and have now expanded the search for Williams outside of the Shockoe Bottom area. A $10,000 reward has been posted for information leading to Matthew Williams’ location.

Robbery and hostage-taking in Southside

On Monday, December 5th, at 6:40pm, a couple and their two children returned to their apartment on the 3700 block of Angela Drive. Two burglars were, unbeknownst to the family, already in the apartment.

Taken by surprise at seeing the family return home, one of the burglars grabbed a child and held a handgun to the child’s head. The other suspect held a sawed-off shotgun, and the men demanded money.

At one point, the father of the seized child took a hammer and struck the suspect holding the shotgun in the face. The man with the handgun unloaded into the father’s chest and then both suspects fled. Neither the children nor the woman were harmed.

After undergoing surgery at VCU Medical Center, the father’s condition gradually improved. The man described the suspect he struck with the hammer as a black male with a dark complexion, about 19 years-old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, and weighing 150-160 pounds. He was wearing a black skull cap, black jacket, black jeans, and a dark bandana.

The other suspect was described as a black male with a caramel-colored complexion, 19-24 years-old, about 5 feet 6 inches and weighing approximately 150 pounds. He was also wearing dark clothing and a dark bandana.

Even with one suspect maimed by a hammer blow to the face, both suspects remain at large.

Mother and Son Killed in Separate Incidents

In June 2010, Bonnie Marrow’s son was shot and killed. Robert Lee Cox, Jr., 22, was found with multiple gunshot wounds, slumped over the steering wheel of his car off of Mechanicsville Turnpike in Henrico County. The case was never solved.

On December 22, 2011, at about 7:15am, Bonnie Marrow was driving through Church Hill after visiting her son’s gravesite in Oakwood Cemetery when she was struck by a bullet somewhere in the vicinity of Nine Mile Road and the Mechanicsville Turnpike corridor. She managed to drive to the 1100 block of N. 25th street before crashing her late model Acura. Marrow later died at the VCU Medical Center.

It’s unknown if Marrow was shot by a stray bullet, or if she was the victim of a car-jacking, or deliberate murder.

The following week, without leads, the Police distributed fliers and spoke with residents to see if anyone might have seen the incident. As of yet, there have been no arrests. Detectives are still investigating.

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Anyone with information regarding either of the cases are encouraged to contact Richmond Police through their Tips Line at 804.514.TIPS (8477) or though Crime Stoppers at 804.780.1000

photo of Matthew Williams courtesy of Richmond Police

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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