On Tuesday, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office received the results from the most recent DNA testing conducted in December of 2012 from the exhumed bodies of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith. They were not able to get any viable evidence linking the convicted killers to a Sarasota cold case.
The entire Walker family was found slain in Sarasota on December 19, 1959. Authorities believe Christine Walker, 24, was raped and shot by intruders. Her husband, Cliff Walker, 25, and 3-year-old son Jimmie were also shot to death. Their 23-month-old daughter, Debbie, was shot and found drowned in a bathtub.
The brutal killing occurred just a month after the Clutter family, of Holcomb Kansas, was found slain in a similar fashion. Smith and Hickock, who fled to Florida after the murder occurred, were convicted of and executed in connection with the Kansas murders, the case became the topic of Truman Capote’s book "In Cold Blood."
Last year, the SCSO began investigating the two men as possible suspects the case.
Investigators took DNA samples from Christine Walker’s underwear and tried to match them to either of the two suspects. But the approach was unsuccessful, as the DNA from both the crime scene and the graves of Hickock and Smith “contained degraded samples with potential contamination from handling and years of storage,” according to a press release.
Authorities still regard Smith and Hickock as the most viable suspects in the Walker murders.
Capt. Jeff Bell of the Sarasota Sheriff's Office told The Associated Press Tuesday that they are not closing the case, and will be looking into “other opportunities.”
The AP article says that the Walker killings are even mentioned in Truman Capote’s book, however, he incorrectly places the murders near Tallahassee, Fla., about five hours north of the actual scene, the article states.