Cold Case Break - Suicide now Homicide

8-20-04 - There's a new twist to a Cold Case - what was ruled a suicide nearly 60 years ago in Gainesville has now been officially ruled a homicide.

Authorities found the body of Harold "Buddy" Vest hanging by the neck inside his cabinet shop in 1946. But last year, his son Buddy Vest, set out to prove that his father didn't kill himself. He hit pay dirt when a witness sent an anonymous letter to Vest claiming she witnessed his murder.

That information led to the exhumation of Vest's body from a cemetery in Henrietta, Texas last Spring. This week, the results of an autopsy were released to investigators. Cooke County Justice of the Peace Dorothy Lewis says it shows Vest had a broken nose and broken tooth at the time of his death. They were injuries that he didn't have when he left home for his Gainesville business the night of his death.

Lewis changed the cause of death this week from suicide to homicide.

Herb Vest and his team of private investigators will now work hand in hand with the Cooke County D.A.'s office as the case is reopened as a criminal investigation.

Vest issued a statement this week, promising that if the perpetrators of the crime or witnesses come forward voluntarily he'll recommend they will not be prosecuted. But if they don't he'll make sure they're prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.