Cold Case Reopened - Murder Mystery?

4-23-04 - What was thought to be a suicide nearly six decades ago in Gainesville, may be a murder. Authorities have officially reopened the investigation into the death of Harold “Buddy” Vest, who died in 1946, inside his Gainesville business.

Friday, his son, Herb Vest, led a team that exhumed his father’s body in Henrietta, Texas. Experts hope to find the cause of death within two weeks.

Buddy Vest was found hanging from a rope inside his cabinet shop in 1946 – a death that was immediately ruled suicide. Herb Vest was only 18 months old at the time, but refused to believe the story growing up.

A few months ago, he hired a team of private investigators and placed an ad in a local paper in October, offering a reward for any information into his father’s death. The ad was answered by a letter; written by a A. Smith. The person claimed to be a woman who says she went to Buddy's cabinet shop that night to flirt and make her boyfriend jealous. But she says he stormed into the shop with two friends and brutalized both her and Buddy. The men removed her clothes and put them on Vest.

She then claimed they took her out of the room. But the next morning Vest was found with his hands and feet tied. He was suspended from a belt that had been removed from one of his machines.

But the most startling revelation made in the letter – the writer claimed her boyfriend was a Gainesville police officer. She also claims one man involved in the killing, named Tom, is still alive.

Herb Vest is asking that the writer step forward with more information, so the truth can be revealed about how his father died.

Authorities should have results to the cause of death within the next two weeks.