Cold case: Georgia police seek info on Missouri man’s 2003 killing

ARCADIA, Mo. — A Georgia police department is seeking help in solving a cold case from 15 years ago. A Missouri railroad contractor was killed, and police didn’t turn up any leads back then.

LaGrange Police Detective Ley Wynne said 39-year-old William Kent Adams was found dead in his car in April 2003. He was in Georgia working for a company that cleans railroad crossings and was set to leave LaGrange the following weekend. It was Easter weekend.

Police found Adams sitting in a red 1996 Ford Taurus that was still running. His wallet was empty and was sitting in his lap. The passenger-side window was rolled down, leading detectives to believe the motive for his murder was robbery. Detectives found Easter baskets in the trunk of Adams’ car. He had just purchased them from Walmart for his two daughters.

An autopsy showed Adams was shot in his chest. Officials ruled it as a homicide.

Police interviewed people, but no arrests were made. Wynne said the case is difficult since Adams wasn’t from LaGrange. There were no locals to interview about Adams’ friends or habits. Investigators initially found little evidence to piece the crime together. They canvassed the Thomas Town area, checked surveillance videos from convenience stores, and found nothing. They also used K9 units to see if a weapon had been discarded in the woods.

The original 911 calls came from a residential area. Police interviewed those neighbors. They told police they heard a loud bang between 8 and 9p.m., but they thought it was employees taking trash out of a nearby restaurant. Police now think the neighbors heard the gunshot that killed Adams.

In the following days, weeks, and months after Adams’ mysterious death, investigators followed up on leads, spoke to family, friends, coworkers, folks in the area where the car — and his body — were found, plus complete strangers, LaGrange Police Sgt.  Mark Cavender said. Soon, a clear and somewhat disturbing picture of Adams started to form.

Adams had two clear addictions: basketball and crack cocaine.

The day Adams died was pay day with the railroad job. This has further deepened police’s belief that the murder was motivated by robbery, since Adams’ wallet was found empty.

In the days leading up to his death, Adams was seen playing basketball by multiple people at the Easy Street Park, Cavender said, which may explain why he was in that area when he died. The 39 year old may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The LPD detectives in the past have had officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations examine the file and entered the ballistic evidence into the International Ballistic Identification System.

Anyone with information can call Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000 or Wynne at 706-883-2609. There is a reward for information leading to an arrest.