“In Cold Blood” Killers’ Bodies Exhumed for Evidence in Florida Case

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LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kan. - Perry Smith and Richard Hickcock are best known for the Clutter family killings more than half a century ago - in a case immortalized in the book and later movie "In Cold Blood."

But it wasn't until yesterday that a warrant was signed and today that their bodies were exhumed to get DNA that might link them to a similar case in Florida.

When the four people in the Clutter family were brutally murdered in 1959 in Holcomb, Kan., it was big news.

"It was a high profile case obviously. Quadruple homicides in 1959 were pretty rare," said Kyle Smith, the Deputy Director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

The murders were made even more well known years later when Truman Capote's book, "In Cold Blood," came out.

"He got in the minds of Hickcock and Smith and portrayed what they were thinking what they were doing at the time of the crimes," said Kyle Smith.

Even before Capote's book, Smith and Hickcock were suspects in another multiple murder in Sarasota County, Florida.

"I have seen newspaper articles from January of 1960 where the Sarasota Sheriff was contacting the K.B.I. director, asking them for information about that case," said Kyle Smith.

The Walker family, a young family of four, was murdered December 19, 1959.  It's believed Smith and Hickcock could be responsible for those murders, and through DNA, the case that's been open for 53 years could be closed.  On Tuesday morning, their bodies were exhumed and samples were taken.

While the victims were killed long ago, as were the perpetrators in the Clutter murders, the hope for Sarasota County authorities is that it will bring closure to the Walker family members that are still alive.

It could take weeks, even months for DNA results to come through, according to Smith.

The K.B.I. says Hickcock and Smith's bodies were re-buried Tuesday around noon.

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