Fort Myers, Fla., police have nabbed a suspect in a 23-year-old homicide case after putting together pieces of the investigation with the help of prime-time television programming, News-Press.com reports.
"We continued to be diligent … and turn over all the stones we could," said Fort Myers Police Sgt. Brian O'Reilly, who was only in seventh grade when the slaying occurred.
Angelo Ruth, 60, a sandwich-shop owner, is now being held in Lee County, Fla., jail on a $200,000 bond, charged in the 1993 death of his ex-girlfriend Mattie Henry.
"This is an example of what can be done when you have the resources," interim Police Chief Dennis Eads said.
According to the report, detectives had help from the prime-time television show Cold Justice in the decades-old case.
The show detailed the slaying in an Aug. 7, 2015, episode, breathing new life into the case. Investigators with the show helped O'Reilly and Detective Albert Antonini confirm that Ruth had forged Henry's signature on a life insurance policy that paid out $100,000, also noting that Ruth's home had faced foreclosure nine days before the killing.
Henry's body was found behind a recreation center—along with her purse and bed sheets normally used at motels—on Sept. 8, 1993, with a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Ruth said in a deposition that he took Henry to the Poinsettia Motel, where they had had sex before he went home, according to the report.
The sheet authorities found had a black powder burn on it and six bullet holes through it. Investigators determined that the killer used the sheet to catch the blood, shooting through the sheet, which caused the burn and multiple holes. Henry's blood was also found in the trunk of Ruth's car, authorities said.
O'Reilly said that the publicity "gave us key witnesses."
"The community started to talk about this case," he said.
"A lot of the murders here, they go unsolved because everybody’s always running their mouths saying what they think, and not what they know. And then, too, they don’t talk when they need to talk," Mattie Henry's daughter Rhonda Henry said on the show.
"If we can bring an end to this case, it brings a message to the community that the Fort Myers Police Department will not stop until we get the person responsible for a murder," Antonini said. "If we can put that little thought in one murderer’s head, it’s going to be one less murderer, and one more family saved."
Read more at News-Press.com.