LAKELAND police reopen 1979 homicide cases of two women - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

LAKELAND police reopen 1979 homicide cases of two women

Updated:
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) _ The unsolved cases of two women slain in 1979 have been reopened by police who believe a suspected killer was in town when they disappeared.

The Lakeland Police Department reopened the cases of Ida Ingles, 22, who was found in a field in 1979, and Letha Mae Williams, 21, whose skull was found in a trash pile the following year, The Miami Herald reported in its Monday editions.

Police in Broward County believe Eddie Lee Mosley, 53, fled to Lakeland from Fort Lauderdale in the summer of 1979 while detectives were investigating four slayings. He stayed in Lakeland until the wrong man, Jerry Frank Townsend, was charged with the murders.

Townsend, 49, was released last month after 22 years in prison after DNA testing cast doubt on his guilt. Townsend, who is mentally retarded, had confessed to six murders and a rape in 1979.

Mosley has recently been linked by DNA testing to seven killings, and is suspected of slaying 16 women and young girls in the Fort Lauderdale area between 1973 and 1987.

Detectives said they went to Mosley's Fort Lauderdale home in 1979 but were unable to question him because he was incoherent and under medication. The investigators asked his parents to bring him to the department the next day, but did not see him for more than a month.

Police said the family sent Mosley to stay with his grandfather in Lakeland and kept his whereabouts secret.

Lakeland police suspect Mosley in the death of Ingles in part because a man told police after her disappearance that he last saw her leaving a pool hall with an out-of-towner named Mosley.

Jack Gillen, spokesman for the Lakeland police, said he could not comment on why Mosley was not arrested or pursued more aggressively following the murders.

Mosley has been held in a state mental institution since 1987 after being found incompetent to stand trial in two other murder cases.
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