Family speaks out as murder mystery reaches into 3 decades - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Family speaks out as murder mystery reaches into 3 decades

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They  were closing up their grocery store in 1985 when the family's life changed forever. They were closing up their grocery store in 1985 when the family's life changed forever.
Caldwell died in the parking lot after he managed to get to wife to safety on the other side of the truck. Caldwell died in the parking lot after he managed to get to wife to safety on the other side of the truck.
As the couple walked to their truck, there was a robbery. Duane was shot and killed and Betty survived. As the couple walked to their truck, there was a robbery. Duane was shot and killed and Betty survived.
Photos of a loving family stir strong emotions for the children of Duane and Betty Caldwell. Photos of a loving family stir strong emotions for the children of Duane and Betty Caldwell.
CLINTON, KY (KFVS) -

A robbery, a murder and now a mystery stretches into three decades.

As police take a fresh look at the murder of Duane Caldwell, his children speak out for the first time, believing there's somebody out there with answers.

Duane and Betty Caldwell were closing up their grocery store on January 7, 1985, when the family's life changed forever.

As the couple walked to their truck, there was a robbery. Duane was shot and killed and Betty survived.

Their children say their parents gave them the world, and now they hope speaking out will finally bring their father justice.

Photos of a loving family stir strong emotions for the children of Duane and Betty Caldwell.

Daughter Jo Ann Harrison says her mom and dad raised the five of them on hard work and family values. The kind of values that come from a World War II veteran turned business owner, and his faithful Christian wife.

"Neither one of them came from money but worked hard," said Jo Ann Harrison.

Betty died in 1993, eight years after she witnessed the murder of her husband. It happened in early 1985.

"Just to hear somebody say I made a terrible mistake," said Daughter Anita Mullins.

On Clay Street in Clinton, the couple walked out of their family owned market and crossed the street to a parking lot.

"Somebody came out of the alley and told them they wanted the money, said Son David Caldwell" "He tossed them the sack. They even told my mother to toss her purse, and she did."

Betty remembered a black man with a red ski mask who called her by name.

"She always felt like it was someone who knew her but she couldn't put anything to the voice," said Jo Ann.

"According to mother the gunman was reaching down with one arm trying to gather the sack and her purse and had rifle in other hand and as they turned the gun went off," said David. My father was struck."

Caldwell died in the parking lot after he managed to get to wife to safety on the other side of the truck.

"That's one of the amazing things he walked my mother around that truck," said Jo Ann.

Did the suspect mean to shoot? The family thinks it may have been an accident.

They believe the gunman knew the couple's routine and knew their father always carried the receipts of the day with him.

A few suspects developed over the years but no arrests. No one they could place at the scene.

"I don't know how you could live with that," said Jo Ann.

Even 27 years later, Caldwell's children say the answers are out there.

"At this point I just need somebody to say I did this," Jo Ann said. " I was young I made a stupid mistake and I'm sorry."

Apparently there was a getaway car with one or two people inside.

The gun was never recovered.

The family hopes witnesses finally willing to come forward and today's technology could help solve their father's murder.

Police say the case is open. But, they need information from the public to finally solve it.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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