SCSO seeking to resolve Bedford murder cold case

COLUMBIANA – Since the 2001 murder case of Willie Earl “Bo” Bedford went cold, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Squad has been working to find his killer.

“The case has been given attention continually, even since before our group was started. It’s moving forward,” Investigator Jim Dormuth said.

According to Dormuth, the body 46-year-old Bedford was found slumped over the steering wheel in his vehicle on Horton Farm Road in Columbiana on Dec. 22, 2001.

Dormuth said Bedford died as the result of a single gunshot wound and his body had most likely been at the scene for several hours before he was discovered. His death was ruled a homicide shortly after he was found.

“He was well known in the local community. He did home repair work and masonry work,” Dormuth said. “He was also involved with some illegal drug activity.

Now, 16 years later, Dormuth said the cold case squad is continuing to follow leads concerning the Bedford case.

“We have always had leads, and we have targets of investigation,” Investigator Bob O’Connor added.

“(Leads) come and go,” Dormuth said. “You have to understand, with most of our cold cases, information will come in and that information will be worked. It may lead to some other information or it may not. It’s not a constant flow of leads, but information does dribble in over time.”

Shortly after Bedford’s murder, the Alabama Governor’s Office offered $5,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

“That’s still active,” Dormuth said.

Because of the nature of the crime, O’Connor said authorities are treating the case as a homicide investigation.

“Even though it’s old, it is a current, pending, serious felony investigation,” O’Connor said. “The ultimate result would be an arrest, a charge and hopefully, a conviction for murder.”

Dormuth said authorities believe that Bedford’s killer may still be in the Shelby County area and encouraged anyone who has more information about the circumstances behind Bedford’s death to contact the SCSO. Crime tips can be reported by calling the SCSO’s main line at 669-4181 or the secret witness line at 669-9116, or online at Shelbyso.com.