Charles Boone was 33 years old and was a pretty successful guy in the local community around Bluefield, West Virginia. He was married and had two children, a son and a daughter. Whatever else he had by way of attributes he was definitely a worker. On 14th March 1981 he had scheduled a business meeting at the ungodly hour of 7am on a Saturday.
The location was his third floor office in the old Commercial Bank Building. I had a look and assumed this has now gone. Then a kind lady from the area pointed me to the below location. The mistake I made was looking for an ‘old’ bank as opposed to a modern building that had been a bank.
This would have been a very quiet office building at that time on a Saturday. I can picture it and hear the echoes of each footfall on polished floors. I can only guess that the street would have had few pedestrians at that time. There was apparently lots of traffic though so early hopes were for a witness to be found who could shed light on the who and then the police could find out the why.
The idea was for the victim and his business partner to have this meeting. Instead Mr Boone was found strangled in the hallway. The discovery was at just short of 8 am. The attacker had used Mr Boone’s own sports jacket to apply pressure and there was evidence of a serious struggle. There were shoe marks on the walls and the victim’s wallet was out and open.
It was raining that morning. A man was walking along the avenue and was near the bank when someone came out at about the time of the murder. This man was described as having a Mediterranean appearance. He wore a dark raincoat and he was in a rush.
The problem was this witness did not have his memory jogged until many years later. He was sure of the date as it was the day after his birthday. The complication was he worked out of state. This might explain why it was a long time later that he came forward.
An arrest was made, I saw in one comment that it was Mr Boone’s business partner. That would make sense as he was due at the meeting. No significant police action followed. It is specifically said he was cleared of any wrong doing.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph has given me most of the detail for this article. They interviewed a retired detective who was on the case back in 1981. He said that this Mediterranean looking man was also seen by others trying to cash a New York cheque at a grocery store on the same day. The grocery store staff didn’t want to cash an out of state cheque. After that the man disappeared. A composite image was made and distributed, there is even suggestion the guy was identified yet all these years later there is nothing new.
The detective believes that the killer was from out of town. Mr Boone and his partner ran a firm called Boone-Meadows Associates, it was an accountancy company. His interests ranged though and this included restaurants in West Virginia and Tennessee. Police explored the victim’s connection with a construction firm and narrowed the search to a man who used to collect money for the firm. This guy fitted the broad Mediterranean description yet despite their best efforts he was never found.
As DNA analysis improved the cops took the unusual step of exhuming Mr Boone’s body in 2002. As there had been a fight it was hoped that traces of his attacker could have lodged under his finger nails. This turned out to be another dead end. Originally the traces may have been there. The time to look for such evidence is at the time. Morticians often do a very rigorous clean up.
Apparently it was not unusual for the victim to schedule a meeting at that time on the weekend. As I would have done back then the doors would probably have been open. So the idea was this guy walked in to cash the cheque in what looked like an old bank. The problem I have with this is who would wander empty corridors and stairs in the innocent search for someone to cash a cheque?
The accounts are fragmented and dated. The cop who was interviewed was on the ground and knew all the details. I’m not second guessing. I am just wondering. On the face of it it seems a strange set of circumstances that at between 7 am and almost 8am a man was randomly looking to cash a cheque on that Saturday morning. This is striking because in the Reddit chatter a lady says she knew the family and grew up there. The grocery store that this man tried to cash the cheque in was right next door to the murder scene.
If that is case he had just committed a murder, why would he go to a place next door to cash a cheque? You might well know how I feel about witnesses. If not then I will simply say I am always sceptical of descriptions etc.
So was it a robbery gone wrong or something else? Was the Mediterranean man a killer or a fellow who walked in, saw the body, panicked and left?
The trail is now a very cold one, I guess we will never know. I hope you can give me credit for not drawing the obvious movie stereotype from a black raincoat, a Mediterranean man and a strangulation. Oh look what I have done, I could not stop my inner Mafia movie self from blurting it out.
The recent Reddit thread on this is below.
Cheers and if you go in early to the office. Lock the door behind you.