Rutherford County TN Sheriff's Office Masthead

940 New Salem Highway • Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37129 • (615) 898-7720

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Formal Complaint Concerning RCSO Personnel (PDF)

24 HOUR EMERGENCY
– CALL 911 –

NON-EMERGENCY CALLS
(615) 898-7720

Poison Control Center
1-800-222-1222

Rutherford County
Sheriff's Office
940 New Salem Highway
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
(615) 898-7720

Cold Case Unit – Open Investigations

Read about our current open cold cases. Maybe you can help us solve a crime.

Any information you have in regards to these or other murders anywhere could lead
to justice being obtained for victims’ survivors. No one will ever be “in trouble” for not
having told authorities what they know or been told about a murder.

– Every effort will be made to ensure those who provide tips remain anonymous.

Email: ColdCaseTips@rutherfordcounty.org

 

Throughout history, the unlawful taking of a human life has ranked as the most serious of crimes. Within our legal system, the crime of murder has no statute of limitations, meaning that a killer may always be brought to justice regardless of how many years have passed since the crime was committed. Homicide investigators see the job of bringing these killers to justice as a solemn duty. They realize that justice is owed not only to the deceased victim, but to the family and friends left behind; those living victims who require closure of a case to begin the healing process. The safety of the community and the sanctity of human life also require that justice be served. In the words of ex-NYPD homicide detective and well-known instructor Vernon Geberth, "We work for God." A homicide case is considered closed when a suspect has been identified, charged, and arrested. In the case files of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office's Homicide Unit many cases are still waiting for closure. These "cold cases," some dating back to the 1960's, lack the critical information or evidence needed to identify or charge a suspect. In additional cases, a suspect has been identified and charged, but not located for arrest. The Cold Case Unit is assigned two detectives to work full time on cold cases. Now is an opportune time to reexamine cold cases for several reasons:

  • Advances in forensic analysis of evidence, such as DNA, may yield new clues or establish links to suspects that were not possible in the past.

  • Over time, alliances between suspects and witnesses may have diminished, removing the reluctance of those with knowledge of the crime to cooperate with investigators.

  • The killers themselves may have lowered their guard over time, leading them to confide information to others or come out of hiding.

Investigators know that most homicide cases are closed within the first 24-48 hours. However, when this critical window of opportunity slides shut and no lead has developed, investigators must often rely on the public coming forward with information that will reestablish a direction in a case. This is why the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office is providing information on cold cases to the public. Investigators hope that someone reading about these cases will recognize and come forward with that critical information. Criminologists estimate that in 84 percent of cold cases, the killer's name is already written down somewhere in the case file within the first 30 days. New information may draw a line to that name. If you have information pertaining to any of these cases, please contact the RCSO at (615) 898-7770.

Current Open Cold Cases:

 

May 18, 1977 - Eugene Ewing

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible intoxicated male in a house on Halls Hill Pike. Upon arrival they discovered the body of a 45 years old black male identified as Eugene Ewing.

The body was found by two boys, ages 9 and 11 as they went to the area to pick cherries near the house.

Initial investigation revealed trauma to the victims head and throat. Robbery appeared to be the motive, no wallet was found at the scene, but several pieces of identification were found lying in the area. Evidence at the crime scene indicated that someone else was at the residence with Ewing. Several items were collected from the crime scene and turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Ewing originally from the Lewisburg TN. was seen at the Halls Hill residence with a unidentified black male described as being 30-35 years of age about 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 170 to 180 pounds.

Ewing a 17 year veteran of the Army was described by sources as having a drinking problem and was an out patient of the Veteran Administration Hospital and was working at a local motel.

2009

Detectives would like to speak with the two boys mentioned in the original report from 1977.

Anyone with information concerning this homicide investigation should contact Lt. Sharp or Sgt. Goodwin at (615) 904-3015.


October 1980 - George ReffnerPhoto of George Reffner

George Reffner, a 34-year-old employee of Thompson and Green Machine in La Vergne, was reportedly last seen by his wife and young sons the night of Oct 28, 1980. The next morning Reffner’s wife told company officials he had not returned home after going to test drive a car and then buy a coat at the new Outlets Ltd. Mall in Murfreesboro.

A company employee drove toward Murfreesboro on I-24 and found the red 1980 Toyota in which Reffner had left and called RCSO. Then-Sgt. John Brown met the employee near the 72 mile marker eastbound.

Brown noticed what appeared to be a shirt off the side of the highway on a rock outcropping. Upon investigation, Brown found the clothing was a dead man. The company employee identified the deceased as George Reffner.

Manner and cause of death was determined to be homicide by gunshot wound.

Investigators learned Reffner was a hardworking provider and caring father who had no apparent enemies. They were unable to develop leads or witnesses that could lead to prosecution and the case went cold.

2007-Present

Sharp and Goodwin have interviewed several witnesses who provided information that creates a logical theory of the crime, but has not yet led to an indictment.

Anyone who has information regarding the 29-year-old murder of George Reffner is requested to call Sharp or Goodwin at (615) 904-3015.

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