Sheriff using his own money to solve cold case murders


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Barry Stevenson

CADIZ, KY- Arriving at the Trigg County Sheriff's office Mary Jones is clutching a picture.

Beneath the glass is a smiling girl, Jones' daughter, Chantell Humphries.  Humphries was murdered a few miles outside the city back in 2002.


"I just live day by day," Jones say of how she has survived the past 10 years without her daughter.

Humphries, a mother and wife, was just 33 when she was killed.  She was discovered by a local farmer, shot to death in his fields.

Claude Russell was charged with her murder but the jury could not reach a verdict. Since then, Jones has been left asking herself not only why, but who?

"I wonder am I talking to the one that's responsible? Am I behind you in line?" she said of her weekly trips to the grocery store.

"Somebody knows something. You just gotta get out there and dig," Sheriff Ray Burnam tells Local 6 of his decision to take another look at the case.

The Sheriff is trying to heat up the county's 3 cold cases. He is offering $1,000 of his own money- for the information he knows is out there- information that he believes will help solve those cases.

"One thousand dollars is pretty cheap to put somebody in prison for murdering somebody," he said of his act.

Mary Jones tells Local 6 it was some of the best news she has had in years, "(I was) shocked.  That somebody came along to do that.  Shocked, but glad."

"I need closure," she added.

The Sheriff is investigating 2 other cold cases. Kenneth Ladd was gunned down while working overnight at the front desk of Lake Barkley State Resort Park back in 1980.  In March of 2008, Harvey Choat was discovered shot to death in his Trigg County home.  Choat, 64, was retired and living alone at the time of the crime.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Trigg County Sheriff's Office at 270-522-6014.