Durham Cross Burnings Still Mystery For Investigators
Posted February 12, 2006 11:02 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — Nearly eight months after three crosses were found burning in three different locations in Durham, the police and FBI say they still have no solid leads in the case, despite a $30,000 reward for information leading to arrests.
"Right now, it is still an open investigation, but our leads have pretty much gone cold," said Kammie Michael, a spokeswoman for the Durham Police Department.
Durham police say they followed up on more than 50 leads since May 25 when the crosses, each standing about 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide, were burned in separate spots across the city during a span of about an hour.
So far, police have no suspects and have not been able to rule out any hate groups.
"We want to know who did this," Michael said. "It is just an unforgivable crime."
The first incident was reported at about 9:19 p.m. on a hill near St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 1737 Hillandale Road.
Half an hour later, another was found in the area of South Roxboro Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway on a hill of dirt near town homes under construction.
A third incident was reported at 10:28 p.m. in a field near Holloway and Dillard streets.
In the days following the discovery of the crosses, citizens gathered for meetings and vigils in response to the burnings. Even though the case remains unsolved, they say they are not giving up on finding the person or people responsible.
Marcia Owen, with the Religious Coalition for Non-Violent Durham, says it is unsettling that no group has stepped forward to take credit.
"I think that it is important that people don't make assumptions, and can stay focused on finding out what happened," Owen said.
Local members of the Human Relations Commission are also upset that the case has gone cold, but say citizens groups aren't giving up.
With more than 37 hate groups in the state -- including the Ku Klux Klan, the New Black Panther Party and the Women for Aryan Unity in the Triangle, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center -- the commission says it's important to stay strong.
"It is unsettling that that many people are out there, that many groups are out there, and that we're one of the top states in the nation for this sort of thing," Michael said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call CrimeStoppers at