It's been four years since the murder of Lake City native Lindsey LaShawn Simmons and police are still searching for clues that will lead them to her killer.
On Sept. 5, 2004, police found Simmons’ body rolled up in carpet at 305 Kroger Circle in Cole Road Apartments. The report also says she was barely clothed and had been stabbed repeatedly in the neck.
“I thought my heart was going to explode. I was so upset, I couldn’t drive,” said Mary Ann Peterson, Lindsey’s aunt, said. Her voice trembled as she remembers the night of the murder.
“We were close and I kept her while she was small, maybe 2 or 3 years-old,” Peterson said.
Peterson, who called Lindsey “Shawn,” recalls her easy going spirit and her beautiful smile.
“She was such a humble child,” Peterson said.
Peterson believes, the killer is still in Lake City and says she doesn’t think enough investigating was done the night of the murder.
“I don’t think the case will be solved, even though I really want it to be solved,” Peterson said, explaining there still are too many unanswered questions.
Charles Nero, Lindsey’s uncle, said he was in a state of shock when he heard of the murder.
“I was one of her favorite uncles,” Nero said recently, sitting in the educational building of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.
He described Lindsey as being very soft spoken and loveable.
“She took those characteristics from her father’s side of the family,” Nero said explaining he and Lindsey’s father, Willie D. Simmons, are brothers.
“I really think the person who killed her was someone she knew,” he said. Nero said he fears that others may not be able to share information about the crime because of threats.
According to Nero, someone said they saw a man coming from the apartment the night of Lindsey’s murder, but was later discredited by police.
Because of the state of the apartment, Nero said he believes Lindsey was not killed there.
Nero also questioned the events of the night and can’t understand how no one saw anything that may help solve this horrendous crime.
“We love her and miss her,” said Richard Simmons, another uncle. He echoes the beliefs of his brother that a family member may have been involved in the murder.
He said as long as Brown and his officers stay on their mission, he believes the murder will be solved.
“We won’t give up and will look for justice to come to head,” Richard Simmons said.
Leslie Simmons, Lindsey’s twin sister said she finds it hard to sleep at night. She said she stays up until 4 o’clock in the morning thinking about her sister’s murder and it is causing so much stress in her life.
“God will set a way for the case to be solved,” she said explaining she also feels a family member could have been involved in her sister’s murder.
Another sister, April Butler said she keeps remembering the good times she and Lindsey had together and visits her burial site often. She said she and Lindsey were very close and she was devastated when she learned she had been killed. Butler said she is hoping the murder will be solved and doesn’t have any idea who killed her sister.
Lindsey’s aunt, Judy Simmons said she was hurt by the news of the murder and wonders why anyone would kill her niece and doesn’t understand why the case hasn’t been solved by now. She even questions the police’s forensic tests. Judy Simmons suggests the delay may have been due to the Lake City Police Department’s problems with corruption at the time of the murder.
Judy Simmons said Lake City Police Chief Billy Brown said he is not going to give up on the case and she said she believes in him.
“I think it’s a solvable case,” said Brown. “It’s just a matter of time,” he said explaining they are continuing to match DNA samples.
Brown said law enforcement officers have followed every lead in the case, with State Law Enforcement Division, Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI’s assistance.
One of the problems, according to Brown, is that some individuals, who have been questioned, have not cooperated with the police.
“This is an on-going investigation,” Brown said as a poster asking for information leading to the arrest of Lindsey’s killer is displayed in his office.
Recounting the night’s events, Judy Simmons said things just don’t add up.
Anyone with information on this murder is asked to call Lake City Police Department at (843) 374-5411 or Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at (843) 667-TIPS (8477) or (866) 369-TIPS (8477). Callers need not reveal their identities and there is a reward for any information given leading to the arrest of any suspects involved in this case.