Columbia Police Ask For Help Solving Cold Case - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Columbia Police Ask For Help Solving Cold Case

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by Emily Luxen

COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Columbia Police are asking for help in cracking a cold case that has remained unsolved for five years.

In August of 2008, 40-year-old George "J.J." Dugger was found stabbed to death inside his burning home on Lyon Street. 

Authorities believed he was fatally stabbed before his home went up in flames.  Columbia Police investigators said they have followed up on countless leads, but have never made any arrests.  They continue to investigate the case as a first-degree murder, and aggravated arson.

"We strongly feel someone knows the truth, and somebody knows who murdered this man," said Lt. Joey Gideon with the Columbia Police Department.

Lt. Gideon said it has been a year since any new tips have come in on the case.  Officers want to remind the community the murder is unsolved, and they are hopeful someone will come forward with the information they need to wrap up their investigation.

"Whoever knows what happened, just come talk to us," said Lt. Gideon. "Let's get the story straight, let's clear the air, and let's find the truth of what happened to Mr. Dugger."

Dugger's former neighbors want answers as well. The lot where Dugger's home once sat is empty.  Neighbors said they remember the crime like it was yesterday.

"It makes me feel pretty bad," said neighbor Katherine Phillips. "I hate that something like that happened to anybody. I would like to find out who did it."

Two years after Dugger's death, his uncle and landlord, George Foster, was found shot several times in the front seat of his car beside Richardson Lane in Columbia. 

That crime also remains unsolved.  The Maury County Sheriff's Department is handling that investigation, but Lt. Gideon says the two departments have shared case files and are working together.  It is unknown if the two cases are connected.

"As a police officer, you hate to see a family go through this," said Lt. Gideon. "They have not received the closure they have wanted, and they need."

Anyone with information on Dugger's death is urged to call the Columbia Police Department's 24-hour tip line at (931) 388-2727 or Crime Stoppers at (931) 381-4900.  Information about Foster's murder can be called into the Maury County Sheriff's Department at (931) 375-8693.


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