MOUNT VERNON — Retired Knox County Sheriff David Barber plans to enjoy his hobby of antiquing and spend more time along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean now that his law enforcement days are over. But he won’t totally walk away from four decades of police work.
“There are two books I have in mind to write,” Barber said. “One will be based on my experiences over the past 40 years, and the other will be about homicide investigations I’ve been involved with.”
Barber was a detective and commanded the county’s detective division before becoming sheriff. He avoids the term “cold case,” because it implies inaction, and is more likely to refer to “unsolved homicides.” And he points to a program started by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as one good way to keep old cases from becoming cold cases.
In September, DeWine asked law enforcement agencies to submit cold-case information for an online database. Although there are more than 5,000 unsolved Ohio homicides, at the time the site included specifics on only 166 cases. Now there are more than 1,000 cases online, and the total will soon exceed 2,000 as additional agencies file reports.
One unsolved Knox County case featured on the website is the murder of 54-year-old Jean Davis at her Dennis Church Road home near Bladensburg. It’s a case that Sheriff Barber knows well. Davis died from a gunshot wound to the head and was found in her yard on Dec. 20, 2009. Her 2002 tan-colored Chevrolet Avalanche was missing, but it was found the next day in Newark.
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