The Portland Police Bureau's Cold Case Homicide Unit has closed a 2002 homicide case after concluding that the suspect died.
James Edward Follett is believed to have killed Jack Harvey Jones during a robbery. Follett died in 2010.
The murder investigation started on January 22, 2002, when officers responded to assist medical personnel at a residence in the 3700 block of Southeast Division Street. Officers at the scene could see that Jones, the 66-year-old victim, had visible head trauma.
Homicide investigators had little additional information to go on and eventually the case went cold.
In 2011, the Cold Case Homicide Unit received new information from two different sources, both claiming that Follett admitted he killed Jones. Follett's name came up in the original investigation, but there was no witness corroboration that would have allowed detectives to make an arrest. He was 37 at the time of the killing.
Detectives were able to corroborate the new information and learned that the motive appeared to be a robbery. Follett, was a heavy drug user and was asking for money from neighbors prior to the homicide.
James Follett died of a drug overdose in December 2010.
According to police, although the suspect in this case died before investigators were able to close the case, it's important to recognize that witnesses stepping forward with information is the key to helping solve cases. Additionally, witness information can help detectives in providing some measure of closure to family members and friends of homicide victims.
The Portland Police Bureau Cold Case Homicide Unit is comprised of a Sergeant and three Detectives who are assisted by a few retired investigators who volunteer their time to assist in solving cases. It has a close partnership with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab.
The Portland Police Bureau has nearly 300 unsolved murders dating back to 1969.