Miami County 1964 homicide cold case has been closed

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MIAMI COUNTY – The Miami County Prosecutor’s Office has approved the closing of the Daisy Shelton homicide case which occurred in 1964. Prosecutor Anthony Kendell reviewed the case which included information gathered from a key witness who observed the murder. Also, inculpatory admissions were made during an interview by a suspect identified by the key witness. He considered the case solved based on evidence gathered prior to the death of the key witness. That such evidence, if still available, would have prompted him to move forward with a prosecution with confidence that the actual killer would be the one standing trial.

In June of 1964, a fisherman pulled a severed human arm from a gravel pit east of Tipp City on OH 571. A search was undertaken to find the rest of the remains. An attempt was made to drain the gravel pit which wasn’t successful. Four days later, another fisherman found a burlap bag in a channel of the old Miami Erie canal which contained a dismembered human torso. Later, a head and a leg were found in the canal.

The remains were identified as 43-year-old Daisy Evelyn Shelton of Dayton. The investigation went cold until 2017 when a witness of the murder, who feared he was dying while in the hospital, made a confession to a nurse. The witness despite his fear of imminent death, survived and was interviewed by detectives.

The witness recounted that he witnessed an individual kill Daisy Shelton in 1964 by striking her in the head with a hammer at a home on Springfield Street in Dayton. The witness said that Daisy Shelton was dismembered in the home. Her body was discarded in bodies of water in and around Tipp City.

The person named as the suspect was cooperative with detectives and consented to multiple interviews. Initially, he denied knowing Daisy Shelton despite their living on the same street and working for the same employer. During an interview in August of 2017, the suspect reluctantly admitted to knowing Daisy Shelton.

The topic of a box which was utilized to transport Shelton’s dismembered body parts became a focus of an interview. The suspect brought up the box of own his volition, offering that he could explain why his DNA could possibly be present on the item. He asserted it was a set-up, being perpetrated by the eyewitness of the crime. Further, he admitted that the box had been in his home on Springfield Street. The suspect conceded that a box from his house was used to carry the body parts of Shelton. The suspect admitted during the interview that it was possible that Shelton was killed in his home. Also, the suspect conceded the eye witness statement, disproved lies that he didn’t know Shelton, and his admissions about the box used to move her body parts made him a good suspect for the murder. He admitted he looked guilty and could possibly be convicted in court. The eyewitness to the murder gave testimony to a Grand Jury, but died prior to the case being prosecuted. The suspect died in September of 2022 at the age of ninety-two.

Cold case homicides are among the most difficult investigators confront, but the Miami County Sheriff’s Office remains dedicated to pursuing all open cases. Revisiting cases is a crucial aspect of bringing a sense of justice to the victim’s family, even if it comes long after the crime occurred. Concluding cases even under these circumstances allows an investigation to be released for public interest and makes information available to the victim’s family.

I would like to thank the Dayton Police Cold Case Squad for their invaluable assistance in working alongside our detective section with this case.