1 year later, police still searching for tips in Toms murder
By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA – There's been 365 days of investigation and thousands of dollars in reward money, and still no answers in the murder of Steve Toms. But Columbus Police say this case is by no means a cold case.
“This case has actively been investigated since November 16th of last year,” Sgt. Harvey Hatcher says.
On this day last year, Gold and Silver Trading Center owner Bob Upchurch found Toms shot to death inside the store that most know as the “Little White House.” Officials say toms was shot multiple times and jewelry and cash were missing from the store.
Hatcher says his team has interviewed hundreds since the murder.
“Every day we have talked to somebody different or done something different investigating this case. There has not been a time we have not been investigating since November 16 of last year,” Hatcher says.
“There's no closure yet but I have full faith in the police department. They are working it with every lead and every possible hour to put into it and I feel confident they will solve it, I know they will,” Upchurch says.
Even with that confidence, Upchurch says every day has been a struggle, especially today.
“I saw the flowers outside and immediately thought of Steve. He is hard to forget in the first place,” Upchurch says.
He says he also tries to steer clear of the rumors floating around town, speculating about the case. “I don't pay attention to those, I know what's true and what's not.”
There were no surveillance cameras inside the Trading Center last year, something Upchurch says he fixed immediately.
“We've got a security system now that you can't move without being seen and keeps a tape of everyone coming in for 30-45 days,” Upchurch says.
Moving forward, Columbus Police say new leads depend on the community.
“The community's involvement and the people we have talked to have been from the community coming forward, a little bit here a little bit there and sooner or later it adds up,” Hatcher says.
If you have any information, you can call Crime Stoppers at 706-653-3188, download the free app on your smart phone or text VACS plus your message to 274637.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for anyone with information leading to an arrest and local pawn shops and the community have raised $25,000 in reward money.