Neighbor's phone call, DNA and detective work lead to arrest in cold case

- A concerned neighbor's phone call help detectives in a murder investigation, leading to an arrest.

“She used to come out here every day and do her garden. She never bothered anybody.”

That’s the way neighbors remember 73-year-old Barbara Jones. She was found beaten to death inside her first floor apartment back in March. On Tuesday, homicide detectives locked up her upstairs neighbor and charged him with murder.

“I’m glad it’s solved, if it’s solved. It’s hard to believe it’s Mr. Crawford,” neighbor Jeff Collier told Fox 29.

“I would never suspect the guy of doing something like that,” said next door neighbor Leroy Randolph.

As shocked as neighbors were about Jones’ murder, they were equally stunned by the arrest of Sidney Crawford, a 69-year-old Vietnam vet who served in the Army and the First Cavalry.

“I’ve been knowing him since he lived in this neighborhood. That’s all I can say about the guy. I’m shocked,” Randolph added.  

“I went and got my wife, ya know, Honey there’s a baseball bat with blood on it in the trash can,” said another neighbor Rod Elam.

Police cracked the case when Elam called them a day after the murder when he discovered a bloody bat and clothes in his trash can right around the corner from Jones’ ransacked home. Only Fox 29 was there when crime scene investigators collected the evidence.

“That phone call was critical to us being able to solve this case,” said Lt. Norman Davenport of the Homicide Unit.

Police say blood-stained clothes found in the trash were analyzed for DNA and that lead them to Crawford.

“There was a positive DNA match of the suspect in this case,” Lt. Davenport said.

“Just doing my civic duty like you’re supposed to,” Elam told Fox 29.

“To have a positive outcome six months later. We’re glad to be able to make that call to the family,” the Lieutenant added.

Police tell Fox 29 that a TV and other items stolen from Jones’ apartment were discovered hidden in the back yard of the two story home.

A neighbor told Fox 29 Crawford went to the VA hospital for anger management classes. He has never been arrested before. He was charged with Jones’ murder, burglary and other crimes.

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