Crews search old well for clues in decades-old murder - FOX 35 News Orlando

Crews search old well for clues in decades-old murder

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One at a time, Volusia County firefighters took turns being hooked up and lowered into a well.  Down in the well, they're helping the Volusia County Sheriffs Office's cold case unit. 

Little by little, they're digging up layers of debris, loading up bag after bag and sending it up to detectives at ground level who are looking for evidence in the 1974 murder of James Aslinger. 

"He was shot down in DeBary. Who did it, we don't know.  We know how he was shot and with what," said Detective Ralph Henshaw, who is now retired from the Volusia County Sheriffs Office but helps out with the cold case unit.  

Back in February, the cold case unit started a Facebook page looking for help getting leads in old cases where they had hit a dead end.  Recently, they got a sold lead on the James Aslinger case.

"I can only tell you that there's supposed to be evidence there and the information came off the Sheriff's Office Facebook page," said Henshaw.
Working with the fire department, crews started their search of the well on Saturday, then returned Wednesday morning. 

"We think the wells about 40 feet in depth.  When we got here, it was filled up to only 12 foot down, so we went from 12 foot to 25 foot on Saturday," said Henshaw.  

Firefighter Lesley Jones has been one of three firefighters taking turns down in the well.  "Its just hard work digging through everything.  It's been packed in for all those years," said Jones.  And what's the most surprising thing she has dug up so far? "A toilet bowl, a whole toilet bowl," she answers.

Digging through junk and layers of garbage, firefighters were estimating what decade they were looking through. "Right now, we're probably in 1979," said one of the deputies digging through the debris. 

They're hoping that somewhere down in the well lies the key to solving a murder from 39 years ago. 

"The family deserves closure like this, and we have a murderer out there. He's walking around free," said Detective Henshaw.  "You can't get away with murder, and if people think just because this happened in 1974 you can get away with it, you're wrong.  You just got away with it so far. We're not done with it and never will be," 

As the weather turned and it started to drizzle, investigators called it a day.  Detective Henshaw says they've got an extra ten feet to go, but they'll be back next week to finish the dig.


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