Chesterfield County cold case from 2003 reopened, ruled as homicide

Chesterfield Police reopen 2003 case after new autopsy

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A cold case from 2003 in Chesterfield County has recently been reopened and ruled as a homicide.

It was the love of a daughter who knew something wasn’t right and pushed for Chesterfield police to reopen the investigation into how her father died.

“At that point and time, the investigation indicated that he died as a result of a drowning,” Chesterfield Police’s Brad Conner said.

It was July 7, 2003, when 79-year-old Charles Cole was found in the pond on his property on Coalboro Road in Chesterfield.

The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled it an accidental drowning so Chesterfield police closed the case but his daughter didn’t give up.

“The daughter over the years has pushed law enforcement officers, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office to reopen this case and look at it,” Conner said.

Her cries for help worked and in February of 2019, the body was exhumed and sent for a second autopsy.

“The cause and manner of death is different than the 2003 autopsy and they’ve admitted that to be a homicide by cause of sharp force trauma,” Conner said.

Nearly 20 years later new autopsy reports revealed Cole was stabbed multiple times and left in the water.

Longtime neighbors say they were shocked to hear of the new updates. Others say police have re-interviewed them in hopes of finding answers.

“We are starting that investigation all over again, basically from the beginning,” Conner said.

Although nearly two decades have passed, police say it’s never too late for justice.

“We ask that the perpetrator come forward or if someone knows what happened to come forward,” Conner said.

Anyone with information should contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.

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