30 years since Williamson County man murdered, wife attacked

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is asking for information in a cold case.

March 5th marks 30 years since a couple was beaten outside their home in Shiloh. The husband was killed.

"I would like everyone to think for this moment... if in 30 years you had to look back on this day and remember every detail about it and that for 30 years that day sticks with you,” said Carla Ritchey Scruggs.

On March 5, 1988, S.E. Ritchey and his wife Ethel were attacked outside their home southeast of Thrall. S.E. suffered the worst. He was hit over the head with a blunt object and died 17 days later.

"The investigation determined that the Ritcheys were targets of a robbery. Mr. Ritchey's wallet was taken from his person and several hundred dollars were taken from Mrs. Ritchey's purse. Mr. Ritchey's wallet, initials S.E.R. imprinted on it. has never been recovered,” said Sheriff Robert Chody.

Sheriff Robert Chody spoke of the case on this, the 30th anniversary, with the Ritchey's two granddaughters Jennifer and Carla.

"I was the one who answered the phone that night when my grandmother called and I went around the corner at nine years old and saw my grandpa covered in blood and the trauma done to his brain out there. And that's something that always stuck with me,” said Jennifer Ritchey.

"My grandfather was a simple Christian man. He would've never hurt anyone. If these people would've said give me your wallet old man he would've handed it right to them. He didn't deserve to die this way,” said Scruggs.

The Ritcheys owed a laudromat in Taylor. Ethel would go on to live until 2000, but it was hardly a life.

"She never could remember. We put bars on her windows and doors. She became a prisoner,” said Scruggs. "She was scared. Scared to be alone and she was just never the same after that."

Sheriff Chody says since forming a cold case unit, his detectives had re-examined the case and questioned some 20 persons of interest. He says they've also sent evidence collected from the crime scene to DPS to be tested for DNA. It's progress that not only gives detectives hope, but the family who has hurt for all these years.

"We're not the only ones that day has stuck with. It's stuck with the person or persons who committed this crime. 21 It's time, it's time for us all to heal. We've lived with it. It has torn us apart, but you've lived with it too. It's time for answers. It's time for peace for our family, for peace for you and your families. And it's time to move on and come forward,” said Scruggs.

If you have any information about this case, call 512-943-3739. You can also submit tips by emailing coldcasetips@wilco.org.