There were more than 21,500 murders in the United States in 2020, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report released Sept. 27, 2021. Homicides increased 29 percent from 2019. It was the highest single-year jump in murders since the FBI started tracking the data in the 1960s.
At the same time, the solve rate for such cases declined from 61 percent to 54 percent. It’s lowest murder clearance rate on record.
In Ohio, there were nearly 800 homicides in 2020, compared to 569 in 2019. Suspects were identified at the time of report in 68 percent of the cases in 2019 and 57 percent in 2020.
With those numbers in mind, FOX8.com is working to bring more attention to the open murder cases in Northeast Ohio in hopes of helping bring closure to the families. We’re launching this project with focus on Cuyahoga and Summit counties, and plans to expand the feature to other surrounding counties.
This is Unsolved.
Lennell and Wilbert McCormick
Venita McCormick was hit by tragedy twice. Her son, 24-year-old Lennell, was killed in a hit-and-run on Kinsman Road in Cleveland on Aug. 18, 2016. Less than five years later, she was on a walk with her husband, Wilbert, when he was struck by a stray bullet. It happened near Thornhill Drive and Arlington Avenue in the Glenville neighborhood. Wilbert, 62, was a retired Cleveland firefighter. Both cases remain unsolved.
Carnell Sledge and Kate Brown
Carnell Sledge, 40, and Kate Brown, 33, were shot and killed in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation on June 4, 2019. The friends met near a bench north of the Lorain Road bridge near Valley Parkway. Kayakers found their bodies at about 5:15 p.m. Despite a $100,000 reward, their murders remain unsolved.
On March 10, 1970, Rock Creek Police Chief Robert Hamrick, 28, was involved in a chase. It ended on Callender Road when his police cruiser went off the icy dirt road and hit a tree. He was able to get out of the vehicle and was severely beaten with a tire iron. His unconscious body was put back in the cruiser and he was not discovered for hours. Hamrick was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, where he never regained consciousness and died 10 days later.
Amy Mihaljevic was 10 years old when she was abducted from the Bay Village Square Shopping Center on Oct. 27, 1989. Two witnesses said a man approached her, put his hand on her shoulder and walked her through the parking lot.
A jogger found her body on Feb. 8, 1990 in a Ruggles Township field in Ashland County. Authorities also found a homemade curtain and a blanket that were used while transporting the body. The FBI said she was stabbed and suffered head trauma.
The fifth grader had three items with her the day of her abduction that were never recovered: a turquoise horse earring, black ankle boots and a black leather binder.