FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WALA) - Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is trying to shed new light on a cold case from the late 1990s through DNA evidence and are seeking help from the public.
Pluma Bell Sanford was last seen August 13, 1997, she was found strangled to death two days later at her home.
Investigator Brad Embry said, "She could have been anybody's grandmother. She was very active in her church. She volunteered at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. All indications are she was just as sweet as she could be, just a very sweet, sweet lady; a very caring person."
When deputies from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office went to her home at 1014 Pineview Boulevard for a welfare check, they found evidence of a struggle, and then discovered Sanford's badly beaten body in a back bedroom. Cause of death: asphyxia due to ligature strangulation.
Nothing appeared to be stolen, but her 1992 Dodge Sedan was found in a parking lot near the intersection of Racetrack Road and Beal Parkway.
Investigators painstakingly collected the evidence, interviewed dozens of people, and in the years since, have re-examined the evidence numerous times. There is hope technology will provide a breakthrough.
"There is some light in the way of technology advancement in DNA, in the way that we process and development DNA profiles. It has made a difference in this case and we are working hard and diligently to find that piece of evidence, that one piece of evidence that we need. I would like to believe that there's somebody out there that has that one piece of information, that one piece of the puzzle, that we're missing and I would really like for that person to come forward and just point us in the right direction. The family deserves closure and justice more than anything. "
Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office at 850-651-7400 or Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 850-863-TIPS.
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