Written by The Ledger staff

Case Profiles: Victims and the Families Left Behind

Here are the stories behind some of Lakeland’s unsolved murders. We’ll be adding more stories here during 2014.

Shad Jenkins
Johnnie Morris
Almost 16 years ago – two days before Christmas 1998 – that one bullet hit 23-year-old Johnnie Morris in the head, killing him by the time police arrived.

Shad Jenkins
Shad Jenkins

It was just before dawn on a Thursday almost 31 years ago. Shad Jenkins, 65, had his car jacked up under the carport next to his house at 1137 W. 10th St. in Lakeland. It wasn’t uncommon for him to stay up into the early morning hours working on his latest project. That’s what he was doing that night, Nov. 3, 1983.

Fredrick Henderson
Jimmy Hughes Jean

Jimmy Hughes Jean, 26, was shot about 4 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2010, during a fight on the 800 block of West Fifth Street, Lakeland police said.


Fredrick Henderson
Fredrick Henderson

Lakeland police found Fredrick “Skip” Henderson dead from a single gunshot wound to his back shortly after midnight on April 27, 1991, in the yard of a house at 1224 N. Virginia Ave.


Carter Evans
Rodney Williams

During the past 11 years, Julia Waters has heard numerous stories about why someone shot her 36-year-old son to death.


Carter Evans
Carter Evans

Lakeland police said Evans was sitting on a bucket outside an apartment at 512 W. Magnolia St. about 7:30 p.m. when two men attempted to rob him.


John Walters
John Walters

The small city he moved from, Springfield, Mass., has a history of violent crime that was only getting worse, his daughter Priscilla Copeland said. Walters wanted to get away from that. He wanted to live somewhere safe.


George Cox
George Cox

It was shortly before 3 a.m. June 4, 2007, when at least two men broke into Davis’ house at 2934 Kathryn Ave. They came in through the kitchen wearing masks and grabbed her from her bedroom, she said. She tried to yell for help, but they covered her mouth.


Clifford Drake
Clifford Drake

They were almost perfect for one another, Sheila Drake said, and she’s lucky God gave her the past two decades to spend with such a loving man, a good-hearted and supportive husband. She just wishes they had more time together.


Linda Cook Thames
Eric Cook

Linda Cook Thames remembers every detail of the night she found out her 30-year-old son Eric had been shot and killed. “He was a hard-working young man, and he had a lot going for him,” she said. “He wasn’t an angel, but he was my angel. He was my pride and joy.”


Anthony Curtis
Anthony Curtis

More than six years later, even the smallest thing can bring up memories of January 4, 2008: the day the Curtis family lost a brother, a son, an uncle, a best friend.“People always tell you to remember the good things, but when you try to you have that big spot right there that takes you back,” James Curtis said.


Erin Taylor

Erin Taylor went through a rough patch after moving to Lakeland at 16 to live with an aunt, but had been turning her life around. She went back to school, got a diploma and a job and was going to church. Then, at 22, she was found dead in her apartment. She had been shot in the head.


Donna Abu-Khfair
Fadi ‘Vinny’ Abu-Khdair

Every day, Donna Jaber Abu-Khdair looks at her three children and wishes they would’ve had a chance to know their father. Fadi “Vinny” Abu-Khdair was shot to death late on Feb. 9, 2005, while working alone at the BP gas station and convenience store he owned.

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