NORMAN, Okla. – For more than three decades, Norman police have been searching for a murderer.
The search goes back to a young man who was found dead in his burned out home.
While police say he was not an upstanding citizen, they say he and his family still deserve justice.
They continue searching for the one thread that will unravel the case and lead them to the killer.
“It just takes one piece of evidence, one person coming forward with valid, good information to break the case wide open again, just like we are back at 1981,” said Capt. Todd Gibson, with the Norman Police Department.
It happened on a cold morning in February that year. Firefighters were called to a home along East Boyd St. in Norman.
“It appeared, based on evidence at the scene, the fire had been intentionally set,” said Gibson.
Investigators say it was set to cover up a murder.
Inside the home, investigators found the body of Ronald Wooldridge. The medical examiner later revealed the 24-year-old had been shot once in the back of the head.
Police say the fire was set in order to cover up the murder, a common method used by killers.
“They will go to extreme measures to cover up evidence,” said Gibson.
A few items were stolen, including a U-Haul truck. The truck was found hours later, abandoned across town with no evidence of who had taken it.
“We still don’t have any leads or any idea who might have done this,” said Gibson.
More than 34 years later, this case has been passed from one investigator to another. As one retires, another picks it up.
“Detectives that are on the case now were just small children when this occurred,” he said.
Norman police say it is just one of several unsolved cases lingering in their minds.
“Some of those are murders, but some of those are very heinous crimes that even though they aren’t a murder, they are so shocking to the conscience that we can never deactivate the case,” Gibson said.
So they keep them open, refusing to give up.
“Somebody out there knows the truth,” he added.
Captain Gibson says Mr. Wooldridge did have a past tainted with drug use.
“He is still a homicide victim and still deserves that service, his family deserves the service of justice,” he said.
And it’s that desire for justice, for peace for a family, that keeps Captain Gibson and others within the Norman Police Department working cases like this.
“There is this nagging voice in your head that says there is someone out there who has killed someone in your community and as a police officer you feel personal responsibility to bring about justice,” he said.
Norman police say some of the cases they are still working date back to the 1970s.
If you have any information on this case, you are asked to contact the Norman Police Department.