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Granddaughters speak out about unsolved 1988 slaying of grandfather


Two granddaughters of a man whose 1988 homicide in Williamson County remains unsolved spoke out publicly for the first time Monday about what it was like to live with the pain of his death.

“I was the one who answered the phone that night my grandmother called, and I went around the corner at 9 years old and saw my grandpa covered in blood,” said Jennifer Ritchey, the granddaughter of S.E. Ritchey.

“That is something that stuck with me, and knowing there was never any closure and seeing how it changed our family; the anger that was there, the not knowing that was there.”

Jennifer Ritchey spoke at a news conference at the Williamson County sheriff’s office on the 30th anniversary of the assault on her grandfather, who was 77.

He was attacked in the driveway of his eastern Williamson County home at 2150 County Road 479 in Thrall while unloading groceries with his wife on March 5, 1988. He was hit with a blunt object and died 17 days later after undergoing surgery for a fractured skull. His wife also was attacked and was unconscious when first responders arrived.

RELATED: Williamson County Investigators seeking answers in 1988 homicide

The person or people who attacked the couple also took cash from them and Ritchey’s wallet.

His other granddaughter, Carla Ritchey Scruggs, also spoke Monday.

“My grandfather was a simple Christian man who would never have hurt anyone,” she said. “If these people would have said, ‘Give me your wallet, old man,’ he would have given it to them. He didn’t deserve to die like this.”

Sheriff Robert Chody said his cold case unit has interviewed 20 “people of interest” in the case. There were no witnesses except Ritchey’s wife, Ethel Ritchey, who couldn’t remember anything. She died in 2000.

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