Pinellas County

Clearwater detectives still seeking info on 49-year-old murder case

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) - Somebody beat an elderly couple to death after they stumbled on a burglary at their Clearwater home. 

Detectives are looking for a cold-blooded killer.

But here's the twist: the crime happened 49 years ago.

Hanging above the lobby at the Clearwater Police Department, a poster shows the "cold case" unsolved murders.

The oldest one is the killings of Nick and Jane Jeatran, killed Christmas Eve, 1968.

"You can see, ya know, this is back when police reports were hand-written," said Detective Mike Hasty, who was not even born when the Jeatrans were murdered, as he sifted through the yellowed, dog-eared investigative file.

At the time of the murder, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president and the Apollo 8 astronauts were in orbit around the moon, the first humans to do so.

Forty-nine years later, the killer hasn't been caught.

"If you want to surmise if they were in their late teens or early 20's, well they're 70-years-old now. If they were older than that at the time of the homicide, then they might not even still be alive," said Detective Hasty.

Concerned relatives couldn't reach the Jeatrans. They went to their house and found the couple on the floor. Jane was dead; her husband died three days later.

"The person who committed this crime, as heinous as it was, even though it was 49 years ago, they haven't forgotten. Anyone that this person told about it 49 years ago, they haven't forgotten," said Detective Hasty.

That cold case poster in the lobby has the word "solved" across many cases.

"There is one theme throughout all those solved cases, in that somebody came forward with information," said Detective Hasty.

And now, maybe, just maybe, someone will do the same to catch the killer of Nick and Jane Jeatran.

Modern forensic science is now being used to help solve this case and others.

If Clearwater cops find the killer, there is no statute of limitations.

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