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1983 killings of Leavenworth couple unsolved

Published on -7/31/2013, 4:01 PM

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) -- A retired detective said he still holds out hope that the gruesome 1983 murders of a Leavenworth County couple will be solved.

Edward and Hazel Burton were found shot to death on their property in the Kickapoo Township area in northern Leavenworth County on July 22, 1983. The partially nude body of Edward Burton, 67, was found in the middle of a dirt road, with a gunshot to his forehead. Hazel Burton, 58, was found shot death in a bus the couple was staying in for the summer on their property, The Leavenworth Times reported (http://bit.ly/16EfgUx ).

Hank Spellman, the senior detective at the time in Leavenworth County, said he found footprints circling Edward Burton's body and both victims were lying in pools of blood.

Local, state and federal agents helped investigate the crime. An FBI profiler suggested the suspects knew the area well, was familiar with the victims and likely had severe mental problems.

Spellman said several potential suspects were questioned and took lie detector tests and one tip even led investigators to Germany, although the trip didn't yield any results.

"There were times when I thought we were close and someone was going to confess," he said. "That just didn't work out. We couldn't get anyone to talk."

Spellman is convinced someone who is still alive knows more about the case.

"This elderly couple didn't deserve this," Spellman said. "They didn't hurt anyone, lived alone and were well thought of by most people. They were just good country folks."

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