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Detectives Solve Decades Old Cold Case

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 24-49



Detectives Solve Decades Old Cold Case

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has solved a cold case dating back to 1985 surrounding the identity of an unidentified deceased male.

In 1985, HCSO detectives determined that the individual died as a result of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. During the investigation, detectives exhausted all leads possible and were unsuccessful in identifying the victim.

The individual, discovered on May 24, 1985, near Adamsville Avenue, north of Big Bend Road, has now been identified as Mr. Charles Allen Ray, born in 1936 and an honorable veteran of the United States Navy.

In April 2023, investigators established a possible link to the Ray family through meticulous genealogical research and partnership with Othram Lab funded by state grants. Further research pinpointed Charles Allen Ray as a missing family member whose disappearance in the mid-1980s had left no digital footprint for the last forty years.

"The resolution of this cold case is a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our investigators and the advancements in forensic technology," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "We are committed to bringing justice and closure to the families affected by unsolved cases, no matter how much time has passed."

In January 2024, detectives were able to travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they met with a family member of Ray's and matched his DNA with the decedent's from 1985.