Cemetery Excavation Reveals Cold Case Murder Suspect


By Catalina Trivino

A story we brought you exclusively a few weeks ago could now be developing at an Andalusia cemetary. On Wednesday, multiple law enforcement officers dug up evidence related to a cold case.

The Covington County Cold Case Task Force spent the afternoon at this cemetary gathering evidence and exuming the body of Walter Eugene Dean.

A chilling site of a dug-up burial vault... and an excavator leaving a gravesite. The Covington County Cold Case Task Force dug up the grave of Walter Eugene Dean, who died from a 1999 car crash.

Authorities say he's now a murder suspect in a cold case homicide.

"What I will say is that we came here specifically looking for a certain thing and we recovered that thing, so no -- there was no surprise,"Said Covington County District Attorney, Walt Merrell, when asked if he was surprised about the evidence found.

It happened at the Adellum Baptist Church cemetary. While Merrell will not confirm which cold case has been re-opened, confidential sources tell Alabama News Network the investigation is related to the murder of James "Nibby" Barton -- the 65-year-old man killed at his Heath convenience store in 1994.

This is video of Investigators from several agencies in Covington County from about two weeks ago -- details about this aren't being released.

But for those who think a cold case will never be solved, Merrell has a message...

"I don't do anything where I think I'm wasting time and the folks, the family members that are still alive, that still wonder, that lay their head at night wondering what happened to their loved one? Who's responsible for it? How come they've never been held accountable? Those are very pressing and valid concerns and needs," Said Merrell.

Authorities are still tight-lipped about what exactly they were working, but Merrell says the evidence they recovered should lead them to an arrest very soon.

Merrell says there are 11 cold cases in Covington County. He says the Cold Case Task Force is actively working on three of them.

Alabama News Network will keep you updated on the latest developments on this investigation.