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CrimeStoppers helps solve record number of homicides

MEMPHIS, TN — Anonymous tips to 528-CASH led to arrests in six homicides over a 30-day period from July 24 to August 24 of this year — the most slayings solved in a one-month period of time in local CrimeStoppers history.


“We have averaged just about one solved homicide case per month since our inception in 1983,” said E. Winslow (Buddy) Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County. “Our records show we’ve never helped solve this many in one month.” The arrests meant that CrimeStoppers paid out a total of $6,500 in awards to the tipsters in August.


The resolved cases — there were five difference incidents — include the first-degree murder of Johnny Hurley, who was 78 when assaulted during a robbery in October of 2013. He died in March of this year. Altavious Turner, 15, was arrested in the case in August.


Also killed last year in a case of hit and run were Derrick Cross, 37 and Jessika Cavazos, 34. They were struck on I-40 after their vehicle became disabled. Acting on a tip, Memphis Police arrested Hunter Queen at the Sheriff’s training facility where he was a recruit.


The other cases:


Darnae Christon, 24, was arrested and charged with first degree murder August 21 for shooting two individuals earlier in the month at 797 Pope. One victim, Michael Moore, 50, died on the way to the hospital.


Dontayell Balfour and William Allen, both 17, were arrested July 30 for the shooting death of Keith Blevins in the bedroom of a house on Rhodes. Both were charged with first degree murder in perpetration of a robbery and burglary.


In early July this year, another fatal hit-and-run accident left Dane Clark, 59 dead. The driver of a silver Lincoln left the scene on foot. Information called to CrimeStoppers led to the arrest of Sidney Alexander, 28, for vehicular homicide.


Chapman said that each case represents a unique set of tip circumstances, and that is typical for CrimeStoppers. In one, a woman knew the name of a passenger in a car, and gave investigators enough information to determine the name of the driver. In the Hurley case, when a family member posted additional award money, and put posters around a neighborhood, someone saw the poster and called CrimeStoppers.


“I have often said that in every felony case somebody knows something,” Chapman said. “These arrests show how successful we can be in solving crimes when the whole community works together with law enforcement.”