Murder of WW2 veteran solved – 56 years after he was shot


The murder of a Second World War veteran has been solved – more than 50 years after he was found shot dead.

Hiram ‘Ross’ Grayam had become a milkman after facing the “horrors of the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of two concentration camps”, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said.

He was delivering milk in Florida in April 1968 when he failed to return home after work.

Police launched a search and his body and milk truck were spotted from a plane in the Vero Beach area.

When those looking for him arrived at the scene, Mr Grayam was “laying next to the milk truck with bullet wounds, killed execution-style”, Indian River County sheriff Eric Flowers said.

“Despite exhaustive efforts, his killer eluded justice,” the sheriff’s office said.

Decades later, “that fateful night still lingered in the minds of detectives”, with a cold case team looking for leads.

A witness told police she saw Mr Grayam talking to two men who were walking on the side of the road, WPEC-TV reported.

“She said Mr Grayam engaged them in conversation, and announced that he would be back shortly,” Mr Flowers said.

The three men all left in the milk truck, he added.

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“Through determination and the cooperation of witnesses, new leads emerged,” the sheriff’s office said.

Thomas Williams, who died in 2016, had confessed to Mr Grayam’s murder, it emerged.

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As early as 2006, there were rumours that Williams might have been involved in the crime.

He wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper “saying that he had been accused of the murder, but he denied having knowledge of it, that he wasn’t involved in it”, the sheriff said.

The case went cold again.

However, once Williams had died, his ex-wife and a friend of his sister came forward.

Mr Flowers said the witnesses – neither of whom knew each other – told investigators Williams had previously confessed to them that he had killed Mr Grayam.

Both witnesses said they considered Williams to be a threat to them and their families while he was alive, Mr Flowers said. “But the fact that he is now dead gave them the courage to come forward.”

Detectives hope that anyone who knows the identity of the second man seen with Mr Grayam will get in touch.

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