Middle Georgia Cold Cases: A Thief in the Night
In 1984, one well known farmer was robbed and killed in his home.
Drive too fast down Highway 41 and you might miss it — a house, shaded by 50 ft. magnolia trees, tucked in a corner surrounded by change.
It’s where Dan Gunn Jr. called home.
“Mr Gunn was well known in the community, in the farming community and in the community as a whole,” Houston County sheriff’s captain Jon Holland says.
Gunn was a pillar of the community, a farmer who specialized in peaches, pecans, soybeans, corn, and peanuts — a successful one too.
“He was a large land owner and he was seen frequently in his truck going about his business, taking care of his farm, and taking care of his business every day,” Holland says.
After a long day’s work one snowy February night, Gunn came back home from visiting a friend.
That’s when the Houston County Sheriff’s Office got a call from police officers in Centerville.
“They responded from the sheriff’s office to the home and located Mr. Gunn deceased in the home. The evidence at that time indicated that a burglary had occurred there,” says Holland.
Someone killed Gunn, shooting him in the abdomen, stealing several of his belongings.
“I feel like someone had some knowledge, certainly, of this is the Gunn home and the potential exists to commit a burglary and or robbery that would result in a monetary gain,” Holland says.
But who was waiting for Gunn when he got home that cold February night? Houston County sheriff’s investigators still don’t have that answer and as the years go by, the leads get colder.
“…and when you lose those people to death, obviously, because of time, illness, accident or whatever, every time you lose someone who may have the key to that case, you’ve lost an opportunity to get it resolved,” Holland says.
Captain Jon Holland says while money may have been a motive, investigators haven’t been able to put someone in jail for the murder.
“They ran down a lot of leads in that case. there were some suspects in that case, but there was never enough information, or evidence uncovered to move that case forward with arrests and a successful conclusion,” says Holland.
So instead this case is open-ended.
An unsolved mystery that left a successful farmer dead two days shy of his 69th birthday, and a sheriff’s office puzzled as they try to find justice for this family.
“We’re here to speak for the people that are deceased and bring closure and justice to their family and when you can’t do it, it becomes frustrating,” Holland says.
If you know anything about who killed Dan Gunn Jr. that February night in 1984, call the Houston County Sheriff’s Office at 478-542-2080.
Dan Gunn Jr’s story is one many cold cases we’ve covered, if you’d like to see other Middle Georgia Cold Cases and families waiting for justice click here.