'48 Hours' to shed light on local cold case
Episode to air Saturday at 10 p.m. on WKMG
COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Amy Gellert's killer seemingly disappeared 21 years ago, vexing police and haunting her family. On the face of it, it's a case that should have been solved quickly.
An intruder is surprised when the homeowners return about 9 p.m., he stabs a husband and wife and then runs into their 21-year-old daughter just outside. He slashes and stabs her, killing her, before running across the Cocoa Beach street where he disappears.
Someone killed Amy Gellert that night on March 20, 1994, and got away with it.
Local 6 News partner Florida Today reports, while investigators with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office have continued to work the cold case, a popular television show is hoping that a nationwide audience might give detectives the missing pieces to a puzzle that has hung over Brevard County for the better part of two decades.
Gellert's case will be featured this Saturday night on CBS' 48 HOURS, which is starting a new cold case format short-run series under the 48 HOURS umbrella they hope to run several times during the year.
"It's not only unsolved but it's really difficult to — even to this day after speaking with all the detectives who worked on this case — determine the motive, "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty said during a telephone interview earlier this week. "And that really is the reason why they have not been able to completely tie up all the strings and arrest someone."
Moriarty spent lots of time with the family and with detectives over the last year and she said there are no shortage of viable suspects; two of them stand out more than others.
"Maybe I'm too optimistic, but it seems to me that when you have two very compelling suspects the idea that maybe if it got a public airing and people heard about it, they might be willing to come forward with any information," Moriarty said. "This is one of the few times that we have ever asked viewers, that if they know something or see something that investigators missed or if they recognize one of these people, this is the time to come forward."
Members of the "48 Hours" team will be monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while the show is airing — and afterward — to see if anyone comes forward with information.
Gellert's mother and step-dad — who both sustained major injuries in the attack but survived — still live in Cocoa Beach.
"Our sole purpose is to give people an opportunity to give us information that will lead to the capture of the person who did this, for my sons' sake I really want closure," said Amy's mother, Bunny Lehton. "This is not vengeance. He just needs to be off the streets for doing something so terrible."
The family has suffered tremendously over the years — physically, emotionally and even with bouts of guilt.
"One person's life was taken but so many other lives along the way were destroyed," Moriarty said. "Bunny and Bob, who not only have the injuries but the guilt and the memories; (Amy's) brothers, oh my gosh, they live with such terrible guilt that they didn't protect their sister; the original investigator really struggles with the idea that he must have missed something. Not only does the family need answers but the community needs to know."
Maybe it's a case that should have been solved quickly. At this point it would be terrific if it gets solved at all.
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