Tim Slayton’s mom, Linda, was brutally murdered at the home she shared with her two sons in 1981, and for almost four decades, it seemed that the person responsible for the heinous crime had evaded justice. However, in 2019, new DNA technology LG discovered that the most likely suspect had been known to Tim all along. 38 years after this man’s mom was murdered, DNA evidence pointed to someone he never suspected before.
Brothers Jeff and Tim have fond memories of their mother, Linda. They remember taking them to a concert that Kiss and Van Helen played in their hometown of Lakeland, Florida, when they were just kids. Furthermore, they cherished precious photographs of their childhood with Linda, which was cut all too short. Before her death, Linda had enjoyed a lust for life and loved both of her sons dearly. She liked to venture off to the beach or the park and was resourceful with her means, even making her own clothing.
Put simply, her son Jeff told Oakle Lakeland newspaper The Ledger in 2016, she enjoyed life. In August 1981, Linda had moved with her sons, Jeff and Tim, to an apartment on Brunelle Parkway in Lakeland. However, the family would be in their new home less than a month before tragedy struck. That’s because on September 4, 1981, Linda was found dead in her bedroom following a violent murder. In the years following Linda’s passing, Tim and Jeff have relived the hours leading up to it.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the latter recalled returning home hungry after football practice, only to find that there wasn’t a lot of food to eat. He later rode his bike over to his grandparents home and they brought him back to the apartment at approximately 09:30 p.m.. However, when Jeff returned home, he found that the house was empty. Then, at about 10:00 p.m., Linda apparently stopped by the apartment and explained that she and Tim were hanging out next door and playing cards with some neighbors. Then they eventually returned home around 11:00 p.m..
The Tampa Bay Times said that Jeff’s last memory of Linda was seeing his mother washing dishes at their apartment that night after Tim had already gone to bed. She retired to her bedroom soon after, while Jeff stayed up, later turning off the TV at about midnight before calling it a day. Little did he know the horrors that would await him the following morning. Tim’s recollection of Linda’s last evening reportedly began with him being collected for football practice by his coach, Joseph Mills. Known to him as Joe, the man would regularly pick the boy up and drop him off because Linda didn’t have a car.
He returned him home at some time around eight or 830, and the youngster had dinner before going to play cards with his mother next door. Tim remembered returning home with Linda around eleven or 11:30. P.m. He saw Jeff watching television in the living room before going to sleep in his bedroom. Like his brother, Tim would tell police that he heard nothing during the night.
But while the boys slept, someone murdered their mom in the same apartment. Linda’s body was discovered the following morning by her sister, Judy Butler. She would later explain to cops that she’d gone to Linda’s house to see if she wanted to grab a coffee with her. Judy got no answer at the door, so she decided to return home. However, on the way back to her apartment, she noticed that something was amiss.
As Judy passed by Linda’s bedroom, she noticed that a window screen was missing, and when she looked through the gap, she witnessed a truly horrifying sight. Her sister’s strangled body was lying on the bed with the murder weapon, a wire clothes hanger still around her neck. Given what she’d seen, Judy screamed so loudly that she caught the attention of Lakeland Housing Authority maintenance worker John Allen. It was he who first alerted the police to the awful scene that Judy had discovered at Linda’s apartment. Dialing 911 at roughly 08:35 A.m..
When police personnel arrived at the grim scene, they found Linda’s body. She’d been strangled with a hanger and was partially naked. Her dress had been pulled to expose her breasts and genitals. There was also some evidence to suggest that Linda had been sexually assaulted. Police could find no signs of a struggle in Linda’s bedroom or on her bed.
However, they did note that the southernmost window in the room was unlocked and that the screen had been removed. Investigators subsequently moved Linda’s body from the crime scene in order to gather evidence. At Lakeland General Hospital, an autopsy was performed on Linda’s body. A sexual assault kit was carried out, which included the taking of vaginal swabs. During the examination, sperm was found in Linda’s body cavity.
However, the DNA didn’t match with any samples on law enforcement databases. Back in 1981, Linda’s case went cold in the years following her brutal murder. Jeff was 15 years old when his mother was killed while Tim was just twelve. The younger brother had the misfortune of seeing his mom’s dead body the morning she was found, and the awful memory has haunted him ever since. Jeff and Tim grew up not knowing who had killed their mother, they both went on to have children, set themselves up in careers, and took on pastimes.