By Mike Fletcher
---- — A little more than a year after Destiny Pittman was gunned down inside her south side Kokomo home, her family is still seeking answers.
Pittman, 21, died Feb. 7, 2013, of a single gunshot wound to her torso in her home at 815 James Drive.
Kokomo Police Department investigators think two intruders forced their way into the home she shared with her boyfriend on James Drive at around 9:30 p.m.
Once inside the residence, police believe the intruders were confronted by Pittman and fired a single gunshot striking her in the upper torso, a KPD press release stated after the shooting.
Pittman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police reported another woman and two children, who were not injured, were in the home at the time of the shooting.
Detectives interviewed several friends, family members and neighbors, but no one has been charged in the case.
Pittman's case is one of 13 unsolved homicides in Kokomo and Howard County that have stumped area police and left families searching for solace.
“It has been real rough,” Junior Douglas, Destiny’s father said.
“We had to go through the holidays, Christmas, her birthday,” he said. “She was incredible.”
As for the investigation, he hopes someone will come forward with information that will finally give the family some closure.
“I wish [police] could share more of what they’re doing,” he said. “But, I can understand that.”
Kokomo Police Capt. Teresa Galloway said detectives continue to follow leads in the case. They have not forgotten the pretty young woman who was slain in her home.
“It's an ongoing investigation and we're making progress," Galloway said.
"People have been less than truthful in the case," she said. "Several people who know what happened are withholding information from police. We're still moving forward and will continue to go until this is solved. We need anyone who has information to come forward."
While the Pittman case is the most recent cold case, Kokomo police continue to work on seven other unsolved homicide cases dating back to 1980.
Galloway said a lack of cooperation from witnesses often hinders investigations and delays solving cold cases.
Two cases in particular — the June 2012 slaying of Timothy Scott and the Nov. 15, 2006 shooting death of Chad Rouse — are prime examples, she said.
Scott was shot to death in the 900 block of East Broadway Street in front of a number of people, while Rouse was found dead of a gunshot wound to the back at 1426 S. Armstrong St. In that case, there was one eyewitness.
"The Timothy Scott case is the same thing," she said.
"We had about 10 witnesses within 5 feet of the shooting and no one will talk," said Galloway."We encourage anyone with information to come forward.
"In the Rouse case, we had an eyewitness who has been less than cooperative with police," she said.
Even though KPD does not have a cold case unit, Galloway said the department's policy is to review every cold case at least once a year, unless they get more information in a case.
The Howard County Sheriff Department also has its share of cold cases. The sheriff department has four unsolved cases dating back to 1980.
Capt. Greg Hargrove said the April 13, 2012 shooting of 18-year-old Hassan Burnett, is the most recent. Burnett was found lying in the intersection at 300 East and 100 North in the early morning hours. The young man had attended Kokomo High School, and was with a friend until about 1 or 2 in the morning. What happened to him after remains a mystery.
"We still stay in contact with the family," he said of the case.
"There's so many players involved. He knew a lot of people. We're working with city police and are putting our heads together," he said of the investigation. "We have people of interest, who we try to keep tabs on."
Burnett's family raised funds for a reward after his shooting, hoping to bring forward a witness who could bring them closure.
Hargrove also said college students from Ball State are working with Crime Stoppers of Indiana in hopes of solving cold cases around the state including a few of Howard County cases.
"They are getting ready to put out some public services announcements in hopes of generating some interest," he said.
As for the other cases, Hargrove said there is a detective in charge of reviewing cold cases and encourages anyone with information to come forward.
Another unsolved homicide involving Dennis Newsome Jr., has Kokomo and Howard County ties, but it being investigated by state police.
In 1981, state police found the badly decomposed body of Dennis Newsome Jr., 26, Kokomo, Thanksgiving Day in Tipton County. His burnt pickup truck was found near Morgan Street and County Road 250 East in Howard County.
Sheriff department detectives also continue to investigate a long-standing missing person case involving Julie Dalton Johnson that has baffled investigators since her March 1, 1991 disappearance.
Johnson, a mother of four, was 29 when she was reported missing by her husband. She was last seen leaving their trailer home in Kokomo Regency Trailer Park, 4508 E. 200 South. Family and friends told police that Julie would never abandon her children and that they believed she was murdered. Sheriff deputies conducted extensive searches after her disappearance but never found her body.
You can help: Anyone with information about any of these cold cases should contact either the Kokomo Police Department at 765-459-5101, or the Howard County Sheriff Department at 765-456-2020, or Crime Stoppers of Indiana at 1-800-222-TIPS. The following is a list of unsolved homicides in Kokomo and Howard County in the last 33 years: • Feb. 7, 2013 -- Destiny Pittman, 21, found shot to death in her home at 815 James Drive. • April 13, 2012 -- Hassan Burnett, 18, found shot to death at 300 East and 100 North. • June 12, 2012 -- Timothy Scott, 33, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was found shot tin the torso and head in the front yard of a home he was visiting in the 900 block of East Broadway Street. • Nov. 15, 2006 -- Chad Rouse, 20, was shot in the back in his upstairs apartment at 1426 S. Armstrong St. There was an eyewitness to the shooting and police believe robbery was the motive. • Feb. 8, 2005 -- Teresa Cooper, 48, was stabbed and beaten to death in her home at 1117 W. North St. • Feb. 19, 2005 -- Amy Parrish, 25, her sons, Dacota Rasmussen, 4, and Caleb Parrish, 2, and stepson, Casey Parrish, 11, all died of smoke inhalation at 811 S. Bell St. The deaths were considered homicides since the fire department ruled the fire was intentionally set. • Nov. 26, 2004 -- Janet Yeary, 51, was found beaten to death in her home at 2411 Apperson Way North. • July 12, 2004 -- Bob Roe, 62, was found beaten to death in his home in Center, three miles south of Kokomo. • Oct. 2, 1998 -- Bruce Jackson, 23, Indianapolis, was shot and then found by a Kokomo police officer on East Monroe Street. He later died at Howard Regional Health System. • March 15, 1998 -- Jeffrey L. Williams, 51, was shot and killed in his trailer at Riley Modern Estates. • Feb. 8, 1997 -- Lionel Hampton, 30, Chicago, gunned down by two men in the parking lot of Elks Club on East Havens Street. • Dec. 2, 1981 -- The badly decomposed body of Dennis Newsome Jr., 26, Kokomo, was found Thanksgiving Day in Tipton County. His burnt pickup truck was found near Morgan Street and County Road 250 East in Howard County. State police are investigating. • May 26, 1980 -- Janet Rose Shirar, 29, a Bon Air Elementary School teacher was found stabbed to death in her apartment southeast of Kokomo. Indiana State Police case.