WALTON COUNTY (CBS46)– Bullets never disintegrate. It’s a fact that could finally lead to answers in one of Georgia's oldest – and most heinous unsolved hate crimes – The Moore’s Ford Bridge Lynching in 1946.
CBS46 Crime Scene Investigator Sheryl ‘Mac’ McCollum and her team discovered more than 100 cardboard bullet shells and casings found at the mass murder site. This evidence could be the long-awaited link to the killers and provide answers for families who’ve waited 73 years to find out who killed two black, married couples – Roger and Dorothy Malcolm and George and Mae Dorsey.
“All they want is a slither of justice,” said McCollum. “They're not looking for a trial. They know they're not going to get it. They're not looking for an apology. They know they're not going to get it.”
McCollum, co-founder of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute is working exclusively with CBS46 to investigate unsolved cases. She wants to pick up where the FBI left off when they closed the Moore’s Ford Bridge Lynching case last year.
The Malcolms and the Dorseys were sharecroppers for farmer Loy Harrison, who owned one of the largest farms in the county. McCollum believes they were set up by Harrison and led intentionally to their execution by a mob of white men.
In July 1946, Roger Malcom was jailed for stabbing a white farmer he suspected of fooling around with his wife, Dorothy.
On July 25, Harrison, drove Dorothy, along with the Dorseys, to bail him out. Harrison drove the long way home that day, and as the car approached the Moore’s Ford Bridge it was ambushed by that mob of 20 armed white men.
The two couples were pulled from the car, tied up, beaten, tortured – and each shot more than 100 times.
“Just because you got away with it for however many years, doesn’t mean you get to get away with it forever,” McCollum said.
McCollum – who goes by Mac – said it may be a long shot to solve the crime, but it’s a shot worth taking.
“Dammit go do your job! That's all we're asking. Simple. Easy. Can we test it? Is there anything that could be done now that wasn't done,” she said.
Mac has worked in criminal justice for nearly 40 years, but it’s the cold cases that haunt her most. She has built a team of more than 600 criminal justice experts that target unsolved cases.
“That's what is so important with what we're doing with Channel 46,” Mac said. “We're leaving the station, we're going to the scene, we're getting the people to help us say wait a minute this is an injustice it's not okay.”
The FBI's initial investigation in 1946 identified possible suspects, but no one was charged. In 2007, it re-visited the site in Walton county and found little physical evidence.
Mac and her team, including Atlanta prosecutor Holly Hughes visited the site three years later and did some digging of their own.
“Within 45 minutes we found our first bullet. After the first day we had about 30,” Mac said. “One of the gunshot shells we found was encased in cardboard.”
It’s unclear if the FBI has ever tested or reviewed the evidence McCollum’s team submitted. The FBI closed the case last year and refuses to answer any questions. When CBS46 pressed for more transparency, the FBI said, “we conducted a thorough review of the case, but we are unable to prosecute anyone for these horrific crimes because all of the likely perpetrators are deceased.”
Hughes said the discovery of a large number of casings shows flaws in the FBI’s investigation.
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“That tells you nobody looked in the first place. That's a pretty obvious conclusion you can draw. How hard were they trying to solve this?” she said.
Shotgun shells went from cardboard to plastic in 1960 which means the shells Mac’s team found were made before that year.
Mac and Hughes said the key to solving this crime is finding the shotguns used to kill the Dorseys and the Malcolms – and matching them with the shell casings.
“You take that shell casing and you cross check it against the shell casing from one of the weapons and you see if you can't match it up,” Mac said.
Hughes said it’s never too late for families to come forward.
“Nobody is going to throw a gun away, especially back then right after the Depression, you are not going to throw a gun away that is a family heirloom,” said Hughes. “Hope can be paralyzing, and so you’re hoping all these years that somebody will give you answers.”
CBS46 is offering a reward to anyone who turns in a gun they believe may have been used in the lynching. You’re urged to turn the gun into any police station for testing and send a signed letter of proof to CSIAtlanta@cbs46.com.