Only on 9: Kannapolis detectives ‘aren’t giving up’ on cold cases dating back decades

KANNAPOLIS — A series of local homicides has gone unsolved for decades. Channel 9 covered many of the cases when they broke, including the following:

Those are just three of the seven cold cases in the city of Kannapolis, and a team of detectives is dedicated to bringing justice to the victims’ families. Only on 9, they’re taking Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz inside their investigations, and sharing what they need to close these cases.


Sergeant Alex Quigley is assigned to the Kannapolis Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

“Word gets around, you know, somebody knows what happened that’s for certain,” Sgt. Quigley said. “And that’s what we want to know.”

Quigley oversees a group of five detectives. Together, they are working to get answers the department has been after for decades.

Channel 9 file video from 1993 shows now-retired Kannapolis Captain Randy Cauthen speaking about the case involving the 14-year-old.

“At this time, we are interviewing a good number of people but we do not have any good leads at this time,” Cauthen had said.

All leads were exhausted when the teen was found dead in a wooded area off Wood Avenue. Fast forward to 2022 and investigators are still looking for the key to solving that homicide and six others -- all cold cases in Kannapolis dating back as far as 34 years.

>> READ MORE about the case here.

‘These people mattered, and they still matter’

“How do you determine when a case becomes a cold case?” Goetz asked.

“All that really boils down to is that every lead was reviewed, and didn’t lead to anything else or an arrest,” Quigley replied.

When asked if there was anything he’d like to share with the community, or with victims’ families, about the work they’re putting into the cases, Quigley’s reply was emphatic.

“We aren’t giving up,” Quigley said. “These people mattered, and they still matter. These aren’t things like, like you mentioned, these aren’t cases that we just put up on the shelf and say, ‘couldn’t get it done.’

“We want to bring this closure to the family and we need help. We need the community’s help,” he said.

‘I cant have closure if I don’t know what happened’

Bonita Edwards-Rice-Woodward looks back at old photos of her son, Charles Edwards. She left his home on a May evening in 2010. A few hours later, police say he was shot and killed by three men during a home invasion.

“I can’t have closure if I don’t know what happened to my son,” she said. “I cannot leave this world and not know what happened to my baby, as somebody got to know.”

Detective Wesley Wilson is working the Edwards’ case.

“I’ve got to know his mother well,” Wilson said. “She just would like to have the closure of just trying to figure out what happened to Charles and who’s responsible.”

>> READ MORE about Edwards’ story here.

Losing a loved one is a pain he knows all too well. His uncle was killed in 1999 in Kannapolis. That case is also unsolved 23 years later.

“So really, what that’s done for me is, you know, that really laid the foundational bricks for my interest in criminal justice in general,” Wilson said.

>> READ MORE about Wilson’s uncle’s case here.

Detective Wilson’s uncle’s case is one of the oldest to date, and Bonita’s son’s investigation is the most recent. Every case in between has brought its own challenges, leading detectives to dead ends. But investigators say with hard work and help from the community, they’re confident they can close these cases.

“Generally, looking over a number of cases, can you say that there are some rocks being overturned and some dust being kicked back up again? On some of these?” Goetz asked.

“Yes,” Sgt. Quigley said. “We know you’re out there. We’re out there too, the community’s out there. And that’s the purpose of doing this, is we’re going to find you at some point or another, we’re going to find you.”

>> In the weeks ahead, Channel 9 will be digging deeper into specific cases. Detectives are opening their case files and sharing where their investigations stand. We’ll also hear from families who are still mourning all these years later.

(WATCH BELOW: Cold Case: CMPD meets with parents of 25-year-old man killed during home invasion)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.