COLD CASE: Investigators follow new lead in unsolved 2003 murder

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APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — A human skeleton was discovered in a wooded alleyway between Seventh and Eighth streets in Apalachicola on October 26, 2003.

The remains were later identified as those of 27-year-old Leslie Ann Oswalt. Her death was classified as a murder due to several cracked ribs and a fractured skull.

After all this time, her killer is still on the loose.

“No one’s been held accountable for it. And that’s what we’d like to see, you know. There needs to be accountability for this,” Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said.

Without much to go on, investigators are studying details of her life in hopes to reveal the mystery of her death.

“It looks like she was, you know—from what we found out—traveling with a pretty, a pretty bad crowd maybe involved in drugs and stuff like that,” he said. “So that’s what we found out, that some of the company she was keeping was not very good. So, you know, that could have put her in a bad position as well.”

Sheriff Smith says they’ve named several suspects over the years, but they didn’t go anywhere, and the case grew cold.

But they are currently working the first lead they’ve received in years.

“We have somebody who may talk to us, and that’s kind of where we are now,” he said. “We’re trying to trying to follow that up and see where that may come.”

One thing he says he’s learned from working cold cases is that the truth takes time.

“Sometimes things happen. It takes years and years before someone comes forward or someone’s arrested and they talk or something happens, there’s some kind of catalyst that causes it to open back up and new information be, you know, be revealed or someone’s just, you know, decides they want to talk about it,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s one lead that can crack a case.”

If you have any information regarding this case, you’re asked to share it with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office or CrimeStoppers.

“Somebody out there knows and I’m sure there’s more than one person that knows,” Sheriff Smith said. “And I would think that after, you know, almost 17 years that somebody would want to talk about it and, you know, clear their conscience.”

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