When Larry Hughes’ family laid him to rest more than 25 years ago, many of them never thought they would find his killer.
More than two decades later, police now think they can make an arrest. First, they had to dig up Hughes’ grave.
Investigators in Giles County reopened the cold case last year after some new information came in, but they still needed Hughes’ DNA.
Detectives filed paperwork and received permission to exhume Hughes’ body for a DNA sample.
Wednesday brought the moment Larry Hughes’ family has been waiting for.
“We just need answers,” said Bene Hughes, the victim’s daughter. “It’s wrong. Nobody deserves to be murdered.”
Larry Hughes worked as a cattle farmer and owned a hardware store in Giles County.
On March 28, 1990, his wife reported him missing. Sixteen days later, investigators found Larry Hughes’ naked body in a dump. He had been shot in the head.
Family members watched as authorities carefully brought up his grave.
“That’s not my dad, that’s just his remains,” Bene Hughes said. “This needed to happen.”
“I’ve been praying since it happened that before I died, I’d find out who did this,” said Dean Hughes, the victim’s brother. “And they’re pretty sure that they’re close to closing it.”
The petition to exhume Larry Hughes’ body revealed that investigators suspects his wife, Mary Ann Hughes, in his murder. She is now 69 years old.
“We do feel like with what we’ve gathered here today will move us in the right direction to make an arrest,” said Lt. Shane Hunter with the Giles County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives said Mary Ann Hughes recently sold the home she shared with Larry Hughes. The new owners found blood on the floor, which investigators collected. If they can now match that blood and other items collected 26 years ago to Larry Hughes’ DNA, they could close in on his killer.
“I’m not going to quit until this case is solved, and I hope that they realize that, too,” Hunter said. “That justice is coming and we’re not going to wait another 25 years.”
Authorities brought Larry Hughes’ body to Nashville on Wednesday afternoon. The medical examiner collected samples that will now be taken to a university in Texas in hopes of creating a DNA profile.
Mary Ann Hughes and her brother still live in Giles County. Police believe he may have helped hide the body.
This case remains under investigation. The district attorney asked anyone with information about Larry Hughes’ murder should call his office or the Giles County Sheriff’s Office.
Copyright 2016 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.