Detectives seek information into the 1971 murder of John Deal

Charlotte County, FL – June 2, 2022

In January 1971, Lee County resident, John Deal 71, was shot and killed on a desolate stretch of Harbor Blvd in Port Charlotte. Sheriff Jack Bent and his investigators learned of the shooting after a local resident found evidence in the roadway. William Duffy and a female acquaintance were driving on Harbor Blvd and noticed items in the roadway.

They stopped and William got out of the vehicle to investigate. He found a man’s hat, broken eyeglasses, a bank notice, a large amount of fresh blood, and a 22-caliber shell casing. Duffy put the hat in the car and drove away.

The detectives noted the eyeglasses were broken in the middle by what appeared to be a 22 bullet. The prescription glasses were later identified as those of John Deal according to his Optometrist. This would indicate Mr. Deal was shot between the eyes with a 22-caliber firearm and the amount of blood on scene would indicate that the victim did not survive.

Current Cold Case detectives located a nephew of John Deal in Georgia and obtained a DNA sample. The samples from the crime scene were compared to the sample we obtained from the nephew. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported the two were a Y-STR match, indicating they were male relatives. 

The following video will take a deep dive into oldest cold case on record for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office team and today, we are seeking help from the public. If you had contact with any of these people around the time of the crime, or have heard any of them speak about the crime, please contact the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at 941-639-2101.


  • Andy Naylor, (Lee, Charlotte County)
  • Betty Faber AKA: Betty Cole, Betty Naylor, Betty Bird (Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota County)
  • Frank Jenkins AKA Sonny Jenkins, (Lee County)
  • Brenda Jenkins AKA Brenda Ray, (Lee County)
  • Ted Smith, (Lee, Charlotte County)
  • Shirlene McMillan Williams, (Lee County)
  • William Duffy, (Charlotte County)
  • John Bird, (Sarasota County)
  • John Faber, (Charlotte, Lee County)
  • James Harkcom, (Lee County)
  • Clarence Whickum, (Lee County)
  • Larry Lopez, (Lee County)
  • Ida Mae Pinder Dailey, (Lee County)
  • John Nelson, (Lee County)
  • Donald Naylor, (Lee, Charlotte County)
  • Robert Naylor, (Charlotte County)

We realize how much time has passed since this murder but we do believe there are still people in the area that have direct or indirect information related to this case.

One thought on “Detectives seek information into the 1971 murder of John Deal

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  1. Proud of the Charlotte County Sheriff and the cold case squad for never giving up on any case no matter how old and how much work that goes into solving Such a old case.

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