Crime Stoppers: 1981 Murder of Johnnie Mack Salyer - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Crime Stoppers: 1981 Murder of Johnnie Mack Salyer

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With the passage of time, memories can fade, but situations can change, as well. When crime is concerned, a threatening presence can move on or be put in jail, or a witness can have a conflict of conscience and finally want to do the right thing. We are counting on that and the lure of reward cash to get someone to come forward to help solve this week's Crime Stoppers case.

34 years ago, Johnnie Mack Salyer's body was found in a barrel in Chickamauga Lake.

"Extensive leads were followed, originally, in the 80s when the case occurred and the suspects were developed,"Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, "but there were no arrests made."

The cold case team regularly reviews unsolved cases and, they say, the potential for resolution in this one is high. "Time changes relationships," Gen. Pinkston continued. "So, we feel that there are a number of people out there in the community that have knowledge of the case and maybe admissions from suspects and were asking them to come forward."

Johnnie Mack Salyer was 27-years old and a known drug dealer. In early June, 1981, a couple discovered the steel barrel near their dock on Rocky Point Road in northern Hamilton County. Inside was Salyer's body. He was wearing only boxer shorts. Investigators believe he had been killed on May 24th and that criminal activities lead to his death.

What do we need? Any little bit of information. Something that seems insignificant may tie two leads together and earn you Crime Stoppers reward cash. "It's just little pieces of the puzzle that add to the whole picture," said Pinkston, "and often people, their little piece of the puzzle is insignificant and they don't think anyone's interested, but in fact, we really are interested."

With this case solved, Salyer's family could finally know the 'whos' and maybe some of the the 'whys.' Veterna member of the cold case unity Mike Mathis said, "To tell a family that you're close or that you solved the case is a really great feeling. It's what we do it for, we do it for them."

Up to $1,000 reward is available for information in this case.    

Call Crime Stoppers tonight: 698-3333

A police officer may answer the phone or return your call, but he will never ask who you are.

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