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Man confesses to cold case Dothan murder but...

The children of Ruthie Mae Jackson, a Dothan woman murdered 25 years ago, struggle every Easter
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:51 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -The children of Ruthie Mae Jackson, a Dothan woman murdered 25 years ago, struggle every Easter. This year has been even tougher because realistic hopes this cold case murder had been solved evaporated.

On April 7, 1996 Jackson, 72, was stabbed at least a dozen times at her home on East Adams Street in Dothan. Robbery is not believed to be the motive.

The investigation went cold and stayed that way for years. A few months ago, though, things took a promising turn.

Dothan officers found out that 45-year-old Alabama inmate Tyree Cochran had confessed to someone in prison that he killed Ms. Jackson.

Sources identified that inmate for News 4, but police would neither confirm nor deny Cochran is the person who confessed.

What officers do admit is they got their hopes up that a frustrating, lengthy investigation would finally end.

“Two other investigators and I went to a prison to question the inmate,” Lieutenant Scott Owens told WTVY. However, when they arrived, Cochran refused to answer their questions.

Police figured they could still build a case against Cochran, who has ties to Jackson’s neighborhood but then made a startling discovery. He had been behind bars on the day that Ruthie Mae Jackson died.

“A gut punch,” Owens said of his discouragement.

He is not sure why Cochran, serving time for sex and drug crimes, would make a false confession but speculates he may have done so to agitate police with whom he a history of run-ins.

The news also devastated Ms. Jackson’s four tight knit children—two others have since died.

“Rock bottom,” is how Shirley Jackson described her emotions when she learned the disappointing news.

Despite their anguish the Jacksons vow to never give up hopes of justice. However, at least one of them believes more could be done to find the killer and is frustrated about how Dothan police are handling the investigation.

“They don’t tell us, they don’t call us, they don’t come with us with anything,” Early Jackson told WTVY.

“It’s not really a lack of us wanting to give them the information but we want to be sensitive to their (feelings) and will give them information when there is information to give,” Owens said.

He promises the case will remain a priority for investigators and, like the Jacksons, believes there is at least one person who could identify the killer.

A reward is offered.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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