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MARTINSVILLE — Authorities in Martinsville have officially closed a 34-year homicide and robbery investigation, after their search for suspects and evidence led them to Galax, Hillsville and Baywood.
The "cold case" was reopened two years ago, according to a press release from the Martinsville Police Department. Four suspects were identified, but police say no charges were filed because all are deceased.
Kyle Stanley Oakley was killed in the early morning hours of Jan. 5, 1975, at the Liberty Street Sunoco service station in Martinsville. Police say at least three people kicked in a door at the business and shot the 41-year-old clerk three times as he slept in a back room.
It appeared that a confrontation took place between Oakley and the suspects in the office area and multiple gunshots were fired from more than one weapon.
Oakley, struck three times in the melee, was pronounced dead on arrival at a Martinsville hospital.
The suspects fled the scene after stealing about $350 from the store.
The Investigations Division of the Martinsville Police Department worked diligently on the case, but the trail went cold in September 1979 when new information stopped coming in.
At the request of one of Oakley's relatives, the case was reopened in January 2007 and assigned to Investigator David Ashby and Lt. Gary Dove. They went through all the old records, statements and evidence and tried to locate suspects and witnesses.
The investigation led Lt. Dove and Inv. Ashby from Martinsville to Henry, Franklin and Patrick counties; the towns of Hillsville, Galax and Marion and the community of Baywood in Grayson County.
According to a press release from the Martinsville Police Department, Lt. Dove and Inv. Ashby re-interviewed most of the original witnesses and identified others that had not come forth during the original investigation.
Information obtained during this investigation also led them to search an old farm house in the Baywood area. Police did not release the location of the house.
A suspect in the homicide case was interviewed early in this second phase of the investigation and it was determined that the other suspects were already deceased.
The last remaining suspect died from complications of cancer before investigators could present their case to the Martinsville Commonwealth Attorney's Office. Therefore, no formal charges were placed against any of the suspects.
Police did not release names of the suspects or where they lived because they were never charged.
The investigators met privately with Oakley's family to go over the findings and were able to bring closure to the family.
The case was closed due to death of the offenders, Martinsville police said.