The Unsolved Sims Family Murders Explained

On October 22, 1966, as was the case for most fall Saturdays, a huge portion of Tallahassee residents were attending that weekend's Florida State Seminoles football game. That day, they defeated Mississippi State by a score of 10-1. But while most of Tallahassee was out celebrating their hometeam's latest victory, a gruesome crime occurred that to this day has never been solved.

According to Legends From History, Tallahassee would turn into a ghost town on days the Seminoles played, but some members of the Sims family were among the few who stayed home on that particular Saturday. Robert, 42, and Helen Sims, 34, were at home with their youngest daughter, 12-year-old Joy. According to Project: Cold Case, their daughter Norma returned home after the football game and was surprised that no one was there. She looked around the house and was met with a ghastly sight in her parents' bedroom that prompted her to make a call to a local funeral home, telling the party on the other end of the line,​"​Something terrible has happened, please come."

Norma Sims discovered a horrific crime scene

What Norma found was shocking. According to Lessons from History, her parents were both lying in bed, tied up, and blindfolded with gunshot wounds. Meanwhile, her sister, Joy, was on the floor and had been both shot and stabbed.

Robert and Helen were both still alive when Norma found them, but just barely. Both had been shot in the head — Robert once, Helen twice. The next people to arrive on the scene were Russell Bevis, the proprietor of the funeral home Norma had phoned, and his son Rocky (via Project: Cold Case). Upon seeing the condition of the victims, the Bevis worked to unfree Robert and Helen. While this seems like the right thing to do, this would later be deemed a decision that compromised the crime scene for investigators. Sadly, by the time the Bevis arrived, Joy was already dead. Robert died the day of the attack, while Helen was transported to a hospital where she died nine days later.

The lead detective on the case was Larry Campbell, a 24-year-old member of the Leon County Sheriff Department, who himself would later be elected sheriff.

The ensuing investigation yielded nothing

Robert Sims was a respected technology expert, and the Sims family was well-liked throughout the Tallahassee community (via Project: Cold Case). Investigators tried to figure out a motive for the brutal attack, and they almost immediately ruled out robbery, as nothing was taken from the Sims' home (per Lesson from History). There were very few — if any — leads to speak of, so investigators combed through the area around the house. They even drained a nearby pond in hopes that they would come across a discarded murder weapon, but they found nothing.

The case caused great panic in Tallahassee, and since no killer had been arrested, trick or treating was canceled that year. Over the years, some persons of interest would come into the picture, including a teenager who lived close to the Sims who later committed murder. The other was a local pastor who Helen Sims had worked for as a secretary before quitting the job not long before the murders. However, the case remains unsolved.