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During the latter part of the 20th century, Brooksville presented itself as a quaint little Florida town - a courthouse displaying monuments to soldiers of wars gone by, well cared for homes on brick streets, a bandshell for community events. Everyone knew one another.

That all changed during the early morning hours of May 9, 1981. Rick Merrill and Dori Colyer were murdered in a very shocking way. Rick and Dori were burned alive.

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Their bodies were so badly burned that Rick was identified by his dental records. Dori was identified by the jewelry she was wearing. The families waited
nine days for the Medical Examiner to identify the bodies. Newspaper articles note the investigation into the murders of Rick and Dori resulted in a case file of up to 1000 pages thick.

On July 31,1981 the Brooksville Florida Police Department held a news conference. They announced they had four known suspects in the murders of Rick Merrill and Dori Colyer. They refused to provide any further suspect information.

Then, at the same news conference, the
Brooksville Police Department provided the height, weight, physical description, employment history, hair color, a composite sketch and the name of the suspect in another unsolved Brooksville murder.

So much information in one case, so little information in another.
During the next 37 years, and nine Chiefs of Police later, the Brooksville Police Department failed to close the case. Then, in 2018, the agency was disbanded. Law enforcement services were transferred to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office - including the investigation into the unsolved murders of Rick and Dori.

Friends and family remain hopeful that these new sets of eyes on the case, advances in DNA technology and forensic science over the past 40 years, as well as your tips may finally bring Rick and Dori the justice they deserve.

REMEMBER - this has never been a "whodunnit" cold case. Local law enforcement has the names of those believed responsible for the murders of Rick and Dori for the last 40 years.


READ THE 2022 HERNANDO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE

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STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The killer(s) of Rick Merrill and Dori Colyer has been walking our streets almost 40 years.

It is hoped that this website will “shake the tree” and something will fall out. The people involved in these murders are in their 60's and 70's. We hope someone reading this website has an artifact in the attic or a memory in the mind that may help give Rick Merrill and Dori Colyer the justice they deserve.

GOT A TIP?

It doesn't matter if your information is old or new, small or large, rumor or fact. We want to hear from you. You can submit information on this double murder in a number of ways:

  • Email Cold Case Detective George Loydgren at the Hernando County Florida Sheriff's Office.
  • Call Detective George Loydgren at 352-797-3714.
  • Call the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at 352-754-6830 or toll free at 1-877-282-5727.
  • Leave an anonymous tip at 1-866-990-TIPS or 1-877-282-5727.

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