Florida Milkman Murder Solved After 56 Years

Killing of WWII veteran Hiram 'Ross' Grayam was county's oldest cold case
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2024 2:16 PM CDT
Updated Apr 14, 2024 3:35 PM CDT
Florida Milkman Murder Solved After 56 Years
Hiram "Ross" Grayam.   (Indian River County Sheriff's Office)

The Indian River County Sheriff's Office in southeast Florida says it has solved the oldest cold case in its history—the 1968 murder of WWII veteran Hiram "Ross" Grayam. The Purple Heart recipient "had faced the horrors of the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of two concentration camps," before he became a "beloved milkman" in the county, the department said in a Facebook post. He was murdered while making deliveries on April 11, 1968, and the sheriff's office says it has finally identified the killer as Thomas J. Williams, who was 21 at the time of the crime and died in 2016, CBS News reports.

Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said Thursday that when Grayam was last seen alive, two men were with him in his milk truck. The truck was later found in a wooded area and Grayam was next to it, "killed execution style," Flowers said. He had been robbed of around $70. The sheriff said Williams first became a person of interest in 2006 when Grayam's son, Larry Grayam, spoke to the media about the case—and Williams wrote to a local newspaper to deny that he was involved. "At that point he wasn't on anybody's radar, but he kind of interjected himself into the crime and he became a suspect," Larry Grayam said Thursday, per TCPalm.

The sheriff said that after Williams, a career criminal, died, his ex-wife and a friend of his sister came forward separately to say he had confessed to them, CBS12 reports. The sheriff said they "were willing to speak with us only because this guy was so violent he is now dead." Flowers said investigators know the identity of the second suspect and are hoping people in the community will come forward with more information. Larry Grayam, who was 16 when his father was killed, said the loss devastated his family, and his mother died of a "broken heart" three years after the murder. At a press conference with the sheriff Thursday, he said he is "very pleased that we've come to the point that we can now close the case." (More cold cases stories.)

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