Cullman County man charged with cold case murder

CULLMAN, AL (WBRC) - By Melanie Posey

CULLMAN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A man from Vinemont has been arrested for what authorities say he committed 30 years ago in Louisiana. Authorities arrested 52-year-old Ricky D. Brown of Vinemont, Alabama on December 1st.

He's charged with murdering then 22-year-old Edith McElroy West in September 1980. Police say they were acquaintances visiting Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana as part of a motorcycle group.  Detectives found West's partially nude body in a shallow bayou with a cinder block around her neck.

However, they weren't able to connect a suspect to her death. But in September of this year, the department reopened the case.  Their efforts led to Brown as a suspect.  "I think it's a set of fresh, new eyes, new detectives looking at the case, reviewing old case files and putting together the pieces that weren't put together back then," says Captain Dawn Foret of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office.

She also believes another person helped kill West. That suspect has died. They feel very confident Brown is responsible for West's death.  

"We're definitely proud we were able to take such an old case and get justice for the family that probably has been waiting for so long and probably never thought it would come," Foret said. Ricky D. Brown has waived extradition and will be returned to Louisiana Thursday.  

Detectives are trying hard to find any living relatives of Edith West and are asking anyone with information to call them at (985) 876-2500.  

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