BPD: Persons of interest identified in Daniel Rickett homicide case

Detectives still investigating man's disappearance, death
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:27 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham police investigators say they’ve identified one or two persons of interest in a homicide case from four and a half years ago.

Daniel Rickett went missing February 8, 2018 and the 17-year-old’s body was found in a burned car July 30, 2020.

For years, Birmingham police detectives have been working this case and they say they are not in the same place they were several years ago.

“I think we have definitely moved forward,” said Detective James Canino, an arson investigator with BPD.

He said it all started in February 2018 when Daniel left home without his cell phone. His family brought the case to police on February 13. While the case was first opened as a runaway, it quickly turned to a missing person case.

For over two years, family, friends, and police searched for him until a burned car was discovered in a wooded area.

“Trees were growing near it, around it,” said Rickett. “I believe some had actually made there way growing up through areas of the car. You could clearly tell the car had been there for a long time.”

In that car, investigators found a gun and a shell casing, along with skeletal remains. The coroner’s office identified the body as Daniel’s, saying he died from a gunshot wound.

Because the detective is an arson investigator, he joined the case once the burned car was found. For the past several years, he spent time going through all the files, listening to audio interviewing, scouring social media, and even re-interviewing people.

Detective Canino says they’re closer to answers now than ever before, now that they’ve generated potential names.

“Right this moment today, I will say that we have persons of interest,” he added. “Persons of interest in the sense of... I believe it’s a matter of time before I’m sitting down with this person and questioning them.”

Now they are working to connect dots and finalize a timeline. He says that’s been one of the most difficult parts.

“To actually have the information to say ‘Subject A did this,’” he said. “Subject B. Subject C. We’re missing that information.”

Birmingham police need the community’s help to figure out those last details.

“There are folks out there that have the information,” said Canino. “They know why. They know where. They know when. They know who. It’s time to step up.”

Sadly, Daniel’s mother Jennifer died in March from cancer. Detective Canino says she spent the past four years working to get justice for her son and never giving up on finding answers.

If you have any information about the Daniel Rickett’s death, call Birmingham police at 205-328-9311 or Crimestoppers at 205-254-7777.

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