St. Augustine police seek info in 2 cold cases

Police asking for public's help in decades-old unsolved homicides

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Richard MacDougall was shot and killed in December 1990; Frances Bemis was beaten to death in November 1974

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Police in St. Augustine are asking for the public's help in solving two cold cases, one from 1990 and one from 1974.

Police said Saturday marked 22 years since the killing of 23-year-old Richard MacDougall. In the early hours of Dec. 1, 1990, MacDougall, a construction worker for Meadors Construction, was shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of 60 Cathedral Place, which at the time was Barnett Bank.

MacDougall and a friend had been at the Shrimp Haven Bar at 169 King St. before deciding to walk downtown to the Tradewinds Bar at 124 Charlotte St. When they approached Cathedral Place, a verbal altercation ensued between MacDougall and an unidentified man. The altercation escalated, resulting in MacDougall's death.

Anyone with information regarding this case may contact Detective Cecilia Aiple at 904-209-3487, the St. Augustine Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 904-209-3482 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS (8477). Callers may be eligible for a $5,000 reward through Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida.

Investigators are also seeking information in a 1974 killing that remains unsolved.

They said that on the evening of Nov. 3, 1974, Frances Bemis was seen by neighbors taking her nightly walk through the neighborhood. The next morning, her body was found in an empty field just south of 46 Marine St. An autopsy revealed she died from blunt force trauma.

During the initial investigation, neighbors reported hearing screaming at about 7 p.m. that night. Another neighbor reported that it sounded like someone was being choked.

At the time, a search of the area by police did not uncover anything unusual.

Bemis, who owned the Maria Sanchez Apartments at 144 Marine St., was an active member of the community. She was involved with the Humane Society, the Art Association, and was an outspoken critic for the treatment of carriage horses.

Anyone with any information related to this case should call Detective Corporal Charles Simpson at 904-209-3484, the St. Augustine Police Tip Line at 904-209-3482 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS (8477).

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