CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- A Navy cold case unit is re-examining evidence that could lead to an investigation into the suspicious death of a man who was the third husband of an Augusta woman who has five dead husbands in five states, an agency spokesman said.
Investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's cold case squad in Washington have been reviewing documents, interviews and other materials related to the death of Petty Officer Richard Sills, who was living in the Florida Keys with his wife, Betty Neumar, when he died.
"You review the materials and then decide whether there's enough to go on," NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said. "That's the process we're in now. We've solved cases that are older than this."
He said he didn't know when agents would make a decision about whether to open a full-scale investigation.
But family members praised the squad for taking a second look.
"This is a relief," said Michael Sills, 57, of Oakland, Maine, who has been pressing police to investigate his father's death. "We just want them to examine the evidence. When they do, I believe they'll come to the same conclusion as my family: my father was murdered."
The Monroe County, Fla., Sheriff's Office closed the case in November, saying it was too old and the investigation would cost too much to continue.
Richard Sills' death was ruled a suicide in 1967. Florida investigators reopened the investigation in June 2008, after Mrs. Neumar was arrested in Augusta in the 1986 death of her fourth husband, Harold Gentry, of North Carolina.
Since that arrest, police have also begun to re-examine the deaths of her son -- 34-year-old Gary Flynn, whose 1985 death in Ohio was ruled a suicide -- and three of her other husbands.