The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has solved a more than 30-year-old cold case in which a man beat his then-girlfriend and stomped on her neck, leaving her paraplegic and ultimately causing her death.
In 1985, Allen Schultz attacked Doris Walker. Schultz had initially been arrested at the time, but he was later released on his own recognizance.
A warrant was later issued for his arrest, charging him with aggravated battery, but detectives were never able to find him.
Recently, detectives learned that a man named Allen Sherwood — whose birth date and Social Security number were similar — was arrested in Collier County in 1988, according to a news release. When detectives compared jail booking photos, they were nearly identical.
Detectives tracked Sherwood to Henderson, N.C., and they were able to confirm that he had died from cancer in 2003. Fingerprints from Schultz’s arrest in 1985 and Sherwood’s arrest in 1998 were compared and found to be a positive match.
The Walker case in Sarasota was reopened and then closed with the confirmed death of Schultz.
“This is a huge break in a case that’s been lingering for more than 30 years,” said Sheriff Tom Knight in a statement. “The investigators in this case worked tirelessly to seek resolution and bring closure to Doris Walker’s family and today, they’ve done just that. I am immensely proud of the work that went into this investigation.”
Walker died in 2004, which would have increased the charge to a homicide if Schultz were still alive.
Over the years, investigators with the Fugitive Apprehension Unit, Criminal Investigation Section and the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force continued to conduct a worldwide search for Schultz. In 2014, the sheriff’s office released an age-progression photo of what they thought Schultz would have looked like in 2014, which gave the case national media attention.