Virginia Man's Death Ruled a Homicide After Daughter Fought for Case Reopening

Chesterfield Police
The pond where Charles Cole was found. (Chesterfield Police)

Charles Cole, 79, was found dead in a pond on his property in Chesterfield, Virginia,  in July 2003.

A daughter’s fight for justice for her father who died in 2003 has finally paid off now that police have ruled his death a homicide, nearly two decades later. 

Charles Cole, 79, was found dead in a pond on his property in Chesterfield, Virginia in July 2003, and the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death an accidental drowning.

“At that point and time, the investigation indicated that he died as a result of a drowning,” Chesterfield Police’s Brad Conner said.

Police then closed the case. Cole’s daughter, however, questioned that story and wouldn't stop pushing police to take a second look.

“The daughter over the years has pushed law enforcement officers, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office to reopen this case and look at it,” Conner said.

In February 2019, authorities finally exhumed Cole’s body and performed a second autopsy. It found that he’d actually died of stab wounds and then was left in the water, police said.

“The cause and manner of death is different than the 2003 autopsy and they’ve admitted that to be a homicide by cause of sharp force trauma,” Conner said. “We are starting that investigation all over again, basically from the beginning."

Police are hoping that someone will reveal more information to help solve the case.

“We ask that the perpetrator come forward or if someone knows what happened to come forward,” Conner said.

Anyone with information should contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.