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Police in Florida May Have Identified Person Responsible for Florida Firefighter's Brutal Death Over 37 Years Ago

The cold case got a breakthrough after three decades thanks to DNA evidence and help from the public.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/WPLG Local 10
Cover Image Source: YouTube/WPLG Local 10

Officials may be one step closer to solving a 37-year-old murder case involving a former firefighter. William "Billy" Halpern was killed on Oct. 21, 1986, at his home in Florida, Miramar Police Department said.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Pixabay

Halpern was found beaten, stabbed, and strangled with his throat slashed ear to ear, WSVN reported. He was 28 at the time.

Halpern's nearly-four-decades-old murder case recently was revisited thanks to new developments in technology and tips from the public.

In January this year, authorities reopened the case after certain partial DNA profiles became available for forensic analysis. 

Despite having access to DNA samples, Miramar Police Detective Danny Smith said investigators needed leads to move forward with the case. Halpern’s sister, Lori was also present in the press conference when Smith appealed to the public to come forward with any information they might have on his death, WSVN reported. 

“Come and tell them what you know, I’d be grateful, my family would be grateful,” she said. “He was a loving, wonderful brother. I miss him terribly, and everyone who knew Billy loved Billy.”


Detective Smith requested the public to come forward with information about the case, Fox News reported. After multiple people reached out to the police, authorities zeroed in on Harry Collier, as one of the suspects in Halpern's murder.

The information that was provided by the public gave the police evidence to connect Halpern's murder to another double homicide that took place around the same time in Tamarac. The information also led them to Collier's DNA, which was a match with the evidence collected in connection with the case, according to authorities. "The way that the murder scene in Tamarac was laid out... very similar, if not exact, to the Halpern murder scene," said Smith, Fox News reported.


Miramar Police Detective Danny Smith claimed Collier may be one of the men who killed Halpern. “We feel confident that if Collier were alive today we would be charging him with murder and he would stand trial,” said Det. Smith.

Collier was murdered, WSVN reported.

Officials speculated that Halpern's murder could be connected to a gym owned by Gil Fernandez, Fox News reported. It was the first of two murders associated with the gym, according to the police. 

Fernandez was a former police officer in Miami-Dade County as well as a bodybuilder with alleged connections to the mob, Fox News reported. In the initial investigation, Fernandez was a person of interest, but no evidence could be found against him, police said.

Fernandez was later sentenced to life imprisonment after he was convicted of an unrelated murder, Fox News reported. Investigators believe that Halpern lost his life because he became privy to information he should not have known. 


Despite Collier's death, officials confirmed they will continue investigating the case, Fox News reported.

"We’re looking for people that were there. We’re looking for individuals that may have ordered this murder. People that were complicit," said Smith. "We’re not going to stop."

The officials continue to ask for public assistance. If anyone has information regarding the case, they are encouraged to contact Broward County Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.

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