Lillie Mae Richardson: The murder Houston County forgot

Richardson’s death was reported on the front page of The Daily Sun./Photo courtesy of the Houston County Public Library archives.

A 32-year-old pregnant mother is shot and killed on her doorstep in Houston County in 1974.

The case was never solved.

Today, there aren’t “Missing” signs with her picture.

Her family isn’t campaigning the community for answers.

One investigator said that it seems the community forgot about Lillie Mae Richardson, but it’s a case that will stick with Captain Jon Holland of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was a bizarre event. It just didn’t happen in Houston County, Georgia,” he said.

A 32-year-old pregnant mother shot and killed as she got home from work.

“She was basically ambushed when she got out of her car going to her house, is what it appears to be,” Holland said.

Holland didn’t work the Richardson case. It was before his time. He said that it’s not one people think about.

“I don’t think she had any immediate family in Houston County, so I can’t tell you that a lot of people really remember that case,” he said.

But he said it should have sent shockwaves through the county.

“In 1974, we didn’t have pregnant ladies shot off their doorstep. It just didn’t happen. Unheard of,” he said.

Holland said that Richardson’s husband found her after he got off work and picked up their two small children. His story checked out.

Holland said that the house looked like it had been broken into, however, that could have been staged.

“It could have been that someone wanted it to appear to be a burglary,” he said.

There is one key aspect of the case that Holland said investigators have never released: Her death may have had something to do with a new car her husband bought her.

“There was some question about where the car originated from, and apparently there was some conflict about the car because somebody came back to retrieve that car during this time just prior to her death,” he said. “So there’s some indication that there may have been some suspects involved in a car theft ring that had some connection to the family in some manner, and that potentially could have been what prompted her death.”

Investigators ran down those leads at the time and came up empty-handed, but Holland believes that’s the key to unlocking the truth about Lillie Mae Richardson’s death.

“That’s the question mark in this case is what did that car and that situation have to do with her death, and who are the people involved in that,” he said.

Another odd detail in the case file: The family home burned down not long after Richardson’s murder.

“No reason to think there’s a connection necessarily to her death, but a lot of things going on at that house during that time obviously,” Holland said.

Even in a 43-year-old cold case, a detail remembered could give an answer. Holland believes the case is solvable, but only if the community will do what he does.

“We need people to remember Lillie Mae Richardson,” he said.

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