Jacksonville, FL - 28 years after an elderly man was killed while apparently interrupting a burglary at his home in Jacksonville, a suspect has been arrested.
JSO says 84-year-old Joseph Back was found dead, after a welfare check on his home. Police believe he was killed the evening of July 12th, 1991, and while police are not confirming the manner of death, they say it was a violent attack. Investigators believe Back’s home was randomly targeted in the burglary, and Back did not know the suspect.
Occasionally, JSO says they re-run latent prints from cold cases. That was done in Back’s case late last year, and the results led them to 69-year-old Eddie Rhiles. JSO says technology advancements led to results in this case that they hadn’t been able to get before.
“Computer is a little faster, little smarter. So, those images, you can get more of the detail as we progress. And with the technology, it’s only going to get better. And there are more and more people who’s prints and whose DNA are in the system, so it’s only positive from here on out,” says JSO Assistant Chief Brian Kee.
Rhiles’ listed address was a homeless shelter in Tallahassee. JSO partnered with Tallahassee Police to apprehend him there on August 2nd. Police say he was interviewed and arrested for the murder. He is still in Tallahassee, pending extradition to Jacksonville.
Rhiles has served time in state prison and has an extensive criminal history that includes kidnapping, robbery, and battery on an elderly person, according to JSO. His prints did not immediately connect to any other cases, but JSO says they continue to investigate if he may have been involved in any other crimes over the years.
“He’s obviously a very violent individual, I mean he’s got a history of incidents,” says Kee.
JSO says Back’s family is pleased that an arrest has been made. Kee is vowing to continue working cold cases like this, in an effort to get results.
“There’s always hope. We have dedicated detectives in Cold Case who do nothing but those kind of investigations,” he says.
Kee says they even added a Detective to the unit about a month ago, and they consider these cases a high priority.