Collier sheriff launches unsolved homicide initiative with 2007 Golden Gate slaying

Barbara Bisram.  Photo provided by Dale A. Lynaugh

Barbara Bisram. Photo provided by Dale A. Lynaugh

Address: 5181 Everglades Blvd., Golden Gate Estates
What happened: Barbara Bisram was killed inside her home in June 2007. No arrests have been made.
Status: Empty for more than two years after the killing, the home now appears to be occupied by Bisram's son, James Bisram Jr., who is listed as the owner. The gated yard is well-maintained, and James Bisram's car was parked in the driveway. Neighbors say he moved in over the summer.

Photo by RYAN MILLS

Address: 5181 Everglades Blvd., Golden Gate Estates What happened: Barbara Bisram was killed inside her home in June 2007. No arrests have been made. Status: Empty for more than two years after the killing, the home now appears to be occupied by Bisram's son, James Bisram Jr., who is listed as the owner. The gated yard is well-maintained, and James Bisram's car was parked in the driveway. Neighbors say he moved in over the summer.

— Elaine Lynaugh is confident that someone, somewhere knows what happened to her sister.

“I think there has to be someone,” Lynaugh said. “I just don’t see how someone who commits a crime like that wouldn’t say something to someone.”

It’s been three years since 62-year-old Barbara Bisram was found dead inside her home at 5181 Everglades Blvd. N. in Golden Gate Estates. She was the victim of a homicide, the Collier County medical examiner determined.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ray Wilkinson also believes that someone out there could help him close the case.

“They may know something. They may not think it’s important,” Wilkinson said. “I’ll know how important it is.”

The Sheriff’s Office is featuring the Barbara Bisram case as part of a renewed effort to raise awareness of some of its unsolved homicides. The move comes on the heels of a recent Scripps Howard News Service and Daily News series focusing on unsolved homicides in Southwest Florida and across the country.

Sheriff's video featuring the lead detective discussing the case

There wasn’t a lot of joy in Bisram’s life in the months leading up to her death, said Lynaugh, 62. She was living alone, after her husband, James Bisram Sr., died in February 2007, and was struggling with a bout with breast cancer.

Bisram, who didn’t drive, enjoyed talking with her neighbors, talking on the phone, working outside and having visitors. It was a simple life, Lynaugh said.

In early June 2007, Bisram suddenly stopped answering her mother’s and sister’s phone calls. Concerned relatives called the Sheriff’s Office, which sent deputies to check on her.

They found her dead inside her home on June 6.

Wilkinson has been stingy with details over the years, for a reason. If someone approaches with information about the case that hasn’t been made public, Wilkinson will know to take them very seriously.

“I have a person of interest, and that’s the person I’ve been focusing on,” Wilkinson said, adding that he needs more to make an arrest.

Wilkinson doesn’t believe Bisram’s killing was a random act of violence. There was no forced entry into her home, leading Wilkinson to believe she knew her killer.

Bisram wasn’t sexually assaulted. There was money missing from the house, but investigators don’t know how much.

Wilkinson won’t say how Bisram was killed, but said he doesn’t believe anyone in Bisram’s neighborhood, or in Collier County, has reason to be concerned for their safety because of the killing.

One person who has been ruled out as a suspect is Bisram’s son, James Bisram Jr., who Wilkinson said couldn’t have killed her.

“He was devastated by it, yeah, for sure. He was the only son,” Wilkinson said. “He lost his father in February and he lost his mother four months later. His mother was his life. She took care of him.”

Lynaugh said she still struggles with her sister’s death. She has tried putting away photographs, but always takes them back out.

She was happy to learn that her sister’s case was the first to be featured by the Sheriff’s Office as part of this latest cold case push.

“It makes me feel like it’s still, you know, a workable case, that, you know, they’re pushing to get that information,” Lynaugh said. “It really gives me hope when they keep it out there.

“Three years sounds like a long time, but not really. It’s not really a long time.”

* * * * *

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at (239) 793-9300, or call Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.

COLD CASE CHRONICLES SERIES

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Cold Case Chronicles: Emotions strong decades later for Collier victims’ relatives (part 2)

Cold Case Chronicles: Parents grieve, await arrest years after children slain in Lee (part 2)

Cold Case Chronicles: Everglades body dump, Miami drug wars drove up Collier murder rate

Cold Case Chronicles: Retired Collier homicide detective ‘persistence is the key’

Cold Case Chronicles: Skeletal remains, mum witnesses challenge detectives in Lee

Cold Case Chronicles: She’s not a Lee deputy, but solving cold cases is her mission

THE STATE AND NATION

Cold Case Chronicles:Murders more likely to go unsolved in Florida’s major cities

Cold Case Chronicles: In a third of U.S. homicides, killer gets away with murder

Cold Case Chronicles: U.S. murders often get solved along racial, age lines

Cold Case Chronicles: Relative considers taking justice into his own hands

Cold Case Chronicles: Some U.S. police departments fail to report murder case status

Cold Case Chronicles: One in nine Americans knows victim of unsolved homicide

Cold Case Chronicles: Many ‘best practices’ improve homicide investigations

_ Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan-mills/

© 2010 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Cold Case Chronicles

Features