Elizabeth Landefeld never spent a Christmas with her dad, Doug Suns.
She never hugged him. She never kissed him goodnight. She never even met him.
Suns was shot on Aug. 31, 1986, and died the next day, one month before Landefeld was born.
“They took one of the most important people that could have been a part of my life,” Landefeld said, fighting tears in the Columbus Police Department lobby. “Those people did that, and they didn’t even think about what they were taking away from our family.”
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Suns was 22 when he died, working alone overnight at a Kocolene gas station at state roads 46 and 11, since razed.
Police said someone gunned him down and took off with $100.
Nearly 30 years later, three containers of evidence sit in Lt. Mike Ward’s office at the Columbus Police Department. They contain old case notes, interview recordings, coin changers and other items.
Ward digs through them nearly every week looking for answers.
It is the city’s only unsolved homicide, according to Columbus investigators.
“Somebody knows what happened, and I’m confident that person or persons are still out there that have that information for us,” Ward said.
Ward said some of the documents are related to a string of other robberies that happened during or around 1986. Two people have been convicted of those robberies. Police said those two are persons of interest in the Doug Suns case, but they haven’t been directly connected to the crime.
Landefeld lives in Michigan now. When she’s back in Columbus, as she was last week, she always visits her father’s grave. Family members tell her he was a kind man — a musician who loved his wife of less than a year, Robin, and was thrilled about becoming a dad.
Now, Landefeld has a message for the killer.
“Turn yourself in and give our family the closure that we deserve,” she said.
Detectives said they sent DNA samples to Indiana State Police. They’ve re-interviewed persons of interest, and they’ve interviewed ex-girlfriends of persons of interest.
No one has been charged.
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The Kocelene Oil Corp. is offering $5,000 for information leading to a conviction in the 1986 shooting death of Columbus man Doug Suns
If you have any information, you can call Columbus Police at 812-376-2641 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Tips can remain anonymous.