Dive team searches for leads in 1992 cold case

Record Observer - - News - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

QUEEN ANNE — Res­i­dents of the Queen Anne/Hills­boro area may have no­ticed some un­usual po­lice ac­tiv­ity on the Tuck­a­hoe River Wed­nes­day, Oct. 19. The Mary­land State Po­lice Dive Team, at the re­quest of the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, searched an area of the river north of Route 404 be­hind the Na­tional Guard Ar­mory. They were look­ing for clues in the only cold case mur­der in Queen Anne’s County.

Twenty-four years ago Her­man “Dolly” Cal­la­han was found shot dead in the breeze­way of his home off Route 404 in Queen Anne, but the sher­iff’s of­fice hasn’t given up on the un­solved case, said Lt. Dale Pa­trick.

Over the years, the sher­iff’s of­fice has tried dif­fer­ent meth­ods to gen­er­ate new leads. In­for­ma­tion and photos from the case were added to the sher­iff’s of­fice web­site; a copy of the case was sent to the Mary­land State Po­lice Cold Case Unit for re­view; sev­eral videos were filmed and shown on “Queen Anne’s Most Wanted” ca­ble TV show, in­clud­ing an in­ter­view of the vic­tim’s daugh­ter; fliers and posters were dis­trib­uted in the area; and the case was added to Fox Tele­vi­sion’s “Amer­ica’s Most Wanted” web­site.

De­tec­tives got the idea it might be good to search the river, so the sher­iff’s of­fice con­tacted MSP and asked for as­sis­tance, Pa­trick said. Wed­nes­day’s ef­fort was in re­sponse to that re­quest.

The dive team took in­flat­able rafts out in the river and divers searched the bot­tom of the river by hand, Pa­trick said.

The divers used a weighted line stretched be­tween them, al­most like a trot­line, and move back and forth sec­tions of the river, he ex­plained. It’s eas­ier if the wa­ter is clear; if it’s brack­ish, divers have to de­pend on touch.

Steve Matthews is the lead de­tec­tive on the case, Pa­trick said. Matthews, De­tec­tive Ja­son Rickard and 1st Sgt. Sonny Jones ac­com­pa­nied the team to the river and as­sisted where they could, he said.

In all, the dive team spent five hours search­ing the river.

“If they found some­thing, they’re not talk­ing about it yet,” Pa­trick said. But the po­lice ac­tiv­ity was no­ticed, he said, so they wanted to let peo­ple know what was go­ing on.

What is known about the case

Around 7:30 a.m. Mon­day, Aug. 24, 1992, a pass­ing mo­torist pulled in to the Shell Stop gas sta­tion at the in­ter­sec­tion of Routes 309 and 404, a few hun­dred yards from Cal­la­han’s home, to re­port she saw the 75-year-old farmer slumped over in his door­way as she drove down Route 404.

Cal­la­han was dis­cov­ered just in­side the door­way shot in the back. In­ves­ti­ga­tors found $1,750 in cash and busi­ness notes on Cal­la­han’s per­son.

Cal­la­han’s 1985, man­ual trans­mis­sion, GMC live­stock truck was lo­cated at the Na­tional Guard Ar­mory a few hun­dred yards from his house.

The mur­der weapon was not re­cov­ered, al­though a shot­gun was found by a con­struc­tion crew near Cal­la­han’s home sev­eral years later.

Ac­cord­ing to the sher­iff’s of­fice, Cal­la­han, the owner of two cat­tle farms and land­lord of more than a dozen ten­ants at the time of his death, “had his share of en­e­mies” and gen­er­ally started his work­day around 4 a.m.

“The sher­iff’s of­fice be­lieves this case can be solved,” Pa­trick said.

Any­one with any in­for­ma­tion in the case, no mat­ter how unim­por­tant it may seem, he said, is asked to con­tact Matthews at 410758-0770 or email dpatrick@ qac.org.


Mem­bers of the Mary­land State Po­lice Dive Team search the Tuck­a­hoe River in Queen Anne Wed­nes­day, Oct. 19, for clues in a 24-year-old mur­der case.

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