The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

August 30, 2013

Cold-case probe in 1984 slaying results in arrest

JOPLIN, Mo. — A cold-case investigation by Joplin police in a 1984 murder of a local woman apparently paid off on Friday with the arrest of the suspect in San Diego, Calif.

FBI agents arrested Paul A Moses, 64, according to a Joplin police statement.

A felony murder warrant for Moses had been on the books since shortly after the slaying of Frances Ramsey, 62, whose body was found Aug. 11, 1984, in an unoccupied duplex apartment in the 2300 block of South Main Street in Joplin, according to Globe files. Police said the duplex was being remodeled at the time.

Moses is being held in San Diego pending extradition proceedings to bring him to Missouri, authorities said Friday night.

Chuck Niess, with Joplin police investigations, said the case was part of a continuing department focus on old, unsolved cases. As a result of that effort, he said, the FBI in California received information that Moses might have been in the San Diego area.

The Joplin department sent an investigator to California earlier this month and he was able to close in on the suspect’s possible location, but was not able to make an arrest, Niess said. The FBI continued to check on the case after the investigator returned to Joplin, and was able to make the arrest Friday morning without incident.

Globe files note Ramsey’s body was found while police were investigating a burglary that took place at another apartment at the same address. The woman apparently died of a blow to the head with a blunt instrument.

Police at the time said that robbery was the apparent motive in the slaying. The victim was seen in the company of the suspect the night before her body was found, according to Globe files.

Moses was described in court records in 1984 as a 35-year-old transient. “It is my understanding that he was still a homeless drifter,” Niess said Friday night.

The FBI arrested Moses on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in connection with the Ramsey slaying. The federal warrant was obtained by the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office in conjunction with Joplin police, according to a statement.

Obituary

An obituary published Aug. 13, 1984, in the Globe stated that Frances Ramsey had lived in Joplin most of her life. It said her husband died in 1979, but that she had surviving family in Joplin and the area. Police listed her address at the time as the 900 block of Main Street, but the obituary stated she formerly lived in the 2100 block of Sergeant Avenue.

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