Local slaying to be re-enacted on TV this summer
SPENCER The mysterious 1996 shooting death of Spencer teen-ager Bryan Haltom will be re-enacted on the television program "Unsolved Mysteries" this summer.
A film crew from Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, which produces the show for the Lifetime Network, spent three days last month in Owen, Monroe, Putnam and Madison counties interviewing the victim's family and friends and police investigators.
The boy's father, Ed Haltom, hopes re-enacting his son's slaying before a national audience will help bring the killer to justice.
"I think it might do some good," he said. "'Unsolved Mysteries' has had some results from other shows. It's worth trying."
Bryan Haltom was 18 years old in the summer of 1996 when he was fatally shot in the heart by another motorist during an incident of apparent road rage on U.S. 231 just north of Spencer. The shooting occurred at about 12:45 a.m. on July 19.
Haltom's friend Trevor Powell was riding with the victim when the incident occurred. He did not recognize the shooter, who drove a "sporty maroon car," possibly a Toyota, with a 55-prefix license plate, indicating the owner lived in Morgan County.
According to Haltom's father, the boy had no known enemies.
One day after the shooting, Maj. Joe Pettijohn, then deputy chief of the Owen County Sheriff's Department, indicated that clues were scarce.
"The only thing I know is this boy is dead and was shot by an unknown suspect," he said at the time. "It appeared the driver (Haltom) got out of the car and went back toward another car and was shot. Our belief is that there was some sort of altercation."
Five years later, Ed Haltom said his son is not forgotten and people still talk about the case.
"I still think about it," he said, "and if I hear something, I still follow up on it."
Haltom said he's lived in Owen County all his life and "a lot of the sheriff deputies are my friends. An unsolved murder case is never closed," he said. "And I know they're still looking for leads."
Owen County Sheriff Harley Melton confirmed the Haltom case is still under investigation.
"The state police and my department are still actively pursuing this," he said.
Melton said he isn't sure if reenacting the crime on "Unsolved Mysteries" will help or not, but "my attitude is that I'll take anything at this point."
"I would truly love to see this solved," he said.
Reporter David Horn can be reached at 331-4307 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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