TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Cheryl Mu’min has spent 17 years seeking answers in the beating death of her father, an aging Vietnam veteran and retired school custodian who was dying from Hodgkin’s disease.
George Manly Jr., 63, was found dead in the floor of his residence at Central Square Apartments on Oct. 9, 2000. It appeared that some of his drawers had been rummaged through, but the place wasn’t ransacked and there was no sign of forced entry.
Over the years, Mu’min, 41, has heard gossip from people in the community, and says she believes there are two women who know more than they’ve let on. Investigators have interviewed plenty of people, but have never collected enough evidence to make an arrest.
“Tuscaloosa is not that big,” she said. “People talk, and people know. To someone out there, I want to say, ‘I know that you know. I know that you were either there, you set it up or you were directly involved as in that you killed him.'”
One of the women even approached Mu’min to tell her she didn’t know anything about Manly’s death.
“My grandmother always said, ‘A hit dog will holler,'” she said, meaning a guilty person will often talk about how they’re not guilty.
It’s unknown what, if anything, was stolen from Manly’s apartment. He was known to flash money sometimes, she said, and had it hidden in different places around the residence. His handgun was still under his pillow on the bed, a few feet from where he was found. His blood alcohol level indicated he had been drinking, Mu’min said, and it appears that whoever killed him had been invited in.
“He was 130 pounds soaking wet,” she said. “I don’t understand why someone had to take his life. If you’re going to rob him, rob him … but why kill him?”
Manly served in the United States Air Force for 27 years and was a military police officer. He later worked as a janitor at Alberta Head Start and was in the late stages of Hodgkin’s disease when he was killed. He had four children and several grandchildren.
Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit commander Capt. Gary Hood said investigators are still working the case and will review any new leads or information that surfaces.
“We’re hopeful that we can get some new information, even though it’s been 17 years,” he said.
Mu’min said she understands people may not want to get involved, or may fear retaliation. She stressed that anyone with information can call police and submit tips anonymously.
“Any little thing, no matter how small they think it is, just say something. It doesn’t have to be a smoking gun, as they say,” she said. “I need some answers.”
“I miss my dad,” Mu’min said. “He didn’t get to see my children grow up. My dad wasn’t perfect, but at the end of the day, he was my dad and he didn’t deserve to die that way.”
Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com