Trail To The Truth: David Bell
CRISFIELD, Md. – 24 years ago, a gruesome murder haunted the town of Crisfield, Maryland.
Today, it still lives with the family, who lost their loved one…. without ever getting the chance to say goodbye.
We’re sharing David Bell’s story with hopes that it will spark justice to find the Trail To The Truth.
“My father was such an amazing man, he was so special to so many people. He was a World War II veteran.”
Who was David Bell?
A veteran, a devoted husband, and loving father.
That’s how you could describe David Bell, a man whose life was cut short, after he was brutally murdered.
Now more than 20 years later, the family still searching for the Trail To The Truth with no suspect behind bars.
Why was David in Crisfield?
Crisfield was a place Bell visited often… renovating and renting out homes.
“He fell in love with the area and he wanted to do something for the community and by doing that he wanted to take old houses and turn them into boarding houses,” said Corporal Scott Sears with Maryland State Police.
Cpl. Sears, the detective now working the case says, in 1997 David’s rentals didn’t require a background check… opening up the doors for anyone.
“People that had a past or had substance abuse problems, were on parole, ex-convicts. He didn’t care their color or their history, he just wanted to help them and give them a chance,” said David’s Daughter, Marie Bell.
“I was concerned, we were all concerned about the kind of people he was renting to,” explained Marie. “We would say ‘Dad, are you sure you’re safe?'”
And those concerns grew stronger in February of ’97, when a routine trip to Crisfield turned into silence.
A trip to Crisfield, turns quiet
“It was unlike my father not to respond to phone calls. We called and called. My mother called several times over a two week period. She knew something was wrong,” said Marie.
Desperate for answers… the family reached out to the Crisfield Police Department, begging for someone to check in on him.
“Family members were reaching out to him, what was interesting that his vehicles were parked outside the residence, nobody had heard from him,” said Cpl. Sears.
It was that welfare check on February 25, 1997 that lead to the Bell family’s worst nightmare.
Unlocking the doors and uncovering pain
When police unlocked the door to his rental at 311 Chesapeake Avenue, they finally found him.
“He had been stabbed several times and his throat had been slit,” said Cpl. Sears.
The crime scene
Police described a horrific scene: David was found lying in a pool of his own blood and on top of him, a bloody mattress with a single shoe print.
According to Detective Sears, crime wasn’t unusual for the area but it was rather the nature of this murder that was out of the ordinary.
In fact, it would mark the first homicide in over a decade.
The first homicide in 10 years
“Blood spattered all over the walls and puddles on the floor, a lock of his hair stuck to the floor. It was awful and it was so undeserved. He was such a kind, good person. A hero, a real hero,” cried Marie.
And with limited DNA technology and lack of surveillance cameras, it was a case even bigger than the Crisfield Police Department — later putting it in the hands of the Maryland State Police.
“David didn’t deserve to die in this fashion. It was a brutal murder, and his family was robbed of his life,” explained Cpl. Sears.
Living in memory
To this day, David’s death haunts the family.
Only a name in memory to his grandson Ian, who never got the chance to meet him.
“There’s a part of me that I’ll never know because those are parts of me, those people are part of you,” said Marie’s Son, Ian.
“None of my kids got to grow up knowing him. I always wish they could’ve known him, they were robbed of that opportunity,” said Marie.
“I just feel David was very close to them, they loved him, he was a great man, he was a great father and they can’t get that back. So the next best thing is getting justice for the person who’s responsible for his murder,” said Cpl. Sears.
24 years without justice and still to this day not a single tip has been called in to State Police.
Unanswered questions looming years later
Why was he the target of such a vicious murder?
Did it have anything to do with his rentals?
Where’s the killer today?
“Someone broke into his house and stabbed him to death. We never got to say goodbye. We just want justice because whoever did this likely they’re still out there in the community,” cried Marie.
“I don’t say closure, I don’t think the Bell family is ever going to feel that. The next best thing would be justice for them,” said Cpl. Sears.
“You want it written in stone. That the person who did this, is locked away and they paid for what they did,” explained Ian.
“Our family begs. Please. If anyone has information please come forward so that we can have closure to this… at least knowing justice exists,” cried out Marie.
Justice that could answer one question: Did David’s mission to help others — cost him his life?
Helping others may have been Bell’s death sentence
“So ultimately him giving back, is what took his life?,” I asked.
“That’s right. Isn’t that ironic? It’s like no good deed goes unpunished,” said Marie.
A reward to find his killer
Now the family is offering up a $10,000 dollar reward for the conviction of David’s killer.
It’s also not too late to speak up
If you know anything about David’s murder you’re asked to contact Cpl. Scott Sears with MSP directly — at (443)-783-7230.