Cold Cases

Authorities Seek Info in One of Florida's Oldest Unsolved Killings

James Norris arrived in Miami on Oct. 4, 1974, the last day his family heard from him

Norris Family

When James Norris stepped off a plane at Miami International Airport on Oct. 4, 1974, he had no idea it would be the last day of his life.

Now, 47 years to the likely date of Norris' killing, Florida authorities are renewing their hopes that someone with information related to one of the Sunshine State's oldest unsolved murders will come forward.

Norris, a 24-year-old resident of San Francisco, had arrived in Miami on a commercial flight carrying a large amount of cash.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said Norris was traveling under the alias Richard Gunning and was in Florida to purchase Colombian-grade marijuana that at the time was not available in California.

After arriving in Miami, Norris traveled to Citrus County to buy the marijuana from an organization that was operating out of that county.

That same afternoon, Norris mailed his family a postcard from Inglis, along Florida's Gulf Coast about 75 miles north of Tampa. It was the last contact Norris' family had with him.

A year-and-a-half later, on April 16, 1976, a bulldozer operator cutting through the woods off U.S. Highway 19 in northern Dixie County, near the Taylor County line, came upon skeletal remains.

It wasn't until 2011 when advances in DNA allowed the remains found to be identified as Norris.

Investigators believe someone in Miami, Panama City or Citrus County may have information that can help them solve the case.

Anyone with information is asked to call FDLE Tallahassee at 800-342-0820.

Contact Us