Today is a symbolic, yet very sad day for Ruby Crawford Fuller. Her younger brother, Doug Crawford would have celebrated his 61st birthday today if his life had not been cut short seven years ago. Doug was 54 years old when he was murdered in a violent manner.
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011, Clay County dispatchers received a call in the early morning of a fire at a mobile home off Mack Crawford Road in Ashland. The homeowner was having work done on the front porch, and workers arrived that morning to find a fire. When the workers looked through the window, they said they saw someone inside, who appeared unresponsive.
Once authorities arrived and the fire was extinguished, the body of 54-year-old James Douglas Crawford, was found in the living room. It was soon discovered in addition to being burned, Doug also had a bullet wound, most likely occurring before the fire started. It is unknown what the actual cause of death was, whether it was the bullet wound, the smoke inhalation, or a combination of both, but his murder has never been solved.
Ruby and siblings have done everything in their power to find the person(s) responsible for their brother’s murder over the course of the past seven years. They have kept in close contact with the authorities throughout the years as to how the investigation has been going. Ruby can tell you every piece of information released to them involving the case.
Sheriff Latham reported that this was still a very active case, and as in any case, as time passes, investigative matters become a more difficult task. But nonetheless, Sheriff Ray Latham still presses on trying to solve Doug’s murder and give this family closure.
Through the combined efforts of the Crawford family, the state of Alabama, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, a substantial reward of $25,000 is still being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Doug’s death. The Crawford family is hopeful that this reward will help keep the case from going too cold.
The lack of closure has been very hard for Ruby. Doug was part of a family of seven children, and now there are only four of them are left. Ruby stated that she and Doug used to be very close,” He drove all the way across the United States to give me away at my wedding, but time had separated us”, says Ruby, “I think about him every single day.”
The Crawford family tries not to get discouraged about the length of time that has passed with no answers. “It was hard enough having to bury our mother without her being able to know who was responsible. We know whoever did this will eventually have to pay for it, whether it be in this world or not, but we wanted to see them pay for it while still here on Earth.”
If anyone has any information on this crime, please contact the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, 256-354-2176. You can also visit their website, www.clayso.net and submit an anonymous tip.