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Revisiting cold case homicides led Isle of Wight County investigators to new information and an arrest in the death of a county native, Lt. Tommy Potter said.

This week, detectives arrested Trabion Tynes, 44, of Surry County and charged him with the 2004 slaying of his father, Johnnie Tynes Sr., 56. The victim’s youngest son Trabion Tynes was 31 at the time was indicted for murder and is being held without bond at Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk.

Trabion Tynes was charged in the murder once before, in February 2008. The charges were dropped in May 2008 after some witnesses were reinterviewed and several others could not be found.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office reviewed two cold case homicides this year Johnnie Tynes’ death and the slaying of Carrie Singer. Both deaths took place in 2004 and had remained unsolved, Potter said.

“When you’re dealing with a cold case, two of your main challenges are time and the availability of witnesses,” Potter said. “Even if you can locate them can they remember what happened?

“It’s not like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s looking for a needle in a hay barn.”

In June 2004, Johnnie Tynes Sr. was found in his bed, bludgeoned to death inside his rural mobile home on Tyler’s Beach Road in the Rushmere area of Isle of Wight County. Tynes, who worked as a cook at Williamsburg’s Chowning’s Tavern, was an Isle of Wight County native.

When interviewed by a Daily Press reporter several days after his father’s death, Trabion Tynes said, “It’s senseless.”

“Senseless. I can deal with his death, but I don’t know if I can deal with his murder.”

Seven days later, Singer, 28, was beaten to death and her body dumped at the edge of a farmer’s field near Morgarts Beach in Smithfield, police said. The cases are not related, police said.

Potter said investigators who worked on the case are still with the sheriff’s office, so detectives were able to draw on their knowledge and memories.

Singer’s case will be showcased in a Discovery Channel show, “Killing Fields,” premiering this October. Sheriff’s office officials said they can’t go into details about the investigation because they will be featured on the cable channel.

While looking at Singer’s case, Potter said they were also able to find new evidence in Johnnie Tynes’ death. Investigators presented new information to an Isle of Wight County grand jury, and got an indictment, according to a news release.

Trabion Tynes was taken into custody at his home on Artis Lane in Surry County on Wednesday.

Potter said investigators worked countless hours on the cold cases this year while still juggling a full load of other criminal cases. The Tynes case is the oldest for which they’ve developed a suspect and made an arrest.

“We’ve probably opened some old wounds for this family, but I hope we’ve provided some closure for the community on this murder,” Potter said. “The cases may’ve been sitting on the shelf, but they’re not cold. We don’t stop investigating.”
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