John E. Ray was killed May 16, 2004, in his home by someone police believe he met on a gay dating website. Now the Atlanta Police Department's Complex Cold Case Unit is investigating the slaying, hoping to find clues or information to lead them to the man who beat, stabbed and robbed the paralegal and Air Force veteran.
“I want to know if there are people that contacted John Ray via the Internet and participated in these online dating sites that may have had the same kinds of problems,” Detective David Quinn told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I think that the person that preyed on John Ray online was not gay,” Quinn told the AJC. “They came here specifically to target John Ray for robbery.”
Atlanta police seek help to solve ‘cold case’ murder of gay man
Ray was stabbed and left lying face-down with a knife blade in his chest. Police said the killer stole items including a television and Ray’s car, but took care to shower at Ray’s house on Browns Mill Road and wipe away all finger prints with bleach before leaving, according to the AJC.
Police narrowly missed a chance to gain information in the case the next day, when someone driving Ray’s car ran a stop sign, then hit a utility pole. The driver ran from the scene and was not apprehended.
His family told the AJC that Ray, 32 at the time of his death, was a kind man known for helping others, including working at a nonprofit legal group that helped poor people.
“It was definitely a shock,” Jonique Brown, Ray’s sister, told the AJC. “We thought that whoever did this had to be either crazy or in desperate need of something. But John would’ve given them the shirt off his back.”
Anyone with information should call the Atlanta Police at 404-245-8039 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477. Anonymous tips are accepted and there is a reward if the tip leads to an arrest and indictment.