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TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL)-- It is one of the most baffling murder cases in Leon County History. A man on his way to south Florida was found dead in Tallahassee. It has been 17 years and the family of Albert Seaburg still doesn't have any answers.
The sheriff's department has 7 homicide cold cases in Leon County, they are cases that will never be considered closed until they are solved. Albert's murder is one of those cold cases.
71-year-old Uncle Albert was driving from Elmhurst, Illinois to Fort Lauderdale to visit his niece. Albert stopped in the capital city.
It is a stop that proved fatal. "September 4th of 1997 officers responded to the Best Inn Motel off of Graves Road. There they located Mr. Seaburg deceased in his hotel room," said Detective Bill Revell with Violent Crimes Unit at the Leon County Sheriff's office.
Albert was born on March 4th, 1926 in Chicago. His father died in the historic Glidden Factory Explosion in Chicago in 1935. It was his father's death that inspired Albert to become follow in his dad's footsteps and become an engineer.
"He helped design the first nuclear plant in Dresden, Illinois," recalls Albert's family.
Losing his dad also motivated Albert to become a strong family man, treating his nieces and nephews like his own children. " He was our mother’s brother. He didn’t have children of his own and we lost our father very young, so he was like a father to us," said his niece Diane.
So a 19 hour drive to visit his niece Gayle was not out of the ordinary for Uncle Albert. "He was just comfortable getting in his car anytime he wanted to and going on a trip. He liked being on the road and driving."
On this trip in 1997, Albert was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to tie up some financial loose ends after a family member had passed away when he made the stop in Tallahassee.
Diane can still recall the day she got the news. "I was so devastated. It took me over a half an hour to gather myself to drive and go see my mom. I was the one who made the calls to all of the other sisters. Each one of them was just floored, inconsolable. We were that close to him."
Detective Revell said that there were witnesses at the scene. "There was evidence collected but just not enough to substantiate probable cause to make an arrest," he explained.
Detectives with the Leon County Sheriff's Office Violent Crimes Unit initially said it was a botched robbery attempt. At the time they released a sketch of a person of interest.
But 17 years later, there are still no answers. Sheriff's Deputies continue to investigate what happened that September night, but still need help.
"We've exhausted every investigative lead that we've had, thus far that's making it a cold case. I can tell you that we have received information as recent as 2013 that we were able to follow up on. At this time it is still an ongoing investigation," said Detective Revell.
While the family waits for a day that may never come, they still keep Uncle Al's spirit alive.
"We loved him so much. We were all he had. Just us little kids, and his sister, our mom. My mom’s gone now so it’s just us four said Albert's nephew Bob.
Niece Diane added, "I hate the fact that there is nobody else to advocate for him. And all the stuff that he’s done for us in our lifetime, we want to give back in this way."
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