The infamous killers hanged for the murders of a Kansas family may have also been responsible for the deaths of another family in Florida.
The Herald Tribune reports investigators are probing the possibility that the killers, who were the inspiration for Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," brutally murdered the Walker family of Osprey, Fla. in 1959. Perry Smith and Richard Hickock were convicted of killing the Clutter family in Kansas that same year.
Detectives are writing a legal brief asking a judge to allow them to exhume the bodies of Smith and Hickock to see if they can match their DNA with evidence collected in the Walker killings.
On Dec. 19, 1959, the Walkers went shopping for a car in Sarasota. Cliff Walker wanted a 1956 Chevrolet, the same model driven by Smith and Hickock, who were on the run in Florida at the time, in desperate need of money.
In the two days leading up to the Walker murders, the killers were spotted at least 12 times in the state.
The same day the Walkers went shopping for a new vehicle, Cliff was shot as he went into the family's house. Christine was punched, raped and shot twice in the head. Three-year-old Jimmie was shot three times in the head. Two-year-old Debbie was shot once and drowned in a bathtub, according to the Herald Tribune.
ABC News reports that Smith recalled reading about the murders in the Miami Herald.
"Know what I wouldn't be surprised? If this wasn't done by a lunatic. Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas," Smith told Hickock in an exchange Capote recounted in his book. The men never confessed to the murders, but were briefly considered suspects. They passed lie detector tests and a print found on a faucet in the Walker's home didn't match either man.
However, the lie detector test used on the two killers has since been proven worthless,
Moreover, Detective Kim McGath, who is the lead investigator on the Walker case, told the Herald Tribune that the print, originally thought to be a fingerprint, might have actually been a palm print, which could explain why it didn't match Smith or Hickock.
Even if the judge grants the request to exhume the bodies, investigators may not be able to get DNA from the murderers' bones.
"It's absolutely possible," McGath told ABC. "It depends on all kind of circumstances. The soil conditions, the weather, what type of casket it is in. We will have no idea until we get out there."
Eleven days after the deaths of the Walker family, on Dec. 30, Hickock and Smith were arrested for the killings of Herbert Clutter and his wife, Bonnie Mae Fox, along with their children, 15-year-old Kenyon and 16-year-old Nancy, according to the Daily Mail.
They were found gagged and tied and had been fired on with a shotgun from close range.