Since 1981, the murder of Roy Radabaugh topped the list of unsolved mysteries. Not because the Lee County Sheriff’s Office didn’t know who killed Radabaugh, but because the suspect was nowhere to be found. In 1981 an arrest warrant was issued for the suspect, James Edward Sims, for First Degree Murder. Unfortunately, Sims took his belongings, left his wife and eight-year-old daughter, and disappeared, never to be heard from again.
Simmons found that Sims’ social security number was linked to Sims Underwater Maintenance, an underwater salvage company in Florida that was owned by Sims, and the name Will Beard. A search of Will Beard showed it to be a fictitious name. The address listed for Beard was in Lakewood, CA and linked to Southern California Barge and Crane, an underwater salvage company in Lakewood, CA.
Based on the similar addresses and the same type of business in Florida and California, Simmons believed she had a strong link to James Sims. Simmons obtained the California driver’s license information and photograph for Beard. The pictures, taken in 1997 and 2002, strongly resembled the age progression drawing of Sims produced by America’s Most Wanted.
In order to make a positive identification, Simmons compared a fingerprint card of Sims from his arrest in Lee County in 1977 to a California drivers license obtained by Sims under a fictitious name. Analyst Simmons received confirmation they were in fact one in the same.
Based on the information obtained by Simmons, Detectives flew to California and on Friday, July 2, 2010, at 7:30 am, they observed Sims walking out of his residence. They advised Sims they knew his real name and placed him in custody. Sims stated, “You got me. I won’t give you any trouble.”
Analyst Myra Simmons went beyond the raw data, using her abilities as an investigative analyst to unravel twenty-nine years of deception, and finally brought a killer to justice and a family some closure. With that, the Southwest Florida Police Chiefs Association is proud to present Analyst Myra Simmons with our 2010 Civilian of the Year Award.