Cold case arrest

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, August 13, 2009

Suffolk police have made an arrest in yet another cold-case homicide, charging a Chesapeake man with the 2001 death of Germaine Jones, also known as Germaine Jones McPherson.

Gerard Dunston, 47, was arrested Aug. 7 in Kalamazoo, Mich., and has been charged with homicide and shoot, cut, stab or wound. He is expected to be brought to Suffolk next week.

Jones had been living in Chesapeake with Dunston when she disappeared in May 2001, according to Suffolk spokeswoman Debbie George. The woman’s body was found that November in a wooded portion of Bennett’s Creek Park. A medical examiner determined that she had died of a blunt-force injury to her head.

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Suffolk is handling the case because the body was found here, George said.

“I don’t think there is any reason to believe the homicide occurred here,” she added. “The body was dumped here.”

Dunston had been a suspect during the initial investigation, but police were unable to gather enough evidence to charge him, George said in a press release announcing the arrest.

The investigation was assigned to Detective John Jones (no relation to the victim) in 2003, prior to the formation of the Suffolk Police Department’s Cold Case Unit.

Jones spent portions of the next six years looking into the case and brought the case before a Suffolk grand jury last month.

“Detective Jones is a tenacious crime solver,” said Capt. Stephanie Burch, who commands the department’s Criminal Investigations Section. “We often say around the department, ‘If I were the victim of a crime, Detective Jones is who I would want on my case.’”

His doggedness in pursuing the Jones homicide for six years is a great example of Detective Jones’ commitment to solving crimes, Burch said.

“I don’t think it was any one piece of information or any one piece of evidence” that led gave police the ability to charge Jones, George said. “I honestly believe it was a detective with great attention to detail.”

After working through jurisdictional issues, Jones met with members of the Suffolk commonwealth’s attorney’s office and put together a case to bring before the grand jury.

“As a result of his tenacity over the last six years, he has finally brought justice to this victim and her family,” Burch added. “Detective Jones is a true model of commitment to his chosen profession and to the community.”