Who shot to death Athens winery owner?

Who shot to death Athens winery owner?

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Patty Striker (source: family) Patty Striker (source: family)
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By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

ATHENS (WATE) – A woman was found shot in the head in April 2000 at an Athens winery, but her murder remains unsolved today.

Patty Striker, 35, was the mother of four children. She ran Strikers' Winery with her husband, Stanley. The couple opened the business about five years before she was murdered.

A decade after Patty's death, investigators say they haven't gathered enough evidence to make an arrest.

Patty's mother, Shelia Derrick, says Patty was a smart, outgoing person. People in the area remember her as the lady at the winery who greeted you with a big smile and a warm conversation.

"She never met a stranger, and she loved everybody," her mother said. "When I heard Patty was dead, my legs went out from under me."

Two winery workers found Patty shot in the main office. Investigators say the cash register was taken and change was strewn all over the floor.

Patty's mother has never believed the case was a robbery. She says ever since Patty married Stanley, 19 years her senior, there were problems.

"He did not want Patty around any of us, her own family," her mother said.

A year after the murder, Patty's oldest son from a previous marriage, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stanley Striker. He accused Stanley of killing Patty or planning her murder.

"She had always told everyone that he was going to kill her," Derrick said.

McMinn County Sheriff's Detective Gary Miller says Stanley had a strong alibi at the time Patty was killed.

"We don't have the information we need to charge the persons that committed this murder," Det. Miller said.

The detective also says officers have continued to work on the case. Billboards have been put up over the years and hundreds of people have been questioned.

Derrick says she has hope her daughter's killer will be arrested, even though her pain will never get better.

"I miss that morning phone call when she would say, 'Good Morning, Mother.' I can still hear it," Derrick said.

Still, she believes, "The Bible says with God, all things are possible."

If you have information on what happened to Patty Striker, call the McMinn County Sheriff's Office at (423) 745-5620.

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