Maryville couple's murders unsolved since 1977

Maryville couple's murders unsolved since 1977

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Helen and Maynard Fine (source: Maryville Police Department) Helen and Maynard Fine (source: Maryville Police Department)

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Maryville's oldest cold case is a couple's double homicide. The murders of Maynard and Helen Fine in 1977 are still unsolved.

The couple was found shot to death at their home in the Everett Hills area.

Over the years there have been a lot of theories about what happened, but nothing has brought police enough evidence to make an arrest.

There is only one detective still at the Maryville Police Department who originally worked the case.

Capt. Mike Johnston describes this case as more than cold. He says it's in the freezer because 34 years have gone by and police have nowhere else to go with their investigation.

That investigation began a telephone repairman was asked to go to the Fine home because relatives were unable to reach them by phone. He uncovered the murder scene.

Investigators say the repairman walked by a car outside the house and saw a decomposing body in it so he called police.

Capt. Johnston was a 25-year-old patrolman at the time. "We discovered a body in the backyard that had been there for several days. In the residence, we found a door that was unlocked. We gained entry and found a dead man on the kitchen floor," he said.

That man was Maynard Fine, 67, who had retired from Alcoa.

His wife, Helen, 54, was active in many organizations like the American Cancer Society. They lived alone and both had bullets in the head.

Capt. Johnston says Helen probably tried to escape after Maynard was shot that night. "It appears she may have fled the house and was trying to get away because the key was inserted incorrectly into the ignition as if she was in a hurry to get the car started," he explained.

A neighbor, Betty Daugio, lives across the street and heard the gunshots. "It was during the night and we thought it was firecrackers. Later we found out it was gunshots," she said.

There was no sign of anything being taken in the Fines' home. Whoever came to the house appears to have gone there just to kill them.

The investigation was massive. More than 100 people were questioned, but police got no answers.

The only thing out of the ordinary about the Fines was some misunderstandings they had with family members. "Arguments they had over property, and property some other members thought they may be entitled to," Capt. Johnston said.

However, police were never able to link any evidence at the scene to a suspect.

Over time, the case went cold and neighbors calmed down. "At first no one knew who it would be. And as time went on, we all formed our own conclusions," Daugio said.

As the Fines' house changed owners, there were even people who believed the couple haunted it.

"They would say it was spooky and that sometimes at night they would hear doors open and close," Daugio said.

Although three decades have passed, Daugio says she thinks about it every now and then. "I wish they would find who did it. Sometimes when I'm walking on the sidewalk, I'll wonder if the gun is in the ditch or something," she said.

Capt. Johnston still thinks about it, too. "My hope is that one day some day a vital piece of information will get to someone and they will give a confession," he said.

The captain says this is still the largest investigation being handled by the Maryville Police Department. While a lot of older case files have been moved out of their building to a different location, they keep this case file along with all the others.

Capt. Johnston says as long as people are still alive to remember the case, there's still a chance there could be an answer.

If you have information about the Fine murder case, call Maryville police at 865-273-3700.

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