COLD CASE: Murder Victim Found at his Christiana Home, Relative Calls Funeral Home First and Not the Sheriff's Office

Mar 08, 2021 at 04:11 pm by WGNS

Above Article by Tennessean Reporter Ed Gregory, Jan. 18, 1980

A murder that took place on January 16, 1980 remains unsolved and detectives are trying to figure out who had a motive to kill a recently retired Christiana postmaster.


That was retired Rutherford County Assistant District Attorney J. Paul Newman.

70-Year old Fred Wiggs was found dead at his home - - the same home that he grew up in and lived in his entire life. The house was just two miles away from the post office, where he worked as the assistant postmaster.

Detectives in 1980 reported that Wiggs was brutally beaten with a six-foot iron rod and possibly with a wooden farm implement handle. He was also stabbed twice with an instrument that looked almost like a frog gig.

The first appearance of the crime scene pointed towards robbery, because his pockets were turned inside out. But, perhaps there was more to the murder than met the eye. Evidently, Wiggs wallet was never touched and still had $200 in it when detectives arrived at the home to investigate. 

Wiggs body was found by his brother-in-law John T. Morgan. A 1980 newspaper article showed that Morgan stopped by the home when family were unable to reach Wiggs by phone. Morgan made a phone call from Wiggs house after finding the body, but the call was not to law enforcement.

The Rutherford County Assistant Coroner at the time was Frank Griswald, who called the Sheriff's Office to report that someone called the funeral home to retrieve a body that was found at Wiggs address.

If you have any information that could help solve the 1980 murder case, you are encouraged to call the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office at 615-904-3038. 

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