James Norris aka Richard Gunning murdered 45 years ago today


For Immediate Release
October 4, 2019

CROSS CITY, FLA. – Dixie County’s oldest, and one of FDLE’s oldest, unsolved homicides happened 45 years ago today.   The 1974 murder of James Norris, whose body was found in Dixie County, remains an active case with investigators pursuing leads. 

“Someone has the information we need to solve this murder, and it’s never too late to come forward,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tallahassee Special Agent in Charge Mark Perez. “I urge anyone with information to contact FDLE Tallahassee or the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office.” 

“Even after decades, we are actively working this case. We have a great deal of information, and we won’t stop until this case is solved,” said Dixie County Sheriff Dewey H. Hatcher, Sr.  “Just a little information could crack this case.” 

On the morning of October 4, 1974, San Francisco resident James Norris arrived by commercial flight in Miami, Fla.  He was traveling under the alias Richard Gunning. The investigation shows that Norris traveled to Citrus County, Fla. to purchase marijuana from an organization operating in that county. The investigation has uncovered the names of members of that organization.

Norris was carrying a large amount of cash with the intention of purchasing Columbian-grade marijuana that was not at the time available in California.   That afternoon, Norris mailed a postcard to his family from Inglis, Fla. That was the last contact his family had with him. 

On April 16, 1976, a bulldozer operator cutting through the woods off U.S. Highway 19 in northern Dixie County, near the Taylor County line, came upon skeletal remains.

The body remained unidentified until 2011 when advances in DNA allowed the remains of James Norris to be positively identified.  

If you have information about the murder of James Norris, please contact the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office at 352-498-1245 or FDLE Tallahassee at (800) 342-0820.

The Norris family has established a website,, which describes the family’s long search for their loved one.

For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Jessica Cary or Jeremy Burns
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

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