14 News Exclusive: Cold murder case heats up

Reporter: Jonathan Hardison
New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

A 14 News Exclusive, a cold murder case in Evansville heats up as divers search for new evidence.

Divers from the Evansville Fire Department spent most of Wednesday searching an eastside pond for evidence in the murder case of 23-year-old Benjamin Doyle. Thursday is the sixth anniversary of his death.

Police are refusing to comment on or even confirm what they might have been looking for, much less whether they found it. But 14 News was there Wednesday as divers and detectives searched for something that may lead them to Benjamin Doyle's killer.

Using metal detectors in water with only six inches of visibility, fire department divers had to sift through piles of trash in search of new evidence in a murder that happened just a few hundred feet away.

Lt. Eric Eifert with the Evansville Fire Department says, "You're on your hands and knees crawling through mud. It takes a lot of effort a lot of weight, and you're basically just mushing through a bunch of mud trying to find your object. It's a difficult chore."

The body of 23-year-old Benjamin Doyle was found at the bottom of the stairs in an apartment on September 13, 2001.

What was first though to be an accident soon became a murder investigation when an autopsy revealed Doyle had been hit in the head repeatedly with a blunt object.

Bridget Donnellan the victim's mother says, "I'm numb, I feel nothing and I don't know how to feel. I mean it's been six years. The excitement in the beginning when I thought it would be solved immediately, that feeling is gone and replaced with nothing."

Though she never gave up hope, Doyle's mom says she's been frustrated by the lack of leads over the past six years. She believes several of the people at a party the night of Doyle's death know more than they've told.

Donnellan says, "It was a case of collective amnesia. Everyone was saying that they didn't remember. I'm like, there's just no way these people cannot remember everything."

Doyle's family believes it may be new information from someone at the party that has led police to the pond and possible new evidence, but that's not enough to get the family's hopes up yet.

Donnellan says, "It's like an emotional roller coaster because they tell me something good, and then it's over with. I go up and down up and down. I'll believe it when I see somebody going into the courthouse in cuffs, and see their mothers weep and cry for their absence the way this mother has cried and wept for her son and her offspring. Then, that will be the believing point."

Doyle's mom also says she thinks the sight of divers searching for new evidence may scare whoever committed this crime, and she believes police may be able to make an arrest soon.

If you have any information about the murder of Benjamin Doyle call Evansville Police at 435-6194.