Person of Interest Named in Eric Gates Cold Case in Walker County
A person of interest has been named in a 2015 cold case in Walker County.
Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett identified James Bryan Harland, 55, of Jefferson County as a person of interest in the murder of 32-year-old Eric Cates in a Facebook post Wednesday.
According to WVUA 23's Chelsea Barton, Harland claims to have been Cates' employer at some point.
Eric Cates and his bulldog Gypsy were found dead and burned inside his S-10 pickup truck behind the old Empire School in Walker County on March 21, 2015.
The case has since gained substantial notoriety and is the subject of a Facebook page with nearly 30,000 followers and a podcast. The case was eventually handed over to state investigators, but no suspects have been charged in the killing in the last six years.
Harland was arrested Wednesday for Felony probation violation warrants. Officers also seized a break-open shotgun and a medium-to-large caliber revolver. The investigation is ongoing, according to a Facebook post by the Sumiton Police Department.
The Thread spoke with a representative from Sumiton Police Department, and they said the department was not ready to make an official statement at this time. However, they did confirm there are still multiple persons of interest that have yet to be named publicly.