January 9, 1979
Near Grant, Florida
The bodies of Franklin Schumaker and Patricia Doyle (both 22) are found in their camper at a rest stop
Workers investigated the camper rented by Schumaker (alternatively spelled in more recent reports as Shumaker) and Doyle after becoming suspicious as the vehicle remained parked for an extended period of time. Inside the camper were the bodies of the couple, concealed under cushions.
Schumaker had been shot 6 times with two separate guns: four times in his head, once in his neck, and one in his upper leg. Doyle — whose body was found beneath Schumaker’s — had been strangled with an electrical cord and shot once in the face; either injury would have proved fatal on its own.
Doyle’s body had partially decomposed by the time of its discovery. It was suspected the couple had been killed on January 7 and the cold weather helped to preserve Schumaker’s body; Doyle’s body was shielded from the cold and was subject to a speedier decomposition. Due to the state of her body, Doyle was not identified until January 10.
Doyle had been reported missing on January 9 after she had missed two days of work, which further supported the timeframe for when the couple had been killed. “We became concerned because of her absence and her not calling in,” the personnel director of the hospital where Doyle worked stated. “It was out of character for her.”
Inside the motor home, along with the bodies, were 8 bales of cannabis as well as an unspecified amount of money, described only as a “large amount,” which ruled out robbery as a possible motive. Murder-suicide and sexual assault were ruled out, as well. Additionally, investigators were unsure if the couple had been murdered where the camper was parked or if they were killed elsewhere and driven to the rest stop.
While police have pursued leads over the years, the case officially remains unsolved. Those with information regarding the case are encouraged to call the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321-633-8413 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). Tips may be eligible for a $5,000 reward.
Franklin Raymond Schumaker. Florida, U.S. Death Index, 1877-1998. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7338&h=2076211&tid=&pid=&queryId=9c203d5f998b49dc99b6072ef3204177&usePUB=true&_phsrc=cVQ2&_phstart=successSource
“Unsolved Homicides.” Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. Accessed: January 9, 2021. https://www.brevardsheriff.com/home/commands-services/criminal-investigative-services/homicide-unit/unsolved-homicides/ (image source)
Oakley, Ben. 1979: 365 Days of True Crime, Cold Case Murder, and Serial Killers. Twelvetrees Publishing, 2020
“Help Sheriff’s Investigators Solve Brevard Cold Cases.” Space Coast Daily. December 22, 2014. Accessed: January 9, 2021. https://spacecoastdaily.com/2014/12/help-sheriffs-investigators-solve-brevard-cold-cases/
Sellers, Laurin. “The Victims.” Orlando Sentinel. January 19, 1999. Accessed: January 8, 2021. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1990-01-19-9001193541-story.html
“New Lead Probed in Death.” The Post [Palm Beach, Florida]. March 19, 1982
Miller, Gregory. “Two-year-old murder case still active.” Today [Cocoa, Florida]. February 2, 1981
Reus, Joan. “Solutions Victim of Circumstances.” Today [Cocoa, Florida]. February 11, 1979
Tonyan, Rick and Griggs, Hubert. “Pair may not have been killed at rest stop.” Sentinel Star [Orlando, Florida]. January 12, 1979
Kavesh, Laura. “Robbery ruled out as a motive in murder of 2.” Sentinel Star. January 11, 1979