Reward increase to help solve double homicide investigation in St. Johns County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax has learned there’s an increased reward for information that leads to an arrest in a double murder investigation in St. Augustine.

In 2016, Action News Jax told you, the body of two men were found shot and stuffed inside of a car that eventually was set on fire.


“The extent in which they were killed is horrific,” said Detective Sam Hall of the Major Crimes Unit at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

November 16th in 2016 just before 1 in the morning, a 911 call came into the county.

The caller told the dispatcher she believed she saw a car on fire behind her apartment complex.

That burning car was at the intersection of Spring street and Fred Waters way.

The St. Augustine police department and the St. Johns County fire rescue responded to the scene where they put out the fire and found two bodies inside.

“They were both shot in the head and they were killed before the vehicle was set on fire,” said Hall, who’s now the lead detective on the case.

He says through DNA the medical examiner was able to identify the men as 26 year old Steffon Larry and 27-year-old Charles Ray Durden.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

“You know, through the course of the investigation, we didn’t really hear anything negative about the guys they’re very likeable people….from the area, had family in town, both of them,” said Hall.

The case has left detectives with unanswered questions over the years.

“Was this planned? Was this a situation where, you know, they were set up? When you think about a car being set on fire, you know, where did the gas come from?” asks Hall.

ORIGINAL STORY: Family hopes bodies found in burnt car in St. Augustine aren’t loved one

Nearly 8 years later Action News Jax Anchor Chandler Morgan went back to the scene of the crime with Detective Hall.

“Why this particular place was chosen I have no idea,” Hall told Chandler.

Hall says hundreds of people have been talked to and interviewed for their investigation.

RELATED: St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office asking for information related to 2016 double murder

Hall admits, a crime as brutal as this doesn’t usually happen in St. Johns County.

“Everyday that goes by, there’s not a day that you know that I don’t think about it as the lead detective on the case.”

Those questions are even more amplified for the families of the victims.

RELATED: Medical examiner: Men in burning car in St. Augustine had been shot

Action News Jax recently spoke with the family of one of the victims who said they still feel the hurt and emptiness of having this case unsolved.

Crimestoppers is now offering a close to $15,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the investigation.

“There may be a piece of information that somebody may not think is all that relevant to the case. But it may be, you know, the missing piece that we’re looking for,” Hall said.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Detectives say there has been a recent spark in the investigation but they couldn’t go into details since it’s still active investigation, even all these years later.

If you have information related to the murders of Charles Durden and Steffon Larry, contact SJSO at crimetips@sjso.org.

A reminder you may be eligible for a cash reward by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article