St. Johns County

Renewed Hope: St. Augustine family seeks answers in brutal double murder cold case

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The family of a man brutally shot and killed in St. Johns County is sharing their continued hope for answers in a double murder case involving their son. Action News Jax has been following this case for years.


In 2016, the bodies of Steffon Larry, 26, and Charles Ray Durden, 27, were discovered inside a burning car in West Augustine. Nearly 8 years later, Action News Jax revisited the scene with the lead detective, highlighting the increased reward now offered for information leading to an arrest.

Action News Jax anchor Chandler Morgan recently sat down with the family of Charles Durden on what would have been his 36th birthday at the beginning of April.

Annette Durden, Charles’s mother, reflected on what would have been her son’s birthday: “I miss my baby every day. He’d have been 36 years old today.”

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

Annette and Frankie Durden, sisters, share a grief that never fades. Annette vividly recalls the night 8 years ago when investigators discovered her son’s body in the burning car alongside Steffon Larry, shot to death.

“That’s the last image I have of my son,” Annette said. “It’s just his skeleton body, and I don’t wish that on any parent, mother or father, brothers or sisters.”

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

Despite years passing, the case remains unsolved. Detective Sam Hall of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit is now the lead detective on the case.

He shared there are challenges posed by fire damage in preserving evidence.

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

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

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

Those questions are even more amplified for the families of the victims but hope flickers with Det. Hall’s renewed commitment to the case.

Annette recounted the time Hall visited her at her home to introduce himself now that the case was in his hands.

“He said, ‘When this case came across my desk, I’d seen the name Charles Durden. I remember that name.’ He told me, ‘I’m looking you in your face, and as a parent, I’m letting you know. I’m not going to rest until I get closure for you and your family,” said Annette. “Detective Hall gave me hope again.”

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

The family clings to memories of Charles, captured in photographs and cherished moments, yet, the pain lingers, compounded by the absence of closure.

Detectives confirmed there’s been a recent spark in the investigation but didn’t go into details due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of nearly $15,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Both Action News Jax and the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office tried to reach the family of Steffon Larry but haven’t been able to successfully connect with them.

Action News Jax continues to follow this developing story. Stay tuned for updates on our website and social media platforms.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

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