- The Current
- Anna Maria Tremonti interviews producer David Ridgen about the case.
MISSISSIPPI COLD CASE
Repeating Sunday February 18 at 8 pm ET on CBC Newsworld
It is a 43-year-old murder case that had never been solved. In May of 1964, Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee were brutally tortured and murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. When CBC documentary filmmaker David Ridgen joined forces with Thomas James Moore to help him investigate his brother's murder, it helped crack a cold case that had largely been forgotten.
Mississippi Cold Case is the story of one man's journey to confront the Klansmen who murdered his brother and his friend and to seek justice long denied. The documentary's role in the recent charges against the accused has ignited World-wide media attention including stories on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBS Radio, NPR, The Guardian, The Independent, the Associated Press, Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star and The New York Times.
While hitchhiking in Meadville, Mississippi on May 2, 1964, Moore and Dee were abducted by Klansmen, interrogated, tortured and driven to Louisiana, where they were chained to a Jeep motor and railway ties and dropped alive into the Mississippi River. Their bodies were discovered on July 12th, 1964 during the search for Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, the three civil rights workers who disappeared June 21st in the "Mississippi Burning" case made famous by the 1988 film. When it was discovered that the bodies were those of two black men and not those of the white civil rights workers, media interest in the case evaporated.
In July 2004, Ridgen stumbled across the case while watching a 16mm film made by the CBC's Beryl Fox in 1964 Mississippi. The film revealed that the case of Dee and Moore, not identified by name, was "noted and forgotten" at the time. After finding out the identities of Dee and Moore and learning that they were likely killed by the same Klan group as the Mississippi Burning victims, Ridgen decided to make a film about their forgotten case. For eleven months, Ridgen searched for siblings of Moore and Dee around the United States, finally finding Thomas Moore, Charle's Moore's only brother, in Colorado Springs. Ridgen approached Moore with a proposal to travel back to Mississippi to make a documentary about the tragic case. Moore agreed, and the pair would work closely together over seven powerful and emotional journeys together for the next twenty months.
The production of Mississippi Cold Case has been credited with causing federal officials to re-open their investigation into the case, which was recently propelled all the way to a Grand Jury. More than four decades later, suspect James Ford Seale "formerly believed to be dead by the outside world" but discovered by Ridgen and Moore to be alive, has been charged with kidnapping and a trial date has been set. One of Seale's Klan accomplices, Charles Marcus Edwards, is believed to be cooperating with authorities. Both men were confronted by Thomas Moore during the production of Mississippi Cold Case.
Mississippi Cold Case is directed and produced by David Ridgen of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.