The following tasks are priorities for a citizen investigation of Lemme's death:
- Talk to the Valdosta Police Department or Leon County Sheriff's Office about...
- Phone records validating Ray Lemme's alleged call to Bob Clift from a highway payphone (DONE)
- Credit card records for Ray Lemme that would verify if/when he booked a motel room
- Who they talked to at the Florida Department of Transportation that convinced them to re-close the case in late 2004
- Contact motel employees about what happened
- Sabita Villait, who was running the motel and found Lemme hadn't checked out
- A motel employee who allegedly cleaned up the Ray Lemme death scene. They've posted on Reddit under multiple usernames: JimmyGroove, UnacceptablyNegro, and ANegroNamedBreaker. Some of their posts include: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 They also seem to have conducted a complete AMA under the name BloodInValdosta, in which they give out their real name as James Holt. (DONE, reinterview)
- The roomate/friend of James Holt (is it Tyler J. Sable?)
- Nand Villait, manager of the motel and husband of Sabita Villait
- Look into the 1993 Medicare fraud investigation article. It's been alleged that HRS secretary Towey made Lemme quash an investigation into a Medicare fraud scheme involving Jeb Bush, as Bush was previously involved with a fraudulent HMO and he and Towey later became close friends.
- Determine whether there was any evidence of water in the bathtub where Lemme was found. If there wasn't, Lemme's alleged suicide method is even more questionable.
I asked the Leon County Sheriff's Office about Ray Lemme, and they sent me the incident report which said:
I later had dispatch to use the TAC Center to map the 997-3845 number and had it come back to a "Pay Fast Track" on US 19. This was a pay phone and the call was made at 0619 hrs.
The fact that the LCSO corrected the time of the call that Bob Clift gave (he said 6:20 AM) implies that they did look at phone records.
Why did Lemme end up in Valdosta?
One of the major problems with the suicide theory is the question of why Lemme ended up in Valdosta GA. There was no apparent reason for him to drive all the way there from Tallahassee and commit suicide. If Lemme was murdered, as the evidence appears to show, it still begs the question of why he was in Valdosta. One possibility is that Lemme was murdered in Florida and transported to the nearby Valdosta, where under Georgia law, Lemme wouldn't have a mandatory autopsy. Another is that Lemme was lured to Valdosta as a part of his investigation and murdered there. John Caylor published an article about a politically-connected immigrant trafficking operation near Valdosta that was connected to Lemme's inquiry through its furnishment of Yang Enterprises employee Henry Nee with a fake Social Security number. And there might also be connections to the investigation of Danny Casolaro, a case eerily similar to Lemme's.
Who is "Palmer"?
Sgt. Eugene Bell recorded several witness statements from motel guests. In one paragraph, Michael Davis is initially mentioned, but then it suddenly refers to "Palmer", who identified Lemme's car as having been there since 3:30 PM on "Sunday (June 30, 2003)". Palmer was never introduced beforehand, so his sudden appearance in a paragraph talking about Michael Davis is very strange. It suggests that this section of the police report was edited for some reason. It turns out that Wendell Palmer was the name of one of Lemme's colleagues in the FDOT IG office.
Danny Casolaro connection
The case of Danny Casolaro is eerily similar to Ray Lemme's. Both were investigating software written by a government contractor which involved espionage backdoors, and both announced that they were close to breaking their case before ending up dead in a motel of apparent suicide by cutting themselves. A BradBlog comment noted that a marketer of the stolen Inslaw software was involved with Alltel, a technology company in Valdosta swimming in government contracts. And Eugene Bell, a Valdosta police officer (related to Sgt. Eugene Bell?), worked for Alltel from 1998 to 2000.
Here are confirmations of Alltel's connection to Valdosta:
- Forum post by an Alltel corporate office employee mentioning being sent to regional area in Valdosta
June 30 morning route
Here are Ray Lemme's morning activities based on the affidavits of his wife and boss: At 5:15 AM on June 30, Lemme kissed his wife goodbye and got in his car. He called Bob Clift at 6:19 AM from a Jefferson County FL payphone at the intersection of Highway 19 and Interstate 10. This implies that he was heading to Valdosta, since he went from the Tallahassee suburbs to Jefferson County, which is on the way to Valdosta. But the route itself is strange, for a couple reasons.
The distance from the payphone to the Valdosta motel is 48.3 miles. Following the 6:19 AM call, Lemme appears to check into the motel around 6:54 AM. This 34-minute timeframe to travel 48.3 miles is nearly impossible. This has already been noted in the article.
But it's also instructive to look at the distance from Lemme's house to the payphone. The longest route revealed by Google Maps is 30.1 miles. If Lemme took the time from 5:15 AM to 6:19 AM just to travel that far, he'd be going an average of 28 MPH at most. Maintaining such a low average speed is also highly implausible.
Lemme's morning route seems to defy logic. On the shorter part of his route (home to payphone), he takes significantly more time than the longer part (payphone to motel). Lemme travels at an incredibly slow speed on this shorter part, which he makes up for by significantly speeding on the latter part.
Det. Floyd's crime scene report and Det. Bell's witness both contain strange errors. Floyd's report conflicts with the photos she took on numerous aspects: whether Lemme's body had signs of foul play, the presence of blood on the towel, how the belt was placed on the towel, and the presence of a water bottle and coffee cup. Bell's report suddenly mentions "Palmer" in a paragraph about Michael Davis without any introduction, and refers to the date "Sunday (June 30, 2003)" (when Sunday was the 29th).
Attributing this solely to sloppiness is difficult, especially in Floyd's case when she was the one who took the photos. It appears that both reports ended up with errors in order to cover up important information. The question is whether Floyd and Bell wrote this erroneous information, or somebody else edited their reports after the fact.