Investigators: New leads in 1998 cold case homicide; $24,000 reward still available

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — Investigators say they have developed new leads in the 1998 cold case homicide of Michael Bell.

Michael Bell


Bell was a clerk at the McKee’s Stateline Convenience Store when he was shot and killed while at work on July 23, 1998. The store is located on Highway 1255 between Middleton, Tenn., and Walnut, Miss.

During a joint news conference Wednesday morning at the Hardeman County Justice Complex, authorities said there were able to enhance the original surveillance video and get a clearer image of the perpetrator.

Images enhanced May 2018 in the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Virginia



The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, FBI and the 25th District Attorney General announced a $24,000 reward in March 2017 for information that directly assists law enforcement in the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Bell’s death. They said Wednesday that the reward is still available.

An unknown individual shot and killed Bell, then left the store in a 1990s General Motors sedan and drove toward Walnut, Miss., the TBI has previously said.

Michael Bell


The TBI has previously said the robbery does not appear to have been the motive of the shooting and that Bell instead was the target of a coordinated murder.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee D. Michael Dunavant, Special Agent in Charge with the Memphis Field Office of the FBI M.A. Myers, 25th Judicial District Attorney General Mark Davidson and the TBI made the joint announcement Wednesday.

Anyone with information in the case can contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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