by Darren Doyle
Crimestoppers and the Kentucky State Police have recently reopened the case of the unsolved murder of Larry Stinson Key that occurred on July 28, 1972 on the north bound exit ramp off of I-65 at the Glendale exit in Hardin County.
Key, who was born in Huff and graduated from Sunfish High School in 1959, was the son of the late Kelly and Lillian Potter Key. His widow, Mrs. Renetta Key Wilson (since remarried) who currently lives in Celina, TX, was raised in the Sunfish community and is the daughter of Edmon and the late Vera Tomes. Mr. Tomes still lives in the area.
Mrs. Wilson told us that Larry was loved by many people in Edmonson County. She also said that he was a talented athlete and had an opportunity to play baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but turned the opportunity down in fear of being separated from Mrs. Wilson, who was Renetta Tomes, his girlfriend at the time.
So what happened? According to the Kentucky State Police Post 4 in Elizabethtown, on Friday, July 28, 1972 at approximately 4pm, Larry Key left his job at the Cave City Truck Stop and drove his blue and white 1967 Ford Convertible north on I65 toward his home in Glendale.
Somewhere around 4:30pm, Larry took the north bound Glendale exit off of I65 and stopped on the ramp. A two tone vehicle occupied by two white males stopped on the ramp behind him. The driver of the two toned vehicle got out of his car and approached the driver's side of Larry's vehicle and fired a shot inside the vehicle. Larry then got out of his car and ran toward I65. The perpetrator then fired a second shot striking Larry, who was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
"Many people from Edmonson County knew Larry Key. He was loved by many," said Mrs. Wilson. She told of how Larry made some wrong moves, got mixed up with the wrong crowd, and ended up the victim of a horrible crime. "He got involved with the sale of illegal drugs when we moved to Hardin County in 1969. He went to work for his brother who ran a Truckstop and the rest is history. His knowledge of the operation cost him his life."
Mrs. Wilson also said that the Key family has been very open and blunt on their Facebook Page about the death and what they've lived through since Larry was murdered. "What we have discovered on our own we can talk about," she added. "What has happened within the last year and ten months, we cannot talk about. It is not a comfortable matter to admit to the world that Larry Key died as a result of bad choices of selling amphetamines to truck drivers. However, it is the truth and perhaps that part of it alone would impact someone enough that they would never get involved in the illicit drug world. His case shows what “can“ happen."
She also said that Larry had been arrested and was going to be state’s evidence and that he was cooperating by giving up all information that he had.
"Admittedly, he made some very bad choices," said Wilson. "However, in hindsight, his boys and I feel that nothing was so egregious that he should have been murdered in cold blood. He was in the process of changing his life, but was at the mercy of those much higher in the chain than he was, including law enforcement officials...When the I-65 interstate opened, it was like the wild, wild west all the way from North to South."
According to KSP Post 4 spokesman Trooper Jeff Gregory, no new developments have been made in the case. "We regularly revisit cold cases and give them to fresh eyes," he said. "We try to recontact witnesses and anyone involved with the case to see if something new can be discovered. The family's attitudes have helped give this case new life."
There is a total of $51,000 in reward money offered for the arrest and conviction of the person/persons responsible for Larry Key’s death. $50K is from Key's sons and $1K is from Crime Stoppers.
Investigators from Post 4 Elizabethtown are asking anyone with information regarding the Murder of Larry Stinson Key to contact Lt. Ezra Stout with the Kentucky State Police Post 4 Elizabethtown, Kentucky at (270) 766-5078 or e-mail him at Ezra.Stout@ky.gov.