Danville Police Hope to Bring Justice to Family in 17-year-old Cold Case

Danville, VA - The Danville Police Department has gotten a big break in a 17-year-old homicide cold case.

Michael Womack was indicted in connection with the murder of his mother Lorraine "Bessie" Womack back in 1996.

Danville Police said that when they started investigating the case years ago, they focused heavily on the son. Now, they said they're just glad they can maybe bring justice to the victim and her family.

"She was found dead, I was shocked," said a neighbor back in 1996 at the crime scene.

Neighbors couldn't figure out who would commit the crime and why.

"I don't see why nobody would do anything to her like that because she don't open her door for nobody," said another neighbor.

At the time, police said Womack's son, Michael Womack, told them he found his mother dead in her recliner at 7 a.m.

"Who wouldn't be upset to come and find a mother beat to death," said another neighbor at the crime scene.

Now 17 years later, the upset son stepping out of the crime scene has now been charged with the first degree murder of his mother.

"We do not quit working on a homicide case ever," said Captain Dennis Haley, Danville Police Department.

Danville Police said Womack died by blunt force trauma. Police said they suspected her son from the start, but wouldn't reveal what finally helped turn the tide all these years later.

"The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office working with us very closely on this and we are able to determine what they needed to have they believe a successful prosecution," said captain Haley.

"She did not have to have this happen to her," said a neighbor at the crime scene. "She didn't bother a soul, in church all the time."

"Any time we can bring justice to the family and to the victim, it makes us feel good," said Captain Haley. "We know that we've done our job, and we feel that we owe that to a victim. We will not quit working on a case."

Michael Womack was already behind bars for a robbery that took place just three weeks after his mother's death. He has since been moved from Red Onion state prison to the Danville City Jail. His trial date has not yet been set.