Hindenburg investigator's death unsolved

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Local,Kaitlin Schluter

On a night usually marked for beginnings, South Trimble Jr. met an unlikely end on the way home from a New Year's Eve service at a Catholic church on Dec. 31, 1974.

The 78-year-old dropped off his wife at the front of their Northwest apartment before parking the car in the basement garage. The couple lived on the 3000 block of Tilden Street NW. As soon as Trimble left the car, he was fatally shot once in the chest in what police say was an apartment robbery attempt.

Trimble was a lawyer in Washington who is known for his involvement with the Senate Commerce Committee's investigation of the zeppelin Hindenburg crash of 1937. Police are still looking for information regarding the murder three decades later.

His wife, Elaine Trimble, heard the gunshot and reported seeing a man dressed in white running from their apartment. Trimble was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival.

According to Capt. Michael Farrish, who oversees the cold-case division, Trimble's case is not under active investigation.

"The problem we have when you get these cases that are getting back into the '70s and earlier, you're getting a handful of dust," Farrish said.

But even if there is not much information, the case is still open.

"We don't close a case unless we can charge someone with it," said Farrish, adding that the branch has a number of cold cases.

The police are offering a $25,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the homicide of Trimble. Those with information are asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department's Command Information Center at 202-727-9099 or e-mail unsolved.murder@dc.gov.

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