February 27, 2023 | By: Malorie Aldrich

This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida, Applied Journalism class.

Edwinia Freeman’s happiest memories of her aunt, Verdell Grice Albert, was after Edwinia and her family moved back from the Virgin Islands in 1992. She was able to spend a lot of time with her beloved Aunt, Verdell.

She took us shopping at the Goodwill in Tallahassee and gave us each a dollar to spend,” Freeman remembered. “Aunt Verdell did that so she could teach us the importance of a dollar, you could get a lot more with a dollar then, than you can now.”

“My mom was a hardworking person,” her son, Michael Albert, remembered. “It wouldn’t matter what type of job it was: It could be a secretary in an office or flipping burgers at a Burger King.”

A year after that happy memory, Albert went missing, disappearing from a grocery store parking lot in Tallahassee. Three months later, her remains were found under a sheet in a shallow grave in the woods off L.L. Wallace Road in Leon County.

While police had a suspect, evidence was lost while it was transported to Tallahassee. Which led the case to go cold.

But to Albert’s family, the case never went cold.

Albert’s sisters still hope to maybe one day bring their sister’s murderer to justice.

At the time of her death, Albert was a recently divorced single mom, one who — during her marriage — would always find a job wherever the military sent her husband.

Verdell was also a very family-oriented person, coming from a family with seven children.

“She would act a second mom to my sisters and I and we would celebrate our birthdays together,” said her sister Nita Grice.

That continued as she got older.

“Aunt Verdell had such a big heart, and she was the fun aunt, she would take us kids to the movies just to spend time with us,” Freeman said.

Albert passed that trait on to her son.

Now that he has a daughter of his own, he wants his little girl to know all about her grandmother and who she was — as a person, not as the victim of a terrible crime. The family is helping with that, writing letters with pictures and stories about Albert.

“My mom will never get to meet her granddaughter,” Michael Albert said, “but I want my daughter to know who her grandmother was besides what I tell her.”

Verdell was always there for her family, and she is still very much loved.

If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Verdell Grice Albert, please call the Leon County Sheriff’s Office at (850)606-3300. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a reward, call Big Bend Crime Stoppers at (850)574-TIPS.

Please consider using the buttons below to share this case in hopes that someone, somewhere will come forward and give this victim and family the answers they need and the justice they deserve.

If you have a loved one that is the victim of an unsolved homicide, please submit their case here for consideration in a future Cold Case Spotlight post.

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