HEMET (CBS) — The investigation into a Navy sailor’s cold case rape and murder in South Carolina has come to Hemet, and police said the man’s belt buckles may implicate him in a gruesome slaying, it was reported Sunday.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that Hemet police, acting on behalf of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, served a search warrant on Sunstone Avenue in May. They reportedly sought evidence at the residence of Orval Douglas Emery, 40, one of four people now charged in the 1992 death of Navy Serviceman James Horton in Charleston, S.C.

Emery, an engineman on the USS Exultant, was taken into custody in Hemet last year and extradited to South Carolina to face charges in state court.

The cold case starts with a report filed in South Carolina on Nov. 5, 1992, when Horton was reported missing from the ship. Two weeks later, his body was found in a ditch on the side of the road near a gas station outside Charleston, the Press-Enterprise reported.

After being beaten and sodomized, Horton was shot in the chest while his hands were tied behind his back.

A cowboy buckle was missing from his belt, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Investigators believe Horton was killed after telling several people he had seen two male sailors having sex. According to the warrant, at least one of the men, Vincent Solheim, threatened to kill Horton if he told commanding officers or spread rumors that he was gay.

The NCIS reopened the cold case in 2009. In July 2010, two people involved confessed to NCIS investigators, and said Horton was kidnapped, taken to a mobile home and tied up. Emery and the two other men took turns raping Horton, according to the warrant.

The three men allegedly beat Horton with a baseball bat, put him in a car trunk and drove him to a rural area, where they shot him and dumped his body, according to the warrant.

During the search, authorities reportedly seized five belt buckles, a photo album and a shoebox containing letters. Authorities did not say this week if the evidence had been analyzed or if a match was found.

Emery and the others are awaiting trial in South Carolina on murder charges.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (3)
  1. Jack Dempsey says:

    Mr Emery has been excluded by DNA testing by NCIS. He is out on 50k bond and able to travel through out the country. It doesn’t seem the state of SC thinks too highly of his guilt or NCIS. Maybe the reporter of this article needs to file a Freedom Of Information Act with the court and find the notes on his bond hearing.

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