James Weston Chambers was a loving husband, and a dedicated social worker living in Amlin, OH with his wife in 1984.
Earlier in the year, James lost his job as a social worker when his position was phased out. James traveled down to Florida at the end of July 1984 to search for a new job. According to his wife, Sylvia, the couple loved Florida and were hoping to move there as soon as James found a job. James traveled to Tampa, FL on July 29, 1984 and stayed with friends for a couple of weeks while he began his search for a job.
James last spoke with his wife on the morning of August 10, 1984.
James and his wife reportedly discussed his plans for the day, which included visiting friends in Naples, FL and their plan to meet in Tampa on August 15. Sadly, Sylvia would never see James again.
On August 10, 1984, James is known to have traveled from Tampa to Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, and Naples. James was last officially seen at a restaurant and bar in Naples called Witches’ Brew Restaurant and Lounge. A bartender later reported to investigators that he remembered seeing James at 10:30 pm, but could not recall what time he left.
Around 11:30 pm that evening, James was driving northbound on I-75.
James, for an unknown reason, pulled over into the emergency lane of the interstate and stopped his car. Some time between 11:30 pm and midnight, someone approached James’ car and shot him several times.
The following morning, a Lee County sheriff’s deputy on a routine patrol stopped to offer James support when he saw his car, a late-model white Honda Accord, stopped on the side of the road. Inside the car, the deputy found James lying across the front seat; he had been shot four times in the head and chest. Investigators say that after James had been shot, his wallet was stolen from his pocket. Within two to three miles of where his car was discovered, this wallet and additional forms of identification were discovered on the shoulder of I-75.
Where the case stands today.
After James’ death, authorities investigated two men, Richard Hance Jr. and Robert Mach, who were released from the Hendry County jail the day prior to James’ death. The two men allegedly ransacked several homes in Hendry County, FL while posing as Drug Enforcement Agency investigators. The men were known to have previously used blue flashing police lights inside their cars to stop vehicles.
In 2007, after a tip was sent in to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating known serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, as a suspect in James’ murder. Wuornos, who is known to have been responsible for murdering at least 7 men in Florida, was executed in October of 2002. Their investigation concluded that Aileen had not been responsible for James’ death.
James’ case remains unsolved more than 37 years later, with no answers as to who killed him or why he was killed. If you have any information, please contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS (8477).