UPDATE 5/3/12 @ 5:00 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's long been an unsolved murder. Beverly Simley was shot and killed while leaving work at the Birdhouse Cafe and Lounge on Charleston's west side. That was September 2010, but it wasn't until Thursday that a suspect was named.
That suspect is a familiar name for many in the area: Ethan Chic Colbert.
During a bond hearing in another case Thursday, Kanawha County Prosecutors made it official, naming Colbert as a suspect in Simley's murder.
For those who knew and worked with Simley, the news is bittersweet.
"You pretty much figure nothing is going to happen," Sam Dickinson said. "You figure it's probably over. But, when I heard the news, I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or what to do."
Several of the people at the Bar tell WSAZ.com they're familiar with Colbert. They say he has a child with Beverly's daughter, Patricia. They also say the two were in several physical fights.
A situation, according to prosecutors, at least once ended with Colbert's arrest.
"While still on parole, [Colbert] was charged with domestic battery on Patricia Simley," Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Holstein said in court.
Now, with a suspect being named, Simley's friends say they may finally be able to move forward.
"I think it will give you closure," Dickinson said. "You'll be able to let her go, and be able to have good memories instead of bad."
“It just doesn't seem real. It seems very surreal. Then you realize she's not coming back and you don't see her anymore. It's tough,” Judith Judy, Simley’s neighbor, said.
Police say Simley was leaving work the morning of Sept. 7, 2010 when someone fired several shots at her and her car. The biggest question still unanswered is “why?”
“It's very difficult because she didn't have any known enemies,” Charleston Police Sgt. Bobby Eggleton said. “Most of the time when a homicide occurs, there's usually a reason.”
After a year of investigating, police do have a person of interest. They've been following a man who recently was arrested in Delaware. Now it's just a matter of waiting for test results from the CSI to see if there's a match between him and the gun used to kill Simley.
Police on Tuesday released that information to her brother.
“He seemed to be doing OK. Of course, it's hard to lose a family member, and she was a well-liked person,” Eggleton said. “Her brother said her father and her used to eat dinner or breakfast together every Sunday.”
As time keeps passing by, Judy continues urging Simley's family not to give up.
“I told one of them once, I said ‘Keep going in and keep asking because the squeaky wheel gets taken care of,’ " Judy said.
Police aren't releasing the person of interest's name or why he was arrested in Delaware.
They're still waiting for ballistic results to see if he is the man who pulled the trigger.
“I had my birthday party in there. It's a real nice little spot,” Tominka Edwards, a Charleston resident, said.
Some describe the Bird House Café and Lounge as a bar with few problems, but early Tuesday morning it became a crime scene.
“They just took a mother from her kids,” Cassandra Boxley, a friend of the victim, said.
Mother is one of many titles for 48-year-old Beverly Simley. Police say she was found dead in her car from at least one gunshot wound. The car was parked outside the bar, where friends say she made her living.
“She worked her hours, put her shift in, paid her taxes and someone wanna do her like this,” Edwards said.
“Hard workin' woman. Loving, caring, give you anything in the world type of person. She just didn't deserve this,” Angela Gray, another friend of Simley, said.
This makes the twelfth homicide in Charleston just this year. Residents say police cars light up the city far too often these days.
“Too many people dying; innocent people, you know. So we gotta get a grip on the community, our kids and residents. It could have been anybody,” Edwards said.
“I'm tired of it. This is just too much. It's like it's not gonna stop. It's getting out of control,” Gray said.
There’s still no word on any suspects in this shooting, but detectives are looking at any and all leads.
If you have any information, call the police at (304) 348-6480.
Charleston Police tell WSAZ.com that Beverly Ann Simley, 48, of Charleston was found shot in her vehicle early Tuesday morning.
According to the press release, Simley was shot at least one time and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Criminal Investigation Division is currently pursuing all leads.
If you have any information regarding the shooting please contact the Criminal Investigation Division at 304-348-6480.
Police on the scene confirm a woman was found dead.
The shooting was reported about 4:40 Tuesday morning.
There's no word on whether there are other victims, or if police have arrested a suspect.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for more information.
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