Family and friends mark 25th anniversary of Charlotte woman’s unsolved killing

Gathering Marking 25th Anniversary of Kim Thomas Death

A gathering at Freedom Park marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Kim Thomas on Saturday, July 25, 2015.
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A gathering at Freedom Park marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Kim Thomas on Saturday, July 25, 2015.

It’s been 25 years since her sister, Kim Thomas, was killed in her Cotswold home, but Lynn Thomas said she’s never given up hope the killer will be arrested.

“It’s part of being a Thomas,” Lynn Thomas told the Observer at Freedom Park on Saturday, where she marked the anniversary with friends of her sister, and police investigating the death. “You don’t give up. It’s just not an option. Somebody said to me, ‘Is this going to put you in any kind of danger?’ If it did, so what? I’ll handle it. I’m not going to shrink away.”

Kim Thomas died on July 27, 1990, stabbed more than 20 times. She was 32. Her son, Elliot, was 10 months old and in his crib. He was unharmed. It’s one of Charlotte’s most high-profile unsolved murders.

Thomas’ husband, kidney surgeon Dr. Ed Friedland, who now lives in Florida, was charged in 1994 with the killing. Police contended Friedland killed Thomas as a way out of their marriage, but the charge was later dismissed because of insufficient evidence.

Marion Anthony Gales, who did yard work for Thomas, was another suspect. He denied that he committed the crime. Police never charged him.

But Friedland filed a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court against Gales, alleging that Gales had killed his wife. A jury in 1997 agreed and ordered Gales to pay Friedland $8.6 million.

Gales is in prison for voluntary manslaughter in the death of LaCoya Monique Martin, whose shirtless body was found face down beside a house on Oaklawn Avenue in Charlotte on April 6, 2008. He will remain behind bars until 2025.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Cold Case Unit is investigating Thomas’ death. Lynn Thomas said she was glad police were at the park Saturday to help mark the anniversary.

“We’re following up on many different leads,” Sgt. Darrell Price of the Cold Case Unit said at a news conference where Lynn Thomas displayed poster boards full of photos of her sister.

Price said he couldn’t go into details about any suspects, “but what I can tell you is that we are moving forward with the investigation.”

Having different detectives in the cold case unit from a decade ago means having “a brand new set of eyes looking at everything,” Price said. “To us, everything is new – newer than it was five years ago, when you had different detectives” in the unit. “All I can say is we have renewed hope in this case.”

Lynn Thomas said she’s more optimistic than ever the case will be resolved. She spoke to the media near a bronze plaque that honors her sister as “an activist for good causes.”

“My family and friends have persistently been working with the police to resolve this,” said Lynn Thomas, who was 34 when her sister died. “I’m the most optimistic I’ve felt in years. No new information per se, but they’re looking at it from a different perspective, and I hope it will come to a resolution very soon.”

She will never give up, she said, for the sister she loved “more than anybody else on the planet.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak