The two brothers Jeff and Tim Slaten are followed in Investigation Discovery’s “On The Case With Paula Zahn: Unthinkable Betrayal” as they deal with the 40-year search for their mom’s murderer. Florida was the crime scene in September 1981, as well as the prisoner wasn’t apprehended until December 2018. What about Jeff and Tim Slaten’s identities and current whereabouts? Let’s study.
Jeff and Tim Slaten: Who Are They?
In the middle of 1981, Linda Patterson Slaten, their single mother, including their two children, Timothy “Tim” Slaten, 12, as well as Jeffrey “Jeff” Slaten, 15, relocated to Lakeland, Florida. The sons often talk about how their mom did her best to raise them in spite of their meager economic means.
Jeff said, “We was living in government housing on food stamps and welfare, you know, and she was trying to do the best she could to take care of us …”
They had no idea, though, that just a few weeks after moving, they would be plunged into an agony that will last for almost 4 decades.
Judy Butler, Linda’s sister, visited them for their customary Friday coffee on September 4, 1981. Since Linda had relocated to Lakeland, the sisters had become accustomed to it. Linda didn’t answer the door, so Judy went around the house looking through a room window that had a strangely open screen. She observed her sister’s lifeless body, which was hung with a wire coat hanger and lying on the bed. She was anxious for her nephews, both of whom were minors when emergency crews appeared on the scene.
Police arrived at the home and found Jeff dozing off in his bedroom. He was alarmed to see police swarming around his room when he awoke. After finding out that his mother had been killed, he began to worry that the murderer might also have injured his younger brother. Officers did, however, discover young Tim asleep in his chamber unhurt.
Tim would later recount, “I saw the crime scene. It’s still burned in my brain today.”
Investigators discovered that Tim was picked up at home on Sept 3 by his coach, Joseph “Joe” Clinton Mills, after questioning the boys. When Joe was questioned by the detectives, he pretended not to know about Linda’s horrific rape and murder. As the case started getting cold, Jeff would reminisce, “It’s been rough on me my whole life not knowing who it is. Always being scared to death, I was friends with him … always looking over our shoulder.”
A cutting-edge forensic science technique called genetic genealogy helped the police identify their mom’s killer some 40 years after she was killed. On December 12, 2018, Joe was detained on suspicion of first-degree murder, theft, as well as assault. The police obtained Joe’s DNA from his trash to verify the match. Joe entered a not-guilty plea at first but then changed his plea to guilty to escape prosecution. In confinement in the Reception and Medical Center in Union County, Florida, he is currently serving a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jeff and Tim Slaten: Where Are They Now?
As middle-aged men, Jeff and Tim were horrified to learn who had killed their mom after the conviction. They would claim that Joe, Tim’s football coach, was their final potential suspect. When the murderer accepted a guilty plea deal in February 2022 to escape prosecution, the boys would face him. Jeff, who is currently in his mid-50s, and her aunt were in the Florida courtroom to witness the sentencing.
His voice emotional, he repeatedly asked Joe why he murdered his mom, adding, “We was scared to death because of you, man. Always looking over my shoulder, scared to death, sleeping with a switchblade knife under my pillow, sleeping with it.”
Jeff continues to reside in Lakeland, where he works as a licensed truck driver, as per his Facebook account. On his account, he frequently posts updates and images about his family. Tim, who is in his early 50s, lives in seclusion and keeps to himself.