QUEEN ANNE — Residents of the Queen Anne/Hillsboro area may have noticed some unusual police activity on the Tuckahoe River Wednesday, Oct. 19. The Maryland State Police Dive Team, at the request of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, searched an area of the river north of Route 404 behind the National Guard Armory. They were looking for clues in the only cold case murder in Queen Anne’s County.

Twenty-four years ago Herman “Dolly” Callahan was found shot dead in the breezeway of his home off Route 404 in Queen Anne, but the sheriff’s office hasn’t given up on the unsolved case, said Lt. Dale Patrick.

Over the years, the sheriff’s office has tried different methods to generate new leads. Information and photos from the case were added to the sheriff’s office website; a copy of the case was sent to the Maryland State Police Cold Case Unit for review; several videos were filmed and shown on “Queen Anne’s Most Wanted” cable TV show, including an interview of the victim’s daughter; fliers and posters were distributed in the area; and the case was added to Fox Television’s “America’s Most Wanted” website.

Detectives got the idea it might be good to search the river, so the sheriff’s office contacted MSP and asked for assistance, Patrick said. Wednesday’s effort was in response to that request.

The dive team took inflatable rafts out in the river and divers searched the bottom of the river by hand, Patrick said.

The divers used a weighted line stretched between them, almost like a trotline, and move back and forth sections of the river, he explained. It’s easier if the water is clear; if it’s brackish, divers have to depend on touch.

Steve Matthews is the lead detective on the case, Patrick said. Matthews, Detective Jason Rickard and 1st Sgt. Sonny Jones accompanied the team to the river and assisted where they could, he said.

In all, the dive team spent five hours searching the river.

“If they found something, they’re not talking about it yet,” Patrick said. But the police activity was noticed, he said, so they wanted to let people know what was going on.

What is known about the case

Around 7:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24, 1992, a passing motorist pulled in to the Shell Stop gas station at the intersection of Routes 309 and 404, a few hundred yards from Callahan’s home, to report she saw the 75-year-old farmer slumped over in his doorway as she drove down Route 404.

Callahan was discovered just inside the doorway shot in the back. Investigators found $1,750 in cash and business notes on Callahan’s person.

Callahan’s 1985, manual transmission, GMC livestock truck was located at the National Guard Armory a few hundred yards from his house.

The murder weapon was not recovered, although a shotgun was found by a construction crew near Callahan’s home several years later.

According to the sheriff’s office, Callahan, the owner of two cattle farms and landlord of more than a dozen tenants at the time of his death, “had his share of enemies” and generally started his workday around 4 a.m.

“The sheriff’s office believes this case can be solved,” Patrick said.

Anyone with any information in the case, no matter how unimportant it may seem, he said, is asked to contact Matthews at 410-758-0770 or email dpatrick@qac.org.

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