Cox family hopes Peggy’s killer will be caught after 23 years

Cox family hopes Peggy’s killer will be caught after 23 years


Desiree Cox has now known her mother in death as long as she knew her in life – 23 years.

Desiree Cox has now known her mother in death as long as she knew her in life – 23 years.

Cox was 23-years-old in 1991 when her mother, Peggy, was shot to death by an unknown customer as she worked the drive-through customer window at Hardee’s restaurant on Murfreesboro Road in Franklin.

Friday, Feb. 1, 1991 was the day Peggy Cox turned 49 and her slaying remains the only unsolved murder in the otherwise spotless annals of the Franklin Police Department.

That’s one of the reasons the FPD, the FBI, and the State of Tennessee have posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Peggy Cox’s killer. The agencies have beefed up their aggressive manhunt by using up-to-date technology not available in 1991 – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media, as well as international billboards.

“I was 23-years-old when it happened, and it happened 23 years ago, which may confuse a lot of people,” Desiree Cox, now 46, told Home Page Media Group on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014.

“I was at a going-away party for a friend of mine who was moving. My older sister [Rachel] lived right across from where the party was happening. When I got the news, I could hear that my older had already left. There weren’t any cell phones then, so I couldn’t call her or call anybody else. Not only did I get the news of my life, I got it in front of a lot of people.

“This has been very public for me from the beginning.”

Peggy Cox had been a single parent role since her husband died on Feb. 3, 1983 as a result of injuries he received in a car accident a decade earlier — he was left in a “in a kind of vegetable state,” Desiree said.

“My dad had died eight years before my mother was murdered, so she had to raise us herself. When people ask me now how it feels to not have my mother here, it’s such a strange question. I had her for exactly the same amount of time I have been without her – 23 years. I don’t know what it would be like to have my mother here.”

Cox said she has spent a lot of time thinking about whether the slaying of Peggy Cox was random.

“Mom didn’t have any enemies. I didn’t know what to think at first when I first heard the news. It only makes sense if it was random.”

Jules, Desiree’s younger brother, had been working alongside their mother at the Hardee’s restaurant the night of the murder.

“I don’t think he saw her get shot, but he heard it,” she said. “And then, of course, he saw her. He was there.”

Cox said that the murder of their mother affected her siblings differently.

“It has had more bearing on me than I want to think that it did,” she said. “My brother and I never married. My sister is divorced. I think we all have had to deal with trust issues.”

Cox believes the Franklin Police Department has done right by her family, but she isn’t entirely optimistic about whether or not the murderer will ever be caught.

“The Franklin Police haven’t given up. I don’t think they’ve ever closed the case, but they are working really hard to drum up interest. Detective Barnes and Sergeant Charlie Warner always make sure we are comfortable with anything before they show it to the public. They asked us if we were comfortable with the billboards, and with the video. They asked us for our input. We appreciate that.

“I haven’t given up hope either,” Cox said. “I don’t get my hopes up too much but I hope they do find the murderer.”

Anyone with information for the FPD may call The Peggy Cox Tip Line at (615) 550-8404, or visit the Facebook page by clicking here.

Michael Ackley covers Franklin for Home Page Media Group. Contact him at

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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