A well-liked repairman is found beaten and shot to death.

Permon Gilbert, wearing a denim baseball cap

Permon Gilbert

A man steping down from a white tractor

He found Permon’s nude body by the road

CASE DETAILS

A woman opening the door to Permon Gilbert

Was Permon involved with a local woman?

On May 23, 1982, in the small town of Hamersville, Ohio, a 15-year-old boy made a terrible discovery. A man’s body, nude and beaten, was dumped on the side of the road. That night, the man would be identified as Permon Gilbert, an appliance repairman who lived just seven miles from the place his body was found. The most puzzling thing about Permon Gilbert’s murder was that he appeared, to those who knew him, to lead such a normal, non-controversial life. But in this small, Ohio town, it was not long before phrases like organized crime, drug trafficking, and jealous husband, began to be heard.

Permon Gilbert was a beloved husband and father of four. His passion was flying his small plane, but he made his living fixing household appliances. During the week, Permon worked for a large company. But on Saturdays, he worked for himself and scheduled his own house calls. According to his wife Joanne, the Saturday of his murder, Permon was hesitant about leaving for work:

“When he left that Saturday morning, it was probably 8:30. And he said he didn’t want to go. And now it bothers me. That’s what I remember about him leaving that morning.”

A small airplane flying down to the backdrop of a forest

Permon refused offers to move drugs

Permon’s service calls that Saturday morning took him to Mt. Orab, Georgetown, and Aberdeen—all small towns within a few miles of his home. When his work was complete, Permon crossed the Simon Kenton Bridge into Maysville, Kentucky. He stopped at a market where a woman named Ann Breeze worked as a cashier. Ann recalled Permon’s visit that Saturday:

“He was always very neat. Greeted you, you know, very friendly every time you saw him. I never saw the man down or act like he had a care in the world.”

When Permon left the market, he walked into the flower shop next door. But no one can account for Permon Gilbert’s movements after that. He had told his wife, Joanne, that he would be back home around three that afternoon, but never arrived:

A wallet and belt buckle with freemason insignias

His wallet and belt buckle were missing

“Then it got to be dark and he wasn’t here. And it got to be midnight and I was scared and I was afraid to go out. I had a small child and I was afraid to put her in the car and go out looking. And then I think about 3:00 in the morning, I called one of our friends and you know, have you seen Permon, do you know where he’s at, anything like that and they didn’t.”

Joanne Gilbert called the police. They were unable to turn any leads, until late the next afternoon, when her husband’s body was found. Permon had been shot twice in the chest. Because no cloth fibers were found in the two bullet wounds, police believe that Permon had been naked above the waist at the time he was shot. Although Permon’s clothes were never found, his van was located the next day. According to Sheriff John Van Camp of the Clermont County Sheriff’s Department, the van was located 22 miles away from the spot where his body had been discovered:

“Permon Gilbert’s watch was still hanging on the gearshift lever. His toolbox was in there, parts and supplies were in place in the van. We did an inspection of the van and recovered fingerprints and hair samples. At this time, we’ve not been able to match the fingerprints and hair samples to anyone.”

The investigation into Permon’s murder presented three possible scenarios. The first involved drugs. Permon often flew his small plane from a rough landing strip on his farm. According to Joanne Gilbert, Permon claimed he had been approached to transport drugs:

“And all he had to do was take the airplane and fly it to a certain airport, go in and have a cup of coffee, come back out and there’d be money laying on the seat or under the seat. And it would’ve been easy money but it’s against the law and it was against everything we believed in.”

The second theory involved Permon’s brother, Vernon. Vernon was twelve years younger than Permon and they were devoted to one another. Three months before Permon was killed, Vernon Gilbert had agreed to appear before a grand jury. Vernon planned to testify in a case against organized crime. Permon waited in town while his brother testified. Joanne believed her husband may have been the target of a hired killer:

“Maybe my husband knew too much. Maybe Permon was killed to lure his brother back to a funeral and because they were after him really. But then his brother didn’t come to the funeral.”

According to Sheriff Van Camp, Permon Gilbert may also have been involved in a crime of passion:

“The very nature of Permon Gilbert’s home appliance repair business, placed in many households alone with a family member. What we need now is for someone to come forward and help us trace Permon Gilbert from that flower shop. Anyone that has seen him around the flower shop or in the parking lot with his cream and brown van at that time or later in the day, we’d like to hear from.”

A reward of $20,000 is being offered in this case.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and season eight with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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36 Comments

  1. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    My dad’s murder case will be solved soon!, Praise God! God will have the last word, and, it will be good! In Jesus’s name, Amen! Sincerely with prayers, Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Reply

  2. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    There was a big fire at McKinney’s Junkyard this Tuesday evening, March 9th, 2021, in Hamersville, Ohio, was it arson?, was it to get rid of evidence? Any comments? Thank-you. Sincerely with Prayers, Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Reply

  3. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    They found finger prints, and, hair samples, I want forensic files to test what the clermont police department has.I want the bureau of criminal investigations in Ohio to get involved. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Any comments, or, suggestions? I am not afraid. I think some individuals from both sides of my parents, ( Dad & Mom, and, my Brother are in heaven!), are involved, as well as so many other individuals! Any comments from anyone? Thank-you for listening. God will have the last word, and, it will be good!, in Jesus’s name, Amen! The drug trafficking must stop! I know their is more to dad’s murder, a lot more!

    Reply

  4. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    I also think some individuals living near Nashville, TN, ( in Franklin, TN), are also involved in my Dad’s murder. Any comments?

    Reply

  5. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Did Scott McKinney sell his McKinney Mart in Hamersville, Ohio yet?

    Reply

  6. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Mysto Ree; I think some individuals were also involved in my Dad’s murder from Bethel, Ohio, as well. Any comments?

    Reply

  7. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    I agree. Do you also think some individuals in Georgetown, Ohio, are also involved in my dad’s murder?

    Reply

  8. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    I agree!

    Reply

  9. Mysto Ree

    From what I understand to be the case, the individuals who perpetrated this specific act have their names sprawled all over the village of Hamersville.

    Anyone else want to corroborate that?

    Reply

  10. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    I forgave whoever murdered, and, the ones involved in his murder many years ago. I want my dad’s murder case to be solved this 2021, so my twin sister, and, I, and, my younger sister will have closure! God believes in justice. My father was murdered on May 23rd, 1982!, his name was Permon Eugene Gilbert. I am not afraid, my dad was a good father, and, I know he is in heaven with my mother, and, brother. Whoever all is involved in my dad’s murder, they better ask God for forgiveness, before it is too late!, if they want to go to heaven someday!, they need to pray to God for The courage to ask God for forgiveness. No one makes it to heaven, they must believe Jesus came to earth, and he came to save us all from our sins. You must make your heart right( confess to God, pray to God )with God, and he will save the ones that believe in God, Jesus, The Holy Bible, get baptized, christians, etc. Jesus will come in a blink of an eye. The three dvd movies, called, ( Left Behind ), will help to watch with actor, Kirk Cameron, and, definitely The Holy Bible, Revelations, etc.! In christian friendship, love, and, prayers, Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Reply

  11. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    In Jesus’s name, Amen! Thank-you Lord, Amen!

    Reply

  12. Ms. Gina

    I know about a year before my Dad was murdered that he had Security lights put around our house. I feel like my Dads Spirit won’t rest till his case is solved. I want it to be Solved so my Sisters & I will have closure, so we will have justice, we want to know the Truth! I want something Good to come from this in my Dad,s Honor. I know that the Lord will make things right.

    Reply

  13. Gina

    I know about a year before my Dad was murdered that he had Security lights put around our house. I feel like my Dads Spirit won’t rest till his case is solved. I want it to be Solved so my Sisters & I will have closure, so we will have justice, we want to know the Truth! I want something Good to come from this in my Dad,s Honor. I know that the Lord will make things right.

    Reply

  14. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Mr. Bill Blaski, you bet!, I have been keeping up with investigator’s on my Dad’s case, and, with unsolved mysteries! God will have the last word, and, it will be good! God Bless You! Sincerely with prayers, Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Reply

  15. Bill Blaski

    Miss Joni, I am so sorry for your loss. Are you still in contact with cold case detectives investigating your dads case? I love fairly close to Maysville KY and every time I drive thru there I think of your dad. I was hoping the new Netflix show would’ve rebroadcast your dads case. I believe new technology could help. If I remember right detectives collected dna/blood from someone other than your father. This can be ran back thru the genealogy websites and get family dna and trace back. You will get the justice you deserve! Please know that you have allot of people in your corner and we want to help. Have you thought of setting up a go fund me or something to generate $ to hire a private investigator etc. God Bless

    Reply

  16. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Why did Mike Earhart break the windshield of a vehichle, after he heard my dad was murdered in 1982? Danny Pride knows alot about my dad’s murder case! Their is a big drug ring, and, etc., in Brown County, Ohio, Clermont County, Ohio, Maysville, Kentucky, Aberdeen, Ohio, and, etc.! What does Bill Swope of Hamersville, Ohio know about my dad’s murder case? Alot of people in Brown County, Ohio, and, Clermont County, Ohio know alot about my dad’s murder case!, it is time for them to clear their conscious, and, make it right. God believes in justice! Dennis Garrett of Franklin, Tennessee knows alot about my dad’s murder case! Charles Armstrong of Bethel, Ohio knows some stuff about my dad’s murder case.

    Reply

  17. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    I think Permon Eugene Gilbert was murdered by The McKinney’s in Hamersville, Ohio. The McKinney’s hired three Mexican men. Also, was the Masonic lodge involved? The McKinney’s are known for doing drug deals, and, etc., in Brown County, Ohio. Dad’s younger brother, Vernon Lee Gilbert, is involved in organized crime, and, etc. Vernon Lee Gilbert did not come to my dad’s funeral in 1982, and, Vernon Lee Gilbert is still alive here on earth.

    Reply

  18. Anonymous

    Way more.

    Reply

  19. Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

    Permon Eugene Gilbert’s murder is going to be solved this year! God will have the last word, and, it will be good! In Jesus’s name, Amen!

    Reply

  20. Bill Blaski

    Again I am recommending this case to be picked up by Netflix. There are 10/15 cases that must have an extra set of eyes on them. If they would rebroadcast these cases and use some new technology I think they can be solved. Cases like Dale Kerkstetter, Dale Williams, Aileen Conway, Dan Cosaldro, Don Henry and Kevin Ives, Adam Hecht, AJ Breaux, Brad Bishop, Blair Adams, Chad Langford, Chad Maurer, Permon Gilbert, Maura Murray, and so many more. I would love to see these specific cases investigated. I have google alerts setup on these cases. So that I can be alerted as soon as a update comes in. Sadly after decades nothing ….. do police not investigate cold cases anymore? Any ideas when the Netflix show will start?

    Reply

  21. Anonymous

    His Masonic belt buckle has been snatched away.Has anyone considered that someone in his lodge could of killed him?

    Reply

  22. Bill Blaski

    I’m learning towards crime of passion. I would bet this murderer has done this b4. Im curious if there are any updates to this crime?

    Reply

  23. nm

    most likely this was mafia related. seeing as the young brother was testifying AGAINST an organized crime syndicate, they likely ‘hit’ permon to send a message. keep in mind that this seems much more plausible considering it was in the early 80’s.

    Reply

  24. Sharon

    Has the investigating Office continued to run the evidence of fingerprint​s and DNA from hair sample (if possible) to today’s technology? This would be an excellent case for a cold case unit to review!

    Reply

    • Miss Joni Carlene Gilbert

      Dear God in heaven, please let forensic files technology open up my dad’s cold case murder, and get his case solved, so my twin sister, and, younger sister, and, I, may have closure. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

      Reply

  25. Angie

    I believe that he was beaten and killed by the husband of someone he was having an affair with. Seems like I have seen this case on another show and it was mentioned that the flower shop employee (that he asked for on the UM episode) was Investigated. Anyone else recall this?

    Reply

  26. chanita

    yuck that makes me sick to my stomach! I will pray for him and his family!

    Reply

  27. Permon Gilbert Gravesite

    I was wondering does anybody know where Mr Gilbert was laid to rest? I have had a look online but not been able to find anywhere. If anyone knows I’d be very appreciative!

    Reply

  28. Patricia Golightly

    What was he doing in the flower shop? Was he buying flowers for someone? Seems that if he bought flowers for someone, which I can’t believe they didn’t give that information on the Tv show “unsolved”, and the fact that he was found naked from the waist up, he was probably caught red handed having an affair with one of his customers. The husband walked in as Permanent jumped up, put his pants on, but before he could get out of the house was confronted by a boyfriend or husband, shot twice in the chest, and then dumped. It was probably within miles of his home because his affair was within the area.

    Reply

  29. Anonymous

    Growing up in Brown County…I’ve heard adults talking…and from talk it’s believed that the McKinneys had something to do with it…talk was that they got their salvage/repair shop started by running cocaine in the area and that they propositioned Mr Gilbert to get him to transport in his plane…he declined?…and in the way he way he was found…probably to send a message to anyone he may have confided in…?????

    Reply

  30. lm knull

    His younger brother was into crime although permon was not maybe his younger brothers crimes came back on him instead.

    Reply

  31. Tendy Uebel

    Where is? Vernon Gilbert now? And what came from his testimony? I knew the family.

    Reply