by Robert A. Waters
In 1968, slightly more than 50,000 inhabitants lived in Clearwater. A quiet city located along the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast, murder was rare.
Eighty-two-year-old Nick Jeatran and his wife, Demetra Jane, 74, had retired to Florida from the wintry climes of Wisconsin. They lived on 1135 Jackson Road, in west Clearwater. Friends said their favorite pastime was driving to the beach at dusk. There they would sit for hours, viewing the night-lights and waves washing onto the shore.
On December 24, Christmas Eve, a neighbor stopped by to leave Christmas gifts for the couple. Unable to get a response, she peered through a window and spotted Nick and Demetra lying on the living room floor. A Christmas tree still blinked, and holiday cookies sat on the kitchen counter.
The neighbor called the Clearwater Police Department. Investigators discovered that both victims had been beaten in the head with a heavy object. Demetra was dead, but Nick survived for three days before succumbing to his injuries.
A recent burglary in the neighborhood, as well as items stolen from the home, convinced lawmen that Nick and Demetra had interrupted a burglary.
The victims’ granddaughter, Nicky Ahrens, lives in nearby Temple Terrace. She continues to hound police about the unsolved case. Ahrens recently explained to reporters that the murders were “pretty senseless, really. They weren't rich. They didn't have a lot of money.”
After 46 years, an anonymous donor has offered a $5,000 reward to go with a Crime Stopper’s $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. Nick and Demetra Jeatran haven’t been forgotten.
If you have information on this case, call the Clearwater Police Hotline at (727) 562-4080.