6th Street Cold Case: Who murdered Ernestine Hurt in Downtown Cincinnati?

The 45-year-old Price Hill native was abruptly stabbed to death in June 1982.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 8:03 PM EDT
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Watch FOX19 Reporter Jessica Schmidt’s interviews with Hurt’s family members on FOX19 at 10 p.m.

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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - For the first time in 40 years, relatives of a Price Hill woman who was murdered in Downtown Cincinnati are publicly calling for justice and revealing what they know about the investigation.

Ernestine Hurt with her granddaughter, Mirya Glover
Ernestine Hurt with her granddaughter, Mirya Glover(Provided)

Ernestine Hurt was abruptly attacked by an unknown suspect on June 24, 1982.

The 45-year-old had completed her night shift at a cleaning company and stopped at a nearby White Castle, before she began walking toward a bus stop at 6th and Main in Cincinnati.

Normally, she walked to the bus stop alongside her daughter or her husband, as a safety precaution. That night though, her family says she made the trek alone.

Reports show a man ran up to her and stabbed her in the chest.

“They called us. We all went to the hospital, and there was nothing they could do,” Verna Sperveslage, Ernestine’s sister, said.

There was one witness, according to reports, but what that person saw was not enough to sketch out a suspect.

In the years since, heartache and heartbreak has tormented Hurt’s relatives, fracturing the once tight-knit family. Hurt’s sister Verna, now 91-years-old, has persevered through it all.

“She worked hard, and she was a good person,” Verna said. “It was hard on the family ‘cause you’re always looking over your shoulder.”

Glenn Sperveslage, Hurt’s nephew and Verna’s son, gets emotional speaking about the tragedy. The loss of an aunt was difficult on him, but in his eyes, Hurt was also a second mother.

“She was very family oriented. I remember her babysitting me every day, up to the point, she walked me to school, up ‘till I got old enough to where I could walk back,” he said.

One of the relatives now focused on spotlighting Hurt’s unsolved case four decades later is Mirya Glover, Hurt’s granddaughter.

“It’s rough. It’s really rough,” Glover said. “You know, I just wanted to make sure people knew she was being remembered.”

Through Glover’s dedication and diligence, she has uncovered several theories in Hurt’s case. The first is a fight involving Hurt that reportedly happened at the White Castle only a short time before Hurt’s murder.

“She had had words with a gentleman. I don’t know what the incident was, but it was apparently in the restaurant,” Glover said.

Glover also looked into claims of an affair between her grandmother and a work supervisor.

Emails from 2021, between Glover and Cincinnati investigators, show that police pursued that lead too, but the original detectives ultimately moved on to a different idea - that Hurt may have been a victim in a string of purse snatchings.

For Hurt’s family, that does not add up.

“She had her little purse with her that had her bus fare and everything in it. He didn’t take that,” Verna said.

The emails provided by Glover also show that police confirmed they do not have physical evidence to test in the case, and there are suspects they have interviewed and cleared.

As for Glover, her gut points her to a motive fueled by revenge. She says one of her late family members allegedly worked as an informant for a Cincinnati police officer.

“He [relative] was giving him [officer] information about the people in our neighborhood at the time, so that’s possible that could have been a retaliatory issue,” Glover said. “I think he was doing it because he felt like he was doing something good for the community and just doing the right thing, which he really was, but we all know how that plays out with situations.”

Glover said she was later taunted by neighbors who heard rumors that her relative had been “snitching.” She strongly suspects that situation is a likely reason for her grandmother’s death.

However, other family members lean in other directions, toward other theories.

“We feel she was targeted one way or another,” Glenn said.

Story continues below.

Ernestine Hurt
Ernestine Hurt(Provided)

What they do all share in is the desire to finally identify who murdered Hurt. Although they remain shattered and shaken by her devastating death, they stand united on wanting to know why someone so senselessly took her life.

“I’ve forgiven a lot of people for a lot of things, but murder - that’s, that’s just something that you can’t forgive,” Glenn said.

According to loved ones, all of Hurt’s children and her husband sadly died before seeing ever justice in her case.

Glover has a Facebook page dedicated to her grandmother’s case where she posts updates as she gets them.

Cincinnati Police have not commented on the investigation.

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