Thousands expected for Forrest funeral

Show also featured unsolved Milton killing

Thousands are expected to attend slain boxing champion Vernon Forrest’s funeral Monday, including boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley and R&B singer Frankie Beverly.

Forrest’s funeral service will be held at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia at 1 p.m., following a noon viewing.

Forrest, 38, was shot to death in an attempted robbery just over a week ago.

Police believe at least three and possibly four people were involved in Forrest’s robbery and homicide. Police said Forrest exchanged gunfire with the robbery suspects before being shot multiple times in the back .

A day after airing two high-profile Atlanta murders on America’s Most Wanted, including Forrest’s, one producer of the Fox network show said they both have a higher potential for solving.

The case of prostitute Kisha Rutledge, who is accused of killing one of her clients in Milton, received many tips from throughout the Southeast, AMW producer Angeline Hartmann said Sunday evening.

Forrest’s case has also received exceptional responses, Hartmann said.

“What we like about both cases is both have very strong clues,” she said.

She pointed to surveillance footage released of one of the suspects in Forrest’s death. With the Rutledge case, Hartmann said, “she has very recognizable tattoos.”

Calls and e-mails continued to flood into the popular television show Sunday evening from tipsters throughout the southeast.

“The Kisha Rutledge story is getting a big, big response,” she said. “We’re definitely getting calls on the Vernon Forrest case, too.”

Hartmann declined to specify the numbers of calls but said “investigators believe the leads are promising.”

Atlanta police detective Lt. Keith Meadows, who is investigating the Forrest case did not attribute any sources Sunday, but said investigators were following “a couple of good leads.”

Hartmann said the two cases, featured Saturday night, offer promising results.

“The solvablity factor is higher for both cases because of the clues and because of the timing of them both,” she said.

Although “bad girls” was the theme of Saturday’s show, Hartmann said producers wanted to include a segment on Forrest.

Atlanta Police have interviewed several witnesses in Forrest’s case, but so far have made identified no suspects and made no arrests.

Surveillance camera footage, which aired on “Most Wanted” along with a re-enactment, shows the face of one suspect. Atlanta police have said has many as four suspects may have been involved in the robbery and shooting of the boxer.

Police are also looking for the car the suspects were in, believed to be a red Grand Am or Grand Prix.

In the Rutledge case, she is wanted for her role in a murder more than two years ago, on June 12, 2007. Rutledge is accused of arranging for Keith Brown to be killed. Three others have been caught, but Rutledge is still on the loose.

Her case first aired on the show in March, and she has been spotted in the Southeast.

Anyone who has any information on the two cases is asked to call 1-800-crime-tv or go to the show’s Web site at Tips can be shared anonymously.

Hartmann said the tips will be shared with law enforcement working on the cases.

“We have a loyal fan base at America’s Most Wanted and we strongly believe that its just a matter of time before Kisha Rutledge and the four men involved in the robbery and murder of Vernon Forrest are all behind bars.”

-- Staff writers Marcus K. Garner and Katie Leslie and the Associated Press contributed to this report.