"Out here, the only one to see what you've done is God."
That's how Randy Patrick, a retired detective, describes the isolation of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, a sparsely populated expanse of farmland and swamps west of Norfolk.
Patrick, 60, whose mother lives in Whitehall and whose former stepfather was a Whitehall police chief in the 1960s, investigated myriad cases during his 21-year career, but none has lodged in the recesses of his mind as deeply as an unsolved murder 13 years ago.
That 2004 murder is the subject of an episode of "The Killing Fields," a Discovery Channel original series in its third season.
"Killing Fields: Murder Isle" will premiere at 9 p.m. Jan. 4 on Discovery.
The episode centers on the slaying of 28-year-old Carrie Singer, whose body was found beaten and partially clothed in a field in April 2004.
Patrick, who said his then-stepfather's work as police chief in Whitehall was a factor in his career path, said the investigation revealed Singer had an argument with a boyfriend before the slaying, but he was cooperative with officials.
Singer had moved to Virginia from Jacksonville, Florida, about three months prior to her death to live with her boyfriend, Patrick said.
"We looked at the boyfriend," but no charges were filed against him or anyone else, Patrick said.
Police believe she had been dead about 24 hours before a farmer discovered her body.
She died from blunt-force trauma to the head, Patrick said, and because her body had been outdoors, it could not be determined if she had been sexually assaulted.
It remained a cold case when Patrick retired earlier this year.
But new technology that didn't exist in 2004 might provide answers, according to the show's producers.
It is also hoped, Patrick said, that viewers might provide new leads.
Under the command of Lt. Thomas Potter, Patrick worked with a team of investigators to re-examine crucial evidence with new forensics.
Lucilla D'Agostino, executive vice president of programming and development at Sirens Media, said producers were attracted to the cold case because of the dedication of Isle of Wight police.
"Randy remains haunted by Carrie's case, so much so that he never lost contact with her mother," D'Agostino said. "Everyone in the department knew that her case was the one he had weighing on him. Chris, his partner in this investigation, was poised to take on this investigation with Randy, and with fresh eyes. Their passion and their dedication to bringing closure to Carrie's family was evident from the moment we met them."
The executive producers of "The Killing Fields" are Tom Fontana ("St. Elsewhere," "Homicide: Life on the Streets") and film director Barry Levinson ("Rain Man," "Good Morning Vietnam").
"To this day, I keep in touch with (Singer's) mother and her daughter (Singer's younger sister), Patrick said, adding he hopes someday to close the case.