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 SCF760809 Aug 9 1976, Sumter
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Posted: Nov 3 2007, 12:53 AM


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Unidentified White Female

Located on August 9, 1976 in Sumter, South Carolina.
An autopsy showed that the victim had been shot at close range in the back, chest and throat.
The couple had been dead for less than 24 hours.


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Vital Statistics


Estimated age: 18 - 20 years old
Approximate Height and Weight: 5'5"; 100 - 105 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Medium-length, brown hair; blue/green or blue-gray eyes. She had two small hair moles on her left cheek and another on the right side of her face. Mole behind right leg (calf). Pierced ears, no surgical scars. She was attractive and had very long eyelashes. Although both the woman and man were white, investigators described their skin as smooth, with olive undertones. The girl had unshaven legs.
Dentals: Available. No elaborate dental work. Missing upper and lower wisdom teeth on right. Has upper and lower wisdom teeth on left. Has fillings in all back teeth. If she were to smile, her teeth in the front would give an even appearance.
DNA: 6/2007 body exhumed for DNA testing.
Clothing: She was wearing cut-off blue jeans, a pink halter top that tied in the front and an unbleached muslin blouse. She was also wearing a pair of Stride Rite, wedge heeled sandals with lavender, pink and purple straps.
Jewelry: Three Silver rings that resembled American Indian or Mexican handmade jewelry. One piece was a faceted band with red, white and blue stones. Another ring had a oblong black stone. The third was a large, intricate feather scroll band with a jade insert into the curves of the scroll.

Victim's Rings



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Case History
In 1976 this female and her companion were found dead on a secluded Sumter County, South Carolina dirt road, between Interstate 95 and SC 341. They were located by a truck driver who pulled off to rest at what was commonly known as Locklair Road, a frontage road just off the interstate.
On August 9, 1976, a man living in the sticks between Sumter and Florence heard a car scuttling down a narrow frontage road connecting Interstate 95 to S.C. 341. Someone climbed out. Gunshots echoed in the early morning, then the car raced back onto the highway.
Their identities as well as that of their killer still remains a mystery.
Neither had any identification.
They had no money on them, but there were several clues that led investigators to believe that the couple might have been well-to-do or perhaps even from another country.
Investigators wondered if they had been hitchhiking cross country, or if they had been victims of a carjacking.
They were a clean-cut-looking pair. Authorities speculated they might even be brother and sister.
No drugs or alcohol were found on their bodies. And neither had on underwear.
Investigators had checked out every lead, including trying to identify them through their finger prints and using the serial number on the man's watch in hopes of trying to track down the jewelry store where he might have bought the piece of jewelry. Dental records were published in national dental journals. Officials with Interpol as well as U.S. Customs investigators and immigration authorities also had been alerted.
The autopsy revealed the pair had eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit not long before they died so investigators were certain the two must have bought the food from a local eatery or store. Someone remembered seeing a couple matching the dead couple's descriptions at a fruit stand that was located off the Florence Highway, but the person couldn't say whether the man and woman were with someone else or if they were riding in a car.



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Investigators
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Sumter County Sheriff's Office
803-436-2790
Or
Sumter County Coroner
Verna Moore
803-436-2111

NCIC Number:
U-820001602
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

Source Information:The Item
Sumter County Sheriff's Office
WIS TV
WLTX 19 6/12/07

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Posted: Jul 6 2008, 12:29 PM


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http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=4952583

Cold Case Mystery: Unidentified Sumter Co. murder victims



(Sumter) May 25, 2006 - There are two bodies buried in a cemetery in Sumter, but no one knows their names. After almost 30 years the case still haunts Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore.

But she won't give up on her silent victims. "I feel there is possibly someone who knows who they are."

She wants that person to come forward.

Not only are their identities a mystery, but their killer or killers are as well.

Their bodies were found off Highway 341. They were both shot three times, once in the throat, chest and back.

A longtime resident, Jerry Locklair, still remembers that August day the bodies were found. The once-dirt road was closed for days. "The community wasn't so upset as much as curious as to what happened. It was evident it was something off I-95. We'd just like to see it resolved at sometime."

There were several clues that led investigators to believe the two were wealthy. The woman was wearing a ring. The man also had a ring and an expensive Bulova watch.

Moore says, "They were clean, neat. She was beautiful, real pretty girl. He was also."

Moore wants to look into the case further. She even wants to dig up one body to get a set of teeth.

Through the years, the case aired on national news programs generating thousands of tips, but the leads fell through, leaving Moore right back at the beginning with a stack of papers, pictures, and questions. "We don't know if they're brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend or just friends."

Moore doesn't think the two were from Sumter, but she knows someone out there knows them. "I wish if anyone knows them they would come forward."

And Moore could finally put a name to the faces she's been staring at for nearly 30 years.

If you have information, call the Sumter County Coroner's Office at 803-436-2111.

Posted 11:01pm by Chantelle Janelle

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Bodies of unknowns exhumed in Sumter County

June 13, 2007 08:25 AM EDT

Dan Tordjman on search for identity of Sumter victims


http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=6649431
SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Two people were found shot
to death in Sumter County. For more than 30 years,
authorities have been trying to figure out the
victims' identities. Now, DNA evidence could breathe
new life into a cold case.

The unknown victims were exhumed at a Sumter County
cemetery this week. Coroner Verna Moore thinks someone
has information on the man and woman, "I feel that
there is possibly somebody who knows who they are, but
they're not coming forward."

Moore is determined figure out who the two people are,
the county's oldest John and Jane Doe. "They were
clean; they were neat. She was beautiful, a real
pretty girl. He was also."

Both were shot and killed off a county road in 1976.
But they were never identified.

Now, in a renewed effort, hopes are pinned on DNA
profiling that didn't exist 30 years ago.

Authorities will try to match traces of the victims'
DNA to the profiles of relatives that might already be
in the DNA database.

Officials say bodies buried 30 ago are typically still
rich with DNA to develop a profile. The challenge is
finding a parent, or sibling who took time to submit
blood or saliva DNA samples when the two went missing.


"I just wish that if anybody knows them that they
would come forward," says Moore.

Investigators previously reviewed finger-prints and
dental records, but didn't find any matches.

As for this attempt to find answers, the two might be
of foreign descent, in which case, even if close
relatives submitted DNA samples, they might be in
another country's database.

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Posted: Jul 6 2008, 12:30 PM


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The couple nobody claimed
Adrian Humphreys , National Post
Published: Thursday, April 03, 2008
It was after midnight on Aug. 9, 1976, when a young man and woman - she "slender, attractive" and he "well-developed, well-nourished" - stepped from the back of a van on a secluded, dirt road in South Carolina.

There, beneath the longleaf pine trees, they were both shot twice in the back. Someone then made sure the deed was thorough: rolling the two onto their backs and firing a point-blank shot with a .357-calibre handgun under each chin.

When the sun rose over Sumter County, in the heart of the southern state, a truck driver spotted the bodies lying in the grass some 400 metres from a busy interstate highway, their limbs cocked at awkward angles, mouths frozen in an apparent gasp.


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Font:****By 6:20 a.m., officers with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office were probing what would become their most vexing mystery.

They found no wallet or purse and, as such, no identification.

The couple lay side by side in the morgue while officials waited for grieving parents, expected to burst through the door at any moment once news sped through the county of 70,000.

After days without anyone coming forward, the bodies were moved to a funeral home and placed in airtight coffins with windows in the lids to allow visual identification. A few tearful people came looking for missing loved ones but no one recognized the bodies. In time, they were moved to a storage building.

A year later, the Sheriff pushed his parish to make room in its cemetery; the couple, estimated to be between 18 and 26 years old, was buried beneath decorative tombstones - "Male-Unknown" and "Female-Unknown" their only designation.

After three decades, their identities remain a mystery.

From the old case file, however, emerges what may be the most promising clue: Authorities now believe they came from Canada after the man feuded with his father, who was a doctor, because he would not pursue a career in medicine.

----

Verna Moore remembers the day the two bodies were found. As an assistant to the coroner at the time, she combed their matted hair before a photographer took their pictures.

"The thing that impressed me about her was her beautiful, long eyelashes. You don't often see them like that," Ms. Moore said.

"They were clean. They had no drugs or alcohol in them. They had nice jewellery on. They had stayed someplace the night before and taken showers. That impressed everybody. You couldn't say they were hitchhiking or living on the streets."

She has never forgotten the case. Now at age 81 and having since been elected chief coroner, Ms. Moore wants to reunite the couple with their relatives before she retires.

At the Sumter County Sheriff's Office she has found a ready partner.

"The case went cold, so far as their identity is concerned," said Sergeant Ray Mackessy, who is in charge of police evidence storage. "It had just been in a box on the shelf, and it laid there for years and years."

Much work had been done and some mistakes made.

Perhaps the best chance for solving the mystery came four months after the murder when a South Carolina man was arrested for drinking and driving. Under his car seat police found a .357-calibre handgun. Tests linked it to the slayings. The man with the gun, Lonnie George Henry, was asked about the murders while hooked up to a lie detector and the experts declared he was telling the truth when he said he did not kill them; he was, however, lying about where he got the gun.

Police were sure he knew more than he was saying.

"No charges were ever laid in it, and he has since gone on to his just reward," said Sgt. Mackessy.

Mr. Henry died in 1982, without revealing his secrets.

"We're obviously not going to get a prosecution in this," Ms. Moore said. "I just want to find out who they are."

Ms. Moore and Sgt. Mackessy have retraced the case as best they can but leads are dwindling. Their hopes now rest on Canada.

----

There have been many guesses over the decades as to what brought the young couple to Sumter County. Some have suggested they were in the Witness Protection Program. Others suspected they were couriering drugs up from Florida. Victims of a deadly carjacking was a popular theory. Others whispered that their parents might have had them bumped off.

"There are all kinds of guesses all really based on nothing," said Sgt. Mackessy. "It's like they came here from another planet."

Or, as investigators now believe, Canada.

"Even after all these years I realized there were things that had not come out and not followed up on. It never came out that he said he was from Canada," Ms. Moore said.

The Canadian connection comes from a four-page report found in the evidence box, written a year after the murders by Lieutenant James E. Gamble of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Lt. Gamble received a phone call from a man named David Batson who said he recognized the dead man. Mr. Batson's wife, Janie, worked at a nearby KOA Campground, the report says. While at the campground, Mr. Batson met a young man and woman who said they were passing through on their way to Florida. A few days later, they returned to the campground, telling Mr. Batson that they liked it there more than in Florida. They stayed at the KOA for a couple of weeks and Mr. Batson shot pool with the man several times. He later believed his pool partner was the mystery victim.

"The man was called Jock," says Lt. Gamble's report.

"He stated that he believed the man had mentioned he was from Canada; that he had formerly been a schoolteacher and that his father was a medical doctor. He further stated that the man told him that his family had practically disowned him because they had wanted him so badly to be a doctor."

One evening as they played pool, "Jock" tried to sell Mr. Batson a ring he was wearing. The ring looked "very similar" to one police found on the dead man's finger, Mr. Batson said.

The possible name is intriguing because on the underside of the dead man's ring are three engraved letters: JPF. If the letters are the three initials of his name, then perhaps the J stands for Jock; or, as Ronna Hutchison, a private investigator working on the case, suggests: If the man was from Canada, perhaps it is "Jacques" rather than "Jock."

Mr. Batson's tantalizing tip, however, seemed to get lost.

"There is nothing in the file to indicate they followed up on that information about Canada," Sgt. Mackessy said.

Both Lt. Gamble and Mr. Batson have since died and the KOA has closed. Ms. Moore, however, tracked down the former KOA owners. They told her they kept detailed records on campers - including names, addresses and even photographs. Those records, however, had been destroyed when their home burned.

"I can't tell you how disappointing that was," she said.

The elaborate dental work on the young male victim also seemed a promising lead, but when Sgt. Mackessy looked for the teeth they were missing. A note in the file said they had been sent to a dentist for analysis. When they tracked down the dentist, he said he had given the teeth to the local school for training purposes. School officials said they had recently been disposed of.

Ms. Moore next convinced the television show Unsolved Mysteries to feature the case. That prompted 200 calls, which were pursued without success.

In recent years, a small army of volunteers has sprung up to help Ms. Moore. One local woman hopes to write a book about the case; another writes poetry inspired by it. Psychics have offered their musings and several amateur online sleuths have created Web sites to publicize the case.

Ms. Hutchison, the private investigator, scoured lists of Canadian doctors practising in 1976, looking for a possible father to the dead man. She found a Montreal physician who bore a striking resemblance.

Ms. Moore phoned him and asked if he had a missing son. He said he did not.

----

Medical science might still play a part in putting names to the victims. Last summer, the two coffins were dug up.

When Dr. Keene Garvin, a forensic pathologist, learned whom he was going to be exhuming he was surprised. Back in 1976 he helped perform their autopsies.

"They were fresh and in good condition - they could have had an open casket funeral. They were a young, handsome couple; they had money. I remember saying somebody would identify this couple immediately," he said.

"I was shocked to find they were never identified."

Both were white, with olive tones to their skin and were between 18 and 26 years old.

She was 5-foot-6, weighed about 105 pounds and had brown hair, blue-grey eyes, long eyelashes and two small moles to the left of her mouth. She wore a white blouse over a peach halter top and blue Levi's jeans cut off into shorts with a floral scarf as a belt. She wore purple and pink wedge shoes and three silver rings with embedded gems.

He was just over 6 feet and weighed about 150 pounds. He had brown hair, brown eyes and bushy eyebrows. He was undergoing extensive dental reconstruction and had two scars on his left shoulder. He wore a red Coors T-shirt, blue jeans and brown sandals. He had a Bulova Accutron gold watch and a gold ring with a gem and the engraved letters JPF.

Their autopsy notes describe the couple simply: "slender, attractive" and "well-developed, well-nourished."

Three decades after he first saw them, Dr. Garvin once again returned to the couple's remains. He took bone samples he hopes will yield DNA.

Without something to compare the DNA with, however, it will be of little help. That means hope in Sumter County again turns to Canada.

"If someone in Canada came forward and said, ‘I think that is my brother or sister,' or whatever, then we could obtain an oral sample from them to compare. It's our best bet," Sgt. Mackessy said.

Added Ms. Moore: "I cannot understand how two young people disappeared from somewhere and that their parents would not be looking for them. It is unreal that after all this time - it will be 32 years this summer - that nobody seems to be looking for them."

Or maybe they have just been looking in all the wrong places.

National Post


http://www.canada.com/news/story.html?id=420192

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Posted: Aug 21 2008, 09:50 AM


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The following ran in The Item newspaper on August 12, 2001.

No I.D., No Leads, No Justice

By Sharyn Lucas-Parker, Senior Staff Writer, The Item

In August of 1976, a woman and a man were found slain beside a dirt road in Sumter County. The deaths are unsolved and they still are unidentified. But they are not forgotten


South Carolina map with Sumter County


The two people buried in Bethel United Methodist Church cemetery whose bronze plaques read ''Male Unknown, Aug. 9, 1976," and ''Female Unknown, Aug. 9, 1976,'' never attended a service at the Oswego church or paid tithes there. But for the past 24 years, the members of the church have made sure their resting places remain free of weeds and overgrown grass and that fresh bouquets of flowers mark their graves.

There has been no one else to do it.

''If it were some of our children, we would hope someone would do the same thing for us,'' said the Rev. Michael Henderson, who has been the pastor for six years. ''It's part of that 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"

Somewhere, perhaps thousands of miles away, or maybe just a state or even only a county over, local authorities believe there are heart-sick relatives who might suspect, but don't know for certain, their loved ones are dead.

Twenty-eight years after the young woman and man were found dead on a dark, secluded Sumter County dirt road between Interstate 95 and S.C. 341, their identities as well as that of their killer or killers remain a mystery.

That thought haunts Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore and drives her to continue trying to find the answers she needs to solve this puzzle that dates back to Aug. 9, 1976.

"I have not given up on this case,'' said Moore, who was deputy coroner back then. ''The reason I am haunted is, I cannot understand how two young people disappeared from somewhere and that their parents would not be looking for them. This does not make sense to me. Somebody somewhere is missing a son or a daughter.''

The case also bothers Sumter County Sheriff Tommy Mims, who was an investigator with the sheriff's office at the time.


John & Jane Doe, crime scene


''This is one of several cases over the years that we would certainly love to bring to a close so we can identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice on this,'' Mims said.

The story begins around 6:20 a.m. on August 9, when a trucker driving along what was commonly known as Locklair Road, a frontage road just off the interstate, stopped to rest.

Instead, he found a disturbing scene: Two people lying by the road.


The Victims




When authorities arrived, they found the bodies of a young woman and slightly older man. They had been shot several times. An autopsy would later reveal both had been shot at close range in the back, chest and throat. The report also indicated the couple had been dead for less than 24 hours.

Neither had any identification, but officials were hopeful they would be able to quickly locate their families by circulating composite drawings and descriptions of the two across the country.


Jane Doe, police sketch


She had medium-length brown hair and blue-green or blue-gray eyes. She was about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 105 pounds. She had two small beauty marks on her left cheek and another on the right side of her face. Authorities believe she was between the ages of 18 and 20.

She was wearing cut-off blue jeans, a pink halter top that tied in the front and an unbleached muslin blouse. She also wore a pair of wedge-heeled sandals with lavender, pink and purple straps.

By all accounts, she was an attractive young woman.

''I have never seen anyone with such extra long eyelashes,'' Moore recalled. ''They were beautiful.''


John Doe, police sketc


He had brown eyes and brown hair, stood just over 6 feet tall and weighed 150 pounds. Authorities initially estimated his age to be about the same as the young woman's but later in the investigation, there was speculation he might have been in his late 20s.

The man, who had two 2-inch scars on his right shoulder area, was wearing a pair of faded Levi blue-jeans, a red T-shirt with ''Coor's America's light beer'' scrawled across the front and ''Camel Challenger G T Sebring 75'' across the back.

Inside his pants pockets were a box of Grants Truck Stop matches.

They had no money on them, but there were several clues that led investigators to believe that the couple might have been well-to-do or perhaps even from another country.

Investigators wondered if they had been hitchhiking cross country, or if they had been victims of a carjacking.

They were a clean-cut-looking pair. Authorities speculated they might even be brother and sister.


Jane Doe's ring


No drugs or alcohol were found on their bodies. And neither had on underwear.

Both wore expensive-looking jewelry, though. She was wearing three silver rings that resemble American Indian or Mexican jewelry. One piece had red, white and blue stones. Another ring had a black setting. The third was a feather ring with a jade inset.


Jane Doe's ring


He wore a Bulova Accutron watch and a 14 karat gold ring with a gray star stone that had the initials ''JPF'' engraved on the inside.

Investigators would later learn that he had also undergone extensive and what appeared to be expensive dental work.

And although both the woman and man were white, investigators described their skin as smooth, with olive undertones.

The girl, authorities also noted, had unshaven legs.


John Doe's ring


''Most American girls back then did shave,'' said retired Sumter County Chief Deputy Bobby McGehee, who was working as a uniform patrolman near the scene the night the slayings occurred. In fact, the area where the couple was found was his beat.

"I was working that night, and I believe I got off at midnight. People believe the crime occurred after midnight,'' recalled McGehee, who had only been on the job a month.

Prior to that night, he had never been on Locklair Road.

''After that, I went down there quite a bit,'' he said.

Following Clues




McGehee also spent a lot of time mentally retracing every move he had made the night before. Had he seen or heard something earlier in the day while on his beat that he didn't think was significant? If he hadn't gotten off at midnight, would he have been able to save the couple?

''Someone somewhere has a couple of children missing. If nothing else, I'm sure those people would like peace of mind,'' McGehee said.

He worked on the case shortly before retiring last year.

McGehee, who sent a retired North Carolina homicide detective information on the case, also re-entered information about the couple in the National Crime Information Center files two or three years ago. The data had somehow been deleted, probably because it was so old, he said.

''Any law enforcement officer would like to solve the crime and bring the people responsible for justice,'' he said. ''But not everything happens the way it does in the movies.''

That was especially true for this case, as authorities quickly learned.

Days and months went by with no leads. A year would pass, and still nothing.

By then, investigators had checked out every lead, including trying to identify the dead people through their finger prints and using the serial number on the dead man's watch in hopes of trying to track down the jewelry store where he might have bought the piece of jewelry. Dental records were published in national dental journals. Officials with Interpol as well as U.S. Customs investigators and immigration authorities also had been alerted about the deaths.

Investigators had tried to trace tire tracks from the death scene. They had also established that the man's T-shirt most likely came from the 1975 Coor's sponsored Sebring Races in Florida, and that the box of matches in his pocket had likely come from a truckstop in the Midwest.

The autopsy revealed the pair had eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit not long before they died so investigators were certain the two must have bought the food from a local eatery or store.

Someone remembered seeing a couple matching the dead couple's descriptions at a now-defunct fruit stand that was located off the Florence Highway, but the person couldn't say whether the man and woman were with someone else or if they were riding in a car.

A Murder Weapon




Authorities thought they had their best lead yet when, about four months after the slayings, police found the gun they believe was the murder weapon.

A North Carolina man suspected of driving drunk was arrested while traveling through Latta, S.C. Police say they found a gun that had part of its serial number filed off in the man's car. The gun, believed to have been stolen, was sent to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for examination. SLED experts said the bullets taken from that gun matched those retrieved from the bodies.

''To this day, they still believe that was the murder weapon,' McGehee said.

Authorities said a polygraph test indicated the man was not always truthful during questioning, but they never charged him with the killings. They said they couldn't place him at the scene of the crime.

The man, who has since died, had an alibi: His wife was in a North Carolina hospital, and witnesses told police he was there visiting her. Investigators, wanting to see for themselves if it were possible for the man to sneak away to Sumter County and speed back to the North Carolina hospital, timed the drive.

It would have taken too long, they decided. So they let the one suspect they had go.

In the meantime, the bodies of the dead woman and man were at a local funeral home, lying inside a casket with a see-through lid.

Calls came in from several states, but none panned out. A distraught boyfriend looking for his missing girlfriend viewed the bodies, but it turned out he didn't know the dead woman.

Officials decided it was time to give the couple a Christian burial. A year and five days after they were killed, then-Sheriff I. Byrd Parnell arranged for the young woman and man to be buried at Bethel United.

About 200 people came to show their respects.

''As coroner, it's my responsibility to keep pursuing this, and as long as I can, I will,'' Moore said. ''The parents of this young man and woman may be deceased now, but I feel like they still have family somewhere looking for them.

"I can't forget this,'' she added, ''and the public has not forgotten this, either. I can't count the times when somebody hasn't asked, 'Have you ever found out who those children are?'

Want To Help?




If you have any information about this case, call Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore at her office (803) 436.2111 or on her beeper (803)778.3613

Authorities ponder if today's technology might have helped solve the crime.

Who were the two young people found shot to death near Interstate 95 off a dark, secluded Sumter County dirt road in 1976?

Who killed them and why? Did the killer act alone or did more than one person have a hand in their deaths?

Local authorities familiar with the case say every effort has been made over the years to answer those questions. They say investigators followed every clue and exhausted every lead. They talked to the psychics who contacted them. They even interviewed convicted serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole, both drifters.

''At that time, I think Lucas was admitting to every murder (across the country) that had taken place, and he later retracted his story," said retired Sumter County Chief Deputy Bobby McGehee, who was a deputy in 1976. ''Toole was so crazy, nobody could make heads or tails out of what he said.''

Both men are now dead.

The Interstate 95 killings received national attention in 1995, when the case was featured on ''Unsolved Mysteries.'' Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore had tried for years to get the television show's producers to do the story.

The segment generated more than 200 calls. Moore checked out every one, but learned nothing that authorities could use.

In fact, investigators seem no closer today to solving the double murder mystery than they were 28 years ago.

''There were numerous manhours expended as well as expense, and we still don't know who they are or who was responsible for their deaths,'' said Sumter County Sheriff Tommy Mims, who was an investigator at the time of the killings.

"The biggest obstacle is the inability to identify,'' Mims said. ''Without that knowledge, you have no background information to develop. You don't have a starting point.''

Some officials wonder whether the case would have been solved by now if today's advanced technology had been available 28 years ago.

''I feel like we used every source then and throughout the years at our disposal to get the information out,'' Mims said. "That would be a big question mark: If today's technology would have advanced the identification process.''

"I feel like it would have,'' Moore said. ''We've got their fingerprints and their dental records. We've got a good composite drawing of them. I feel like if the Internet had been available back then, someone would have posted information about them and identified them that way.''

The Internet is just one valuable tool that can assist officials today in solving cases and disseminating information.

There's also DNA (genetic material) testing, which also wasn't available, as well as widespread media coverage.

There is a greater chance today that the interstate killings would have gotten more publicity through the Internet and 24-hour cable news channels.

The Chandra Levy case has received heavy news coverage on cable news networks. The television networks and morning news programs also have been relentless in their coverage on the missing Washington, D.C., intern.

Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the FBI in Washington, said modern technology is one of the best tools law enforcement has, but information stored in computer data banks is only useful when properly stored, maintained and accessed.

''Technology has evolved to the point of where we are better than we were, but that's not to say all missing persons cases are solved,'' he said.

Before computerization, people had to keep paper records that could easily be lost or destroyed. But computer records or disks, if not properly maintained, can also be vulnerable.

''Technology advancement doesn't mean records are more retrievable,'' Bresson said. ''Technology tends to be neutral in a lot of ways. There still has to be proper record keeping.''

Law enforcement agencies also must network and utilize files in central computer data banks.

The FBI, for example, maintains an unidentified persons file that has about 4,000 entries. Law enforcement agencies across the country can submit information and cross reference material.

Many of the entries were made following airplane crashes or other catastrophes when authorities were unable to match body parts found at the scenes.

The longer a case remains unsolved, the more difficult it becomes to solve.

''The only thing we can hope for now is, anyone who knew them or was responsible for the deaths might have a troubled conscience and want to get that off their chest before they leave this world,'' Mims said.

Photos & Descriptions




Jane Doe

5'5", 105 Lbs, brown hair, blue/green eyes, 18 to 20 years old, pierced ears, no surgical scars, mole behind right leg (calf), Two small hair moles on left cheek, one small hair mole on right side of face



Jane Doe - Police Sketch and Coroner's Photo


No elaborate dental work. Missing upper and lower wisdom teeth on right. Has upper and lower wisdom teeth on left. Has fillings in all back teeth. If she were to smile, her teeth in the front would give an even appearance.

She was wearing a pair of Levi cut-off shorts, a pink knit halter that tied in the front, an unbleached muslin blouse, and a pair of wedge-heeled sandals, lavender, pink, and purple. She was wearing three sterling silver rings described as Indian or Mexican costume jewelry. One was a band with red, white, and blue stones, one was an oblong black stone with three green flecks, and one was feather scroll with a rust and green stone.



John Doe

6'1/4", 155 lbs., brown hair, brown eyes, 18 to 22 years old but possibly older, 4" appendectomy scar, two 2" scars on right arm (shoulder area)


John Doe - Police Sketch and Coroner's Photo


Very elaborate dental work with crowns and bridges. Crown on left front tooth, acrylic or porcelain. Fillings in most of upper teeth and has some missing teeth in top and bottom but noticeable in top back left. He is missing his wisdom teeth on the bottom in the back.

He was wearing faded Levi blue jeans, a red T-shirt with "COOR'S America's fine light beer" on the front and "Camel Challenger GT Sebring 75" on the rear. A Bulova Accutron yellow gold watch, serial number H918803 was on his left arm and a grey linde star ring in a 14 K yellow-gold mounting with the initials J.P.F. engraved inside the band was on his finger. Had Grants Truck Stop matches in his pocket.



If you have any information about this case, call Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore at her office (803) 436.2111 or on her beeper (803)778.3613

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PorchlightUSA
Posted: Aug 21 2008, 09:51 AM


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The Mystery CouplePrint Email Digg del.icio.us
Smaller | LargerBy Sharyn Lucas-Parker
A Murder Weapon
Authorities thought they had their best lead yet when, about four months after the slayings, police found the gun they believe was the murder weapon.

A North Carolina man suspected of driving drunk was arrested while traveling through Latta, S.C. Police say they found a gun that had part of its serial number filed off in the man's car. The gun, believed to have been stolen, was sent to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for examination. SLED experts said the bullets taken from that gun matched those retrieved from the bodies.

''To this day, they still believe that was the murder weapon,' McGehee said.

Authorities said a polygraph test indicated the man was not always truthful during questioning, but they never charged him with the killings. They said they couldn't place him at the scene of the crime.

The man, who has since died, had an alibi: His wife was in a North Carolina hospital, and witnesses told police he was there visiting her. Investigators, wanting to see for themselves if it were possible for the man to sneak away to Sumter County and speed back to the North Carolina hospital, timed the drive.

It would have taken too long, they decided. So they let the one suspect they had go.

In the meantime, the bodies of the dead woman and man were at a local funeral home, lying inside a casket with a see-through lid.

Calls came in from several states, but none panned out. A distraught boyfriend looking for his missing girlfriend viewed the bodies, but it turned out he didn't know the dead woman.

Officials decided it was time to give the couple a Christian burial. A year and five days after they were killed, then-Sheriff I. Byrd Parnell arranged for the young woman and man to be buried at Bethel United.

About 200 people came to show their respects.

''As coroner, it's my responsibility to keep pursuing this, and as long as I can, I will,'' Moore said. ''The parents of this young man and woman may be deceased now, but I feel like they still have family somewhere looking for them.

"I can't forget this,'' she added, ''and the public has not forgotten this, either. I can't count the times when somebody hasn't asked, 'Have you ever found out who those children are?'

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murd...y_couple/4.html

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http://www.theitem.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic...EWS01/997748564

Article published: Aug 9, 2008
*Crime still unsolved*
*Identities, closure elusive 32 years after couple’s slaying*

Thirty two years ago today, the bodies of a young couple were found lying on the shoulder of Locklair Road, a dirt road between Interstate 95 and S.C. 341, near the Florence County line.

The man and woman, thought to be in their late teens to early 20s, had been shot to death with a .357 Magnum, two bullets to the body and an insurance round under the chin for each.

Young. Attractive. Unknown.

Despite desperate efforts from local law enforcement and Coroner Verna Moore, who worked the scene as deputy coroner, authorities are no closer to solving the mystery than they were on Aug. 9, 1976.

For Moore, the focus is narrow.

“It doesn’t matter anymore who killed them,” she said.

“I just want to find out who they are. Hopefully, somebody will come forward, but it’s in the hands of the Lord.”

Moore said she began working on the case — which is still technically open — about 10 years ago because “it is the coroner’s job to find out who they are.”

She has said repeatedly that she wants to identify the couple before she leaves the coroner’s office, which, as it turns out, will be in January.

Not much is known about the couple aside from their physical attributes. She was about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 105 pounds with brown hair and blue-green eyes.

Moore said she had two unique moles near the left side of her mouth and long, beautiful eyelashes — an attractive woman. He was about 6 feet tall, 155 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. They were both white, with olive-toned skin, reports said. Neither had identification, no purses or wallets.

Moore dismissed the notion that they could have been homeless or hitchhikers. They had recently showered, she said, and each was wearing nice jewelry, including a gold watch on the man’s wrist.

Four months after the slayings, police in Latta arrested a North Carolina man, Lonnie George Henry, for driving under the influence. While searching his vehicle, they found a .357-caliber handgun that they thought was used in the killings. Henry was never charged in the slayings and anything he might have known about them was buried along with him. Henry died in 1982.

Speculation abounds about where the couple came from and why they were killed, but there is no evidence to corroborate any of it. Moore said lead after lead has fizzled into nothingness.

She is cautiously optimistic, however, about the latest avenue she hopes will bring closure to the situation. In a report written a year after the slayings, the late Lt. James Gamble of the state Law Enforcement Division said he got a phone call from a man who said he recognized the dead man. David Batson, whose wife worked at the KOA Campground in Santee, said he met a couple at the campground who said they were on their way to Florida.

He said the man told him he was a former school teacher from Canada whose family was unhappy with him because he didn’t want to be a doctor, like his father. Batson also said the ring the man was wearing when his body was found looked like a ring the man tried to sell him: a ring inscribed with “JPF.” Batson said the man’s name was “Jock,” Gamble’s report said.

It is unclear why this lead was seemingly never pursued by law enforcement, but Moore did a little investigative work herself. Batson had died and the campground had closed, but she had to do something.

“I called my deputy and said, ‘I’m going to Santee,’” Moore said. “She said, ‘What for?’ and I said, ‘To look for a needle in a haystack.’”

What Moore found were the owners of the campground and, in the end, more disappointment. The detailed records they had kept of all their campers had been destroyed in a house fire.

The case was profiled on the NBC show “Unsolved Mysteries” and more than 200 leads, Moore said, led to nothing. A search for the dead man’s teeth — which Moore said she thinks bore a mark that would identify the dentist who performed “elaborate” dental work — led to more disappointment; they were donated to a local school and eventually disposed of. The gold Bulova Accutron watch the man was wearing was manufactured in 1974, but no one can determine where it was sold.

“It’s frustrating,” Moore said. “Everything we have tried has gotten us nowhere.”

Reader’s Digest Canada is planning to publish a piece in its September issue on the mystery, and Moore hopes that will prove fruitful. In June 2007, the bodies were exhumed and bone samples taken. The samples sit in a laboratory at the University of Texas, and Moore is hopeful DNA can be extracted.

If a potential family member is located, samples could be compared.

Moore has followed leads for a decade and while she said it’s her job to find out who the couple is, it’s clear that her desire for closure is more than one of duty.

The couple is buried in donated plots in the Bethel United Methodist Church cemetery in Oswego under tombstones that simply read “Male — Unknown” and “Female — Unknown.” Moore wants to unearth them just one more time. She wants to send them to a resting place where they are known. Loved, maybe.

“My main thing is to find out who they are and send them home, because somebody, somewhere, has got to be missing them,” Moore said.

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Ghost Finders Hope to Help Solve Decades-Old Murder
Sydney Cummins Lauren Eleazer Created: 8/12/2010 9:25:24 PM Updated: 8/13/2010 7:22:48 AM Read Comments (80) Recommend (9)PrintEmail ArticleLargerSmaller


Sumter County (WLTX) - A 34-year-old cold case murder in Sumter got a new look earlier this week, and it is from an unexpected source.

A group called the Sumter Ghost Finders visited the graves of a couple who were found shot to death in August of 1976. Their goal: to find out who they were and who killed them.

"Are you here with us, honey?" asked the human voice on the recording. The response?

"Yes."

It is a voice from beyond the grave, according to Elliott Davis and his band of ghost finders, one that they are trying to help.

"We're not adventurers or thrill-seekers, we don't go out at midnight trying to scare up ghosts," he reassured, "We're in it to find out why, what happened to them, who shot them and at least their names."

They are working the case of a couple murdered in Sumter County, two people that have never been identified and their killer never found. "The couples' bodies were found August 9, 1976," explained Davis, "We've been working on the case since 2008."

Descriptions of the couple were put out across the United States and Canada, where authorities thought they may have been from. Even their dental records were released in the hopes a dentist would recognize the work.

But all these years later, they still do not have a clue as to who they are. That is where the Sumter Ghost Finders enter the picture. They are not going through the evidence to get their information - they are going directly to the source.

Through Electric Voice Phenomenon recordings, they say they have captured the voice of the woman, and Davis has brought in two women who say they can communicate with the dead. "When we first walked into the cemetery, all you feel is confusion," explained one, Lacy Thompson-Harper, "When you actually get up to the woman's gravesite, it's just sorrow. It's complete and utter devastation and loneliness."

She and the other woman do not call themselves psychics, but say they are sensitive. Thompson-Harper described the victim by saying, "She went from being really happy to watching what was happening to her."

Davis asked questions too - in French, the language the couple may have spoken in order to get answers. On an earlier visit, they say they recorded the woman referring to the man as Jean-Pierre.

But, they have not been able to get any further. For the Ghost Finders though, it is just a step closer to gaining the spirits' trust and learning their fate.

Even though they did not get complete names or find out who killed them, the group says they did not walk away empty-handed. Both women say they saw an orange in color, rusty El Camino with a blue interior associated with the murder, and saw that the woman may have had a Native American background.

If you have any information that could help with the case, call the Sumter Crimestoppers at 803-436-2718. Sumter Ghost Finders are also looking for people who can speak French to converse with the victims.
http://www.wltx.com/news/local/story.aspx?...d=94014&catid=2
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