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 Post subject: Mystery Couple Murdered Sumter, South Carolina - 8/9/76
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:15 pm 
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This is a story I have been following on other forums. I wanted to bring it to this forum because there is a possibility that one or both of the murder victims may be from Canada. We're not sure of that but the main searches that my friends and I have conducted have been in Canada. Here is the story as it first appeared on the Crime Library website:

Mystery couple murdered South Carolina 1976

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

The Mystery: 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

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.

''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.

Here is the link to the story:

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/noto ... index.html

I will add another story done this past April from the National Post in Canada below.


Last edited by Cambria on Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:31 pm 
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This story appeared in the National Post of Canada this past April. I would have posted the link but they removed the story from there so I had to copy the whole story below:

THE COUPLE NOBODY CLAIMED

Adrian Humphreys, National Post Published: Friday, April 04, 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. 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.
continued
__________________
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 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.

Do you recognize these people? Anyone with information about the victims can phone Verna Moore, coroner, at 803-436-2111.

Warning: Crime scene and morgue photos in attachment below.

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x299 ... 5ed84d.jpg

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x299 ... 92c5a6.jpg

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x299 ... b17622.jpg

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x299 ... 8fa365.jpg


Last edited by Cambria on Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:37 pm 
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The same article that was in the National Post has just been published in the September issue of the Canada Reader's Digest which is on newsstands now.

I am going to post something on the Canada threads of this forum as well.

I'm hoping someone on here possibly recognizes one or both of them. It's very important to get the word out on these 2 as they seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle, as so many UIDs have. The Sumter County Coroner, Verna Moore, who has worked this case since 1976, will be retiring in January and we're hoping someone here can hopefully give us a clue as to who they were. Thanks.


Last edited by Cambria on Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:27 am 
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Hi Cambria welcome to the forum.What an awful thing to happen.I will start looking into missing couples from Canada when I get home from work today.These two deserve to be home with their families.what sad thing.Thanks for posting this.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:33 am 
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Thanks, Chris. When I became aware of your site, I wanted to get them listed on here with their possible connection to Canada. Thanks again.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:28 pm 
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No thank you.If there is a canadian connection at all we will try our best to find it.Please feel free to stop by anytime.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:12 pm 
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Cambria, thank you for posting this. I would like to also say that Cambria, myself and another investigator have been working on this case for some time now and it is really great we can get it attention on this forum. Thanks for helping with this Chris. Let's hope these two can be ID'd soon. If any readers come up with leads about these two people, please PM Cambria, Chris or myself. Thanks again.

Here are artists drawings of the couple. Do you know them??

John Doe:

http://www.imagedump.com/index.cgi?pick=get&tp=538460


Jane Doe:

http://www.imagedump.com/index.cgi?pick=get&tp=538459


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:45 pm 
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I read in one of the newspaper reports they suspected the couple may have been siblings,is there any chance they could do DNA testing to check this out?That info would be a huge help in searching.

Welcome to the forum Tmis,I appreciate you thinking of this forum for this case.I have an in with an investigative reporter,I am going to beg her to do a story on this..lol.I may not be posting much yet on this but I have been steady doing some searching.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:13 pm 
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Chris - Regarding the DNA, the bodies were exhumed in June 2007 to extract DNA. They sent it off to a lab in Texas, I believe. Sumter County Coroner, Verna Moore, has been waiting for the results since then. It seems they put it on the back burner but she has been in contact with them trying to move it to the forefront again.

Thanks for making this the cold case of the month...we're really switching the search for their identifies into high gear as Verna Moore will be retiring in January and she has always wanted to solve this case. As she stated in the National Post article, they don't think they will be able to get a conviction for these murders, but she really wants to find out who they were. She has been working this case since 1976.

Thanks for posting Tmis.

Any help we can get on learning the identities of these poor Does is most welcome!


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 Post subject: My favorite obsession...
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:31 am 
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Chris,

Thank you for letting us bring this case to your forum and thank you for making it the cold case of the month.

I live in South Carolina. Sumter County is only minutes away. I have had the extreme pleasure of working with our Sumter County Coroner, Verna Moore. I can only hope that when I reach her age I will have the drive and determination that she does. If not for Ms. Moore, this case would have ended with the burial of our Does. It would do my heart good, if just for Ms. Moore's sake, to see this 32 year old case solved. There has been no progress for so many years. To see this case finally getting the attention it deserves is both rewarding and exciting.

I have driven down Locklair Road (the site where our Does were found) and I have visited the church and the graves of our Does. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent "chasing my tail" and looking for that elusive needle-in-the-haystack clue that will lead us to solving this mystery.

I have attached The Doe Network's links to this case. I also have attached the link to a myspace page that I put together to help get these faces out there in cyberspace.

Somone, somewhere - knows who these people are. Let's find them!!

http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/189ufsc.html
http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/198umsc.html

http://www.myspace.com/sumterjanedoe


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