09-11-2014, 03:08 AM #1
MD - Stefanie Watson, 27, found murdered, Laurel, 22 July 1982
A 69-year-old convicted kidnapper and rapist has been indicted on charges related to the 1982 death of Laurel resident Stephanie Watson, a legal step that brings the once mysterious cold case closer to conclusion.
John Ernest Walsh, 69, was indicted on one count each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment by a Prince George's County grand jury this week in connection with the killing. Walsh is incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institute in Westover, serving out a 72-year prison sentence for rape and kidnapping charges stemming from a 1970 incident. He is eligible for parole in 2026, according to the county state's attorney's office...
Walsh was charged with the 1982 death of Watson in June 2013 after police were able to link DNA found in the car to him, police said.
In July 1982, Stephanie Watson left her Laurel apartment for an evening shift as at Laurel Hospital but never made it. Her cousin reported her missing the next day and, about four days later, her car was found covered in blood.
In September 1982, a witness told police he saw a man throw a plastic bag into a wooded area. Investigators searched that area and found a skull that was later identified to be Watson's. The rest of her body was never found, and her killer was never captured.
03-26-2016, 08:02 AM #2Registered User
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- Oct 2014
Where is Stefanie Wilbert Watson? Family seeks answers as killer faces sentencing
As the man accused in her cousin's 1982 murder is sentenced March 28, Chris Torres of Mechanicsburg is hoping that isn't the end to the tragic story.
The body of Stefanie Wilbert Watson, who was killed at age 27, has never been found – only part of her skull, which was dumped along a rural road.
Torres, of Mechanicsburg, is hoping John Ernest Walsh, 71, indicted in Stefanie's murder, will eventually talk. "I'll have closure once we have answers," she said.
"We desperately want to know all the facts of what happened," Torres said. "I don't care how horrible it is – nothing can be more horrible than what I've already imagined. "
Torres said she plans to attend the sentencing in Prince George's County, Md., but doesn't think she'll read a statement.
"I'm not sure if I'll speak – I don't know what I would say...I don't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how I feel," Torres said.
03-29-2016, 01:59 AM #3Registered User
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- Oct 2014
She vanished on her way to work in 1982. Her killer is convicted 33 years later.
Walsh, 71, was sentenced to 33 years in prison after entering his plea in Watson’s death. He must serve the time on top of 72 years he received as a sentence in 1970 after he was convicted of first-degree rape and kidnapping.
Walsh had been in Maryland’s prison hospital for years before he was released on parole in 1980. He brutally beat and killed Watson before he was taken into custody again in 1989 for violating parole, police and prosecutors said.
Police think Walsh bludgeoned Watson while she was in the driver’s seat of her car in July 1982. Watson, a receptionist at a hospital in Laurel, did not make it to work or to a scheduled meet-up with a cousin, Chris Torres, in Pennsylvania the next day. Torres reported Watson missing.
"We were happy. One chapter is closed," Torres said. "It was essentially a death sentence – I doubt he will ever get out," she added.
"It's never going to end. At least we made it this far – I didn't think it would ever happen," Torres said of her cousin's killer being held accountable.
But she and family members are still hoping Stefanie's remains will be recovered. Only her skull was found, dumped along a rural road.
Torres said they will continue to work with detectives on the case and are hoping Walsh will decide to give up information.
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