01-11-2016, 02:23 AM #1
OH - Lynn Vest, 23, Jeremy Pickens, 2 ½, Columbus, 12 November 1980
On the morning of Wednesday November 12, 1980, Lynn Vest was a twenty three year old mother who baby sat her 2 ½ year old nephew Jeremy Pickens each weekday at her home on the east side of Columbus while his parents were at work.
Lynn Vest told her husband that morning that she had a couple of errands to run. The young married couple only had one car. Lynn was mindful of the fact that her husband had to be on time for his second shift job.
Lynn had planned to take her one year old son along with her on her errands, but her baby son was cranky that morning, so she put him down for a nap. Lynn’s 2 ½ year old nephew was ready and eager to go along with his aunt on her errands.
Shortly after 11:00 a.m. that morning, while her husband stayed at home to take care of their one year old son, Lynn Vest and her 2 ½ year old nephew Jeremy Pickens left home in her husband’s 1979 blue Mustang Cobra hatchback.
Lynn’s husband became concerned when his wife and nephew didn’t return home from their errands as expected. Sensing that something wasn’t right, he contacted his wife’s father on the telephone. Lynn’s father was a detective with the Columbus Police Department.
Lynn’s father immediately filed a missing person report at police headquarters on his missing twenty three year old daughter Lynn Vest and his 2 ½ year old grandson Jeremy Pickens. Lynn’s father personally called the radio room at every suburban police department and the county sheriff’s office to be on the lookout for a blue 1979 Mustang Cobra hatchback.
Twelve hours after Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens left home to run errands, two Columbus police officers were driving through a mostly empty parking lot at the corner of Berkeley Road and East Main Street on the east side of Columbus when they happened to notice a blue Mustang Cobra hatchback parked by itself in the back of the parking lot.
The police officers checked the vehicle and made a grisly discovery. The bodies of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens were found partially hidden by a white sheet and towel in the hatchback.
Lynn Vest had been strangled and her nephew Jeremy Pickens had been suffocated.
After the homicide was reported in the Columbus news media, several witnesses contacted Columbus Police investigators to report that they either had seen Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens on their errands or had seen the car that day on the east side of Columbus and in the suburb of Whitehall.
One female witness reported that she had seen a woman in a blue Mustang putting air in her tire at the Save Mart gas station on South Hamilton Road near East Main Street in Whitehall. The gas station was eight blocks away from the Vests’ home.
The female witness also noticed that two black men were near the blue Mustang and seemed to be harassing the woman who was putting air into the tire. One of the black men was leaning against a white car while the other black man was giving the woman grief.
Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens were also seen at the Ohio State Bank branch at Great Eastern Shopping Center on South Hamilton Road where she deposited two checks and got $126 back in cash. They were also seen by a clerk working at the Woolco department store on East Broad Street in Whitehall.
Another female witness reported that between noon and 1:00 pm, she saw a black man driving a blue Mustang Cobra in her neighborhood just south of the Woolco store. The female witness also noticed that a white woman in the passenger seat seemed to be leaning, perhaps slumped against the window.
A male eyewitness eating lunch at a restaurant at the intersection of Main Street and James Road saw a black man driving a blue Mustang but not very well. The car was lurching as if the driver didn’t know how to use a clutch. He also saw a white woman in the passenger seat.
Several witnesses told police that they saw the blue Mustang in the parking lot at various times during that day where it was eventually found by police.
A couple living in an apartment building next to the parking lot saw a black man getting out of the blue Mustang in the parking lot and hop into a waiting white car.
While police have not been able to determine where the actual homicide took place, they were able to obtain good DNA samples taken from evidence in the Mustang.
No matches have ever been made through the national DNA database, but police know the DNA samples came from two men and hair that was recovered from the Mustang came from a black man.
Lynn Vest’s purse was missing and her wedding rings also were gone.
Columbus Police cold case homicide detective Bill Gillette speculates that whatever confrontation Lynn had that day clearly angered her attackers. He also believes that 2 ½ year old Jeremy Pickens was murdered on account of witnessing his aunt’s murder and the possibility that he could identify his aunt’s attackers.
No arrests have been made and the murder of twenty three year old Lynn Vest and her 2 ½ year old nephew Jeremy Pickens remains unsolved to this day.
Aunt, boy went on errands on East side in 1980, were later found slain
Case Involving Woman, 2 Year Old Nephew Deaths Still Haunts Investigators
Youtube Video Cold Case Lynn Vest Jeremy Pickens
Last edited by nerosleuth; 01-11-2016 at 02:49 AM.
01-16-2016, 04:40 PM #2
In September 1981, ten months after the murder of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens, there was another murder in the Columbus area involving a young mother and a toddler.
Janice Beidleman and her son Brandon Beidleman were found dead on the north side of Columbus in September 1981.
I don’t know if the murders of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens and the murders of Janice Beidleman and Brandon Beidleman were committed by the same murderer or by a different murderer, but there are a few similarities between those two unsolved murders from the early 1980’s in the Columbus area.
I created a Websleuth thread for Janice Beidleman and Brandon Beidleman who were found murdered on the north side of Columbus in September 1981.
Last edited by nerosleuth; 01-16-2016 at 04:53 PM.
01-23-2016, 12:00 AM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2012
Thanks for creating this thread, nerosleuth. I am very loosely connected to the victims in this case. I'm sure it must have been so hard for Lynn's father, a detective, to see this case go unsolved.
It surprises me that after all these years there wouldn't be a DNA hit in the system due to the killers re-offending. I wonder if Ohio or bordering states have a big backlog of DNA samples that need to be added to the system?
Sent from my iPhone using TapatalkJust my opinion!
01-23-2016, 12:25 AM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
What a heartbreaking interview. I could not get through it dry-eyed.
I do not know if this is/could be related, but Ohio had a very large backlog of rape kits. The attorney general's office made a big push to get them checked and they've made a lot of progress. They are still working on more, as far as I know.
Maybe a match can still come from those.... or maybe, if there's such a backlog in these, there are backlogs in other DNA areas... I don't know how that works.
01-24-2016, 08:04 AM #5
The similarities are startling:
Travelling alone in a car with a child
Children both male, close in age
Husbands reported them missing
Both boys suffocated
Both women strangled
In this case, the detective believes the killer was a person known to Lynn and Jeremy. So perhaps it is a coincidence. I haven't read all of the articles yet. Maybe I'll change my mind, but right now, I have doubts.
Last edited by bessie; 01-24-2016 at 08:20 AM.__________________________________
Muddy water in the street; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"
WEBSLEUTHS ON FACEBOOK
01-24-2016, 06:03 PM #6
There are other similarities:
Both married women were close in age
Both women and child were last seen leaving home by a family member
Both women and child had errands that they had to take care of
And there are other differences:
Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens were white
Janice Beidleman and Brandon Beidleman were black
Lynn Vest drove a 1979 Ford Mustang Cobra hatchback
Janice Beidleman drove a 1974 Chevrolet Vega
Last edited by nerosleuth; 01-24-2016 at 06:22 PM.
01-24-2016, 07:00 PM #7
Websleuths member Sweetcherries pointed out to me in another websleuths thread about another Columbus area cold murder case in which another murder victim also had a blue mustang and was also found strangled.
It is the December 1987 murder of Margaret Cecelia Durant and she was close in age with Lynn Vest.
Here is the websleuths thread for Margaret Cecelia Durant:
Last edited by nerosleuth; 01-24-2016 at 07:37 PM.
02-13-2016, 08:35 PM #8
Columbus Newspaper Articles
I recently visited the public library at looked at Columbus newspaper articles on microfilm from the 1980’s about the homicides of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens.
Here’s what the Columbus newspaper articles reported during the 1980’s about the homicides of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens.
Columbus Dispatch Thursday November 13, 1980
Woman, Nephew, 2, Are Found Strangled
Police found the bodies of Lynn Vest and her nephew Jeremy Pickens about midnight in the back seat of a car on as East Side vacant lot. The bodies were found in a vacant lot at East Main Street and Berkeley Road. The pair had been reported missing nine hours earlier by the victim’s father and husband.
The coroner said that there were several bruise marks on the woman’s neck and the boy had slight bruise marks on his neck, leading police to speculate he may have been smothered as well strangled.
The bodies which were covered with a bed sheet, were fully clothed and had not been sexually molested.
Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens left home about 11:30 a.m. to go to the Ohio State Bank in the Great Eastern Shopping Center at Hamilton Road and Main Street. Lynn’s husband became worried when his wife did not return home by 3 p.m. when he was scheduled to leave for work at an air freight facility at Port Columbus.
Columbus Dispatch Thursday November 13, 1980
17 Year Policeman Stunned
A 17 year veteran of the Columbus Police force could not fathom why anyone would kill his daughter Lynn Vest and his grandson Jeremy Pickens.
Lynn Vest and her nephew Jeremy Pickens had been seen in the bank’s drive in lane a short time after 11 a.m. that morning. The detective told a reporter that his grandson could only speak a few words and the grandson could never have identified the killer.
The father of Lynn Vest feels that the motive may have been robbery as his daughter’s purse with a small undetermined amount of cash is missing. The father said that robbers prowl parking lots waiting for people and won’t accost anybody that could hurt them. He said that the robbers prey on the old, young, and babies.
Columbus Citizen Journal Friday November 14, 1980
Twin Slayings Leave City Police Puzzled
Police believe Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens may have been attacked by a robber outside of their car while running errands. Detectives discovered that every inch of the Ford Mustang had been wiped clean of fingerprints and detectives believed that the victims were taken to another spot and slain before the car was abandoned at East Main Street and Berkeley Road.
Police were puzzled why a robber would force the victims into the car, drive them somewhere, kill them, put the bodies back into the car, and wipe fingerprints from it before abandoning the car at another location. Police were also baffled by the slaying of the child. A Columbus Police Sergeant said that a 2 year old cannot testify in court.
The newspaper article reported that Lynn Vest was strangled with a thin cord that was wrapped twice around her neck and that Jeremy Pickens was strangled either by hand or suffocated. The coroner’s office also said that no bruises were found on the bodies and that Lynn Vest was not sexually assaulted.
Police said that wiping the car clean of all fingerprints would have taken at least 30 minutes.
Police said that the bodies with a white bed sheet and a blue towel was placed on top of the bed sheet. Police added that the sheet was clean but not new.
Police do not believe the woman and child were slain in the car as there were no sign of anything being roughed up in the car. There were no stains or foreign material on the woman’s clothing, leading police to believe she had not been on the ground. Police have no idea where the woman and child were killed.
Police believe Lynn Vest was attacked as she got out of her car but they do not know where the attack took place. They believe the woman and child were picked randomly for what appeared to be a robbery. Mrs. Vest’s purse has not been found.
Police said that the bank is about a mile northeast of the Vest’s home and the location where the bodies were found is about four miles west of the Vest’s home.
Police believe the woman was heading to the Woolco store at Broad Street and Hamilton Road after she left the bank where she deposited money at the drive-in window. No one was with the woman and child when they left the bank.
Columbus Dispatch Friday November 14, 1980
Police Tracing Travels Of Two Murder Victims
The key to the Wednesday murders of the daughter and grandson of a Columbus Police Detective probably lies somewhere between the bank they visited and the vacant east side lot where they were found.
The county coroner gave a rough estimate that the two victims were slain at about 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.
The county coroner reported that Lynn Vest had deep indentations around her throat as though she had been strangled by a thin cord wrapped twice around her neck and that Jeremy Pickens was either strangled by hand or smothered. The bodies were fully clothed when they were found covered with a bed sheet in the car. There were no indications that the victims were sexually molested.
Detectives didn’t know where the pair was slain or if they were killed inside or outside the automobile. Police were trying to pin down the time that the car was noticed at the empty lot at East Main Street and Berkeley Road. The empty lot was across the street from a restaurant and a beer-wine carryout store.
Some patrons have told police they have seen the auto parked in the lot as early as 3:30 p.m. and other say they did not see the vehicle until after 11:00 p.m. that evening.
The victim’s purse and other unspecified articles were missing.
The murder victims were the daughter and grandson of a Columbus Police Burglary Detective.
Police said that they had no reason to connect the murders with the burglary detective’s police work and police did not find anything in the personal lives of the murder victim or her husband to provide a motive for the murders.
Relatives said that Lynn Vest was a former assistant for a dentist in Reynoldsburg and that the victim was a stay at home person who preferred the company of her husband and son.
Columbus Citizen Journal Saturday November 15, 1980
Store Workers Recall Seeing Woman, Boy On Day Of Slaying
Employees of the Woolco Department Store at 4590 East Broad Street remembered seeing Lynn Vest and her nephew Jeremy Pickens shopping at the store between 11:30 a.m. and noon on the day they were slain.
The newspaper article reported that Lynn Vest had been strangled, possibly with a thin cord that was wrapped twice around her neck and the boy was either strangled or suffocated.
The county coroner’s staff said that Lynn Vest was not raped.
Police were checking the Woolco cash register tapes that were time stamped for each sale to determine if Lynn Vest had purchased anything at the store.
Police believed that Lynn Vest had planned to go home after making a deposit at the Ohio State Bank branch at Great Eastern Shopping Center and shopping at the Woolco Store.
Lynn Vest and her nephew were seen at the drive-in window of the bank about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, about 15 minutes after they left home.
Police believe the woman and the child were attacked in the Woolco store parking lot and forced into the car. Police suspected that the woman and the boy were forced to the assailant’s residence where they were slain.
Police said that witnesses saw the car abandoned at the lot around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
Police were looking for Mrs. Vest’s purse, which was described as a beige heavy weave cloth purse with a shoulder strap. The purse would have contained between $30 and $35, and a plastic key chain marker bearing the name “LYNN” was also missing.
Columbus Dispatch Saturday November 15, 1980
20 Police Assigned In Hunt For Killer
Twenty of the top Columbus Police crime solvers were looking for the killer of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens.
Twenty homicide detectives were assigned full time to the investigation and that other officers and members of the SWAT Team are assisting in tracking leads which so far have produced no solid clues.
Police believe the woman and her nephew left the Woolco Store at East Broad Street in Whitehall before noon that day. Detectives said that store employees remembered seeing the woman and the boy between 11:30 a.m. and noon at the store.
A customer in the store reported seeing the woman and child in the store carrying a package. The family told police that Lynn Vest planned to buy shower curtains that day.
No packages were found in the car. The items found in the car were a child’s car seat, a jacket belonging to Lynn Vest, and a rubber ball.
Police were seeking information from citizens who may have seen Mrs. Vest’s medium blue 1979 Ford Mustang on the day of the slaying.
Police believe the woman and the boy were dead for nearly 12 hours before their bodies were found. The area of the car where the bodies were found contained no fingerprints, causing them to believe the car had been wiped clean or the killer wore gloves.
Police said that they had no motive in the killing. Mrs. Vest’s dark beige shoulder bag containing personal identification and $100 were missing. Police described the bag as made of canvas-like cotton material having three zipper compartments. Also missing was a key chain of white plastic containing the name “Lynn”.
Columbus Citizen Journal Tuesday November 18, 1980
Woman Abducted, Freed; Police Seek Link To Slaying
Detectives were investigating whether the abduction of a woman at about 12:50 p.m. Monday at the K-Mart store parking lot at 3800 West Broad Street on the west side of Columbus was connected with the slaying last week of a Columbus woman and her 2 year old nephew.
The abduction victim was a 20 year old female employee who worked at the K-Mart store on West Broad Street. The female K-Mart employee was abducted at gun point after she had parked her car and was walking towards the store.
As the female employee was walking towards the store, a man with a gun approached her and mumbled something she couldn’t understand. The gunman forced the victim into the car and mumbled something about “his boss was looking for young girls.” The gunman drove the victim’s car east on Broad Street.
The gunman struck the female employee on the face with a handgun the victim began to cry in fear. After taking the victim’s wallet which contained $100 and credit cards, the man got out of the car in Downtown Columbus at Broad and High Streets. The victim drove her car back to the K-Mart store and called police.
Columbus Dispatch Tuesday November 18, 1980
Kidnap Case Compared To Double Murder
A west side discount store employee was kidnapped and robbed Monday, and police suspect that the circumstances may be similar to those which led to the murders last week of Lynn Vest and her 2 year old nephew Jeremy Pickens.
A 20 year old woman who arrived for work at the K-Mart store at 3800 West Broad Street, got out of her car and a man who appeared to be in his 40’s approached her, pointed to a small pistol in his waistband and forced her back into the car.
The man drove the car onto West Broad Street and was talking incoherently as he was driving towards Downtown Columbus. The drive took about 45 minutes.
At one point the female victim was crying and the man grew angry and struck her in the face with his pistol. The female victim said that she was too frightened to jump from the automobile.
As they approached the intersection of Broad Street and High Street in Downtown Columbus, the gunman stopped the car, took the victim’s wallet containing about $100 and credit cards, and fled from the automobile.
The female victim said that she tried unsuccessfully to stop a police cruiser that was in the area after the gunman had fled from her car. The female victim drove back to the K- Mart store to contact police.
The abductor was described as a black male 5 feet 9 inches tall weighting about 200 pounds wearing a green and gold overcoat and a brown tweed hat with a red feather.
Columbus Dispatch Thursday November 27, 1980
Bereaved Mother Hopes Car Will Lead To Killer
An anxious mother hopes a sky blue 1979 Mustang Cobra will yield a clue to the double slaying two weeks ago of her daughter and grandson.
The newspaper article noted Lynn Vest’s father, who was a burglary detective with the Columbus Police Department, and her mother were divorced.
The mother of Lynn Vest told a reporter that her daughter’s car is so distinct in color and style, a two door with an air scoop on the hood and Cobra written in white letters on the sides, that someone must have seen it between the time the pair left home and the time the bodies were found.
The stepfather of Lynn Vest, who was a paramedic with the Columbus Fire Department, believed that his step daughter’s car might have triggered the abduction. He speculated that Lynn’s car and her appearance may have led the slayer to assume that Lynn Vest had money. He added that the car was always cleaned and waxed and was the kind of a car that could have been in a show.
The handbag belonging to Lynn Vest, $100 cash and personal identification were still missing.
Lynn Vest’s mother said that her daughter left home that day to shop for things to fix up the bathroom. She believed that her daughter was preoccupied at some point like all mothers in a hurry and then surprised by her assailant. She did not believe that someone was hiding inside the car, noting that her daughter was always careful to lock the car doors.
She also did not believe that her daughter would pick up anybody or offer them a ride, noting that her daughter grew up in a police officer’s home knowing what the world was like. She speculated that her daughter and grandson may have been abducted around the Barnett and Main Streets, noting that it was a rough area near the tracks.
Lynn Vest’s mother could not think of an explanation for the crime and noted that her daughter was happy in her marriage, lived for her husband and baby, and didn’t have any enemies.
She was also baffled by the lack of clues and wondered why no one had come forward to offer a clue as to why no one had witnessed the daylight abduction. She also noted that her daughter’s death was placed at 5:00 p.m. and she believed that her daughter would not go willingly.
Columbus Dispatch Thursday November 12, 1981
Deaths of daughter, grandson a year ago still haunts detective
On the first anniversary of the murder of Lynn Vest and Jeremy Pickens, the crime remains unsolved even though where are two rewards totaling more than $12,000.
Lynn Vest’s father, who is a Columbus Police burglary detective, is not involved in the murder investigation of his daughter and grandson. He told a reporter that he frequently thinks of different motives concerning the murder. He speculated that his daughter may have seen something that the murderer wanted to cover up. He also noted that since his daughter’s purse is missing, the motive could have been robbery.
Detectives said that Lynn Vest had stopped at the Ohio State Bank branch in the Great Eastern Shopping Center at Hamilton Road and Main Street shortly before noon.
Police also said that Lynn Vest had about $100 and she planned to shop for shower curtains, possibly at the Woolco Department Store on East Broad Street.
Police do not know where the abduction and murders occurred at, adding that neither victim was sexually molested.
It was revealed that evidence is slim and that some unidentified fingerprints were found in the car that could have been left by the assailant.
A detective noted that the most puzzling part of the case is that it’s weird they could be abducted without attracting any attention.
Columbus Dispatch Sunday March 5, 1989
Unsolved Murders Haunt Detectives
The November 12, 1980 murders of Lynn Vest and her nephew Jeremy Pickens is still unsolved but it is the number one homicide case that detectives on all three shifts of the Columbus Police homicide squad want to solve.
Lynn Vest left home with her nephew at 11:30 a.m. on November 12, 1980, headed to the Ohio State Bank at Great Eastern Shopping Center. Lynn Vest had talked of buying shower curtains, possibly at a nearby Woolco Department store.
Police believe that some point after stopping at the bank, someone strangled Lynn Vest with a thin cord and Jeremy Pickens was either strangled or suffocated. The bodies were discovered in the hatchback of Vest’s car about midnight in the Main Street lot near the M&R Market. Police said that they were not sexually molested. Missing and never found were Vest’s triple zippered beige shoulder bag, about $100, a key chain with the name “Lynn” and other belongings. Fingerprints had been wiped clean from the car.
It was revealed by homicide detectives that three years after the murders, someone using Lynn Vest’s missing credit card tried to buy tickets over the telephone for a concert at the Ohio Center. The bank was quick enough to contact detectives, but the ticket outlet didn’t sell the concert tickets. Detectives said they wished the outlet did sell the concert tickets, as they would have been waiting for the suspects to show up at the concert.
A couple of prime suspects in the case have been cleared. Detectives have considered the possibility that a serial killer may have been responsible for the murders, sent information to Texas authorities that were holding a prisoner, but no leads surfaced.
The FBI examined the white unmarked bed sheet that covered the bodies but found nothing. Police checked area motels and got nowhere.
Despite a sizeable reward, no one has reported seeing an abduction that likely occurred in daylight in a congested area. And on a busy street, few residents could remember seeing Vest’s distinct looking air scooped Mustang parked in the lot where it was found. Motive has also been tough to establish.
A detective said that the sad thing about this case is that there was no cause to kill the child as the child couldn’t have told anybody anything.
02-14-2016, 06:28 PM #9Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
I wonder if those fingerprints have recently been ran again?
Is there some kind of routine where 'cold prints' get ran every so often?
02-14-2016, 06:29 PM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
Also, Nerosleuth, thanks so much for all that work!
02-14-2016, 09:45 PM #11Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2014
02-15-2016, 04:26 PM #12
Photo Of 1979 Ford Mustang Cobra
Here is a newspaper photo of a detective looking at the victim's 1979 Ford Mustang Cobra at the police crime lab.
The photo shows what the 1979 Ford Mustang Cobra model looked like back then.
02-15-2016, 04:35 PM #13
It is hard to believe these killer have not reoffended. They are possibly in the database now. I hope they rerun the DNA now in the national pool.“Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn
02-15-2016, 05:54 PM #14Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
I pondered this in Margaret Durant's thread - I wonder what happened to Lynn's car afterwards? Did it get destroyed? Sold?
02-16-2016, 01:47 PM #15
By bessie in forum Cold CasesReplies: 54Last Post: 06-10-2016, 07:30 PM
By hoppyfrog in forum 1980's MissingReplies: 4Last Post: 05-06-2016, 05:41 PM
By chicoliving in forum Recently Sentenced and BeyondReplies: 3Last Post: 01-13-2016, 04:47 PM
By pdxmama in forum Cold CasesReplies: 999Last Post: 06-21-2014, 08:54 PM