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  1. #1
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    The Murder of Kathy Lynn Beatty

    Kathy Lynn Beatty, age 15, was abducted on the evening of 24 July 1975 from her Aspen Hill, Maryland neighborhood. She was brutally beaten and left to die behind or near the K-Mart Store near the intersection of Connecticut and Georgia Avenues, a distance of only 3 and a half miles from Wheaton Plaza, where the Lyon sisters were last seen.

    Kathy never regained conciousness, and died on 5 August 1975 in Suburban Hospital of complications resulting from her injuries.

    Her murder has never been solved. Although it has been discussed in this forum as possibly being connected to the case of the missing Lyon sisters, there is no solid forensic evidence which links the two cases. Circumstantial evidence, however, is hard to ignore. It is because of the possible connection between these cases, the close proximity in time and location, and because Kathy's case has also remained unsolved for 31 years that I am starting this thread as part of this featured topic - rather than as an isolated thread in the Cold Case section.

    Kathy's case did not receive the press coverage and widespread interest that the Lyon sisters case did. There was a short article which mentioned the attack on her and that she was still alive and in a hospital. Another short article mentioned her death. A third, more detailed article, appeared in the Washington Post on 6 January, 1977 - 18 months after her abduction and murder. I will post those articles here for all to read.

    !n 1975, Montgomery County Police focussed their investigation on neighborhood kids whom Kathy had last been seen with near Parkland Junior High School, only a block or two from her home. Her mother suspected that neighborhood boys might have been responsible, but nothing was ever proven, and no suspects were named.

    In 1987, Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. came to the attention of Montgomery County Police. He had been charged and convicted of multiple child molestation counts in North Carolina and was on trial for the murder of 10-year-old Amanda Ray. He had previous convictions of crimes against children in Virginia, and was a suspect in additional child killings. It was learned that Coffey had been in the Wheaton/Aspen Hill/Gaithersburg area of Maryland in 1975, and police began an extensive investingation on Coffey in regard to his possible connection with the Lyon and the Beatty cases.

    In my next posts to this thread, I will focus on the case of Kathy Lynn Beatty. Although her attacker MAY have been the same person who abducted Sheila and Kate Lyon, I would suggest that we concentrate posts in this thread on Kathy's case alone to avoid confusion and wide ranging speculation.
    Last edited by Richard; 04-26-2006 at 01:21 AM.


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  3. #2
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    Connection to Lyon girls

    There is no connection here. The abductors of the Lyon girls did not intend to kill them or any of their victims unless they represented a threat of discovery. There would have been no benefit to their murder. Rather than murder, they would have taken them overseas. Perhaps they would have been murdered there.


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  5. #3
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    I'll repeat myself...

    ... at the risk of being crude...

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    ... Although her attacker MAY have been the same person who abducted Sheila and Kate Lyon, I would suggest that we concentrate posts in this thread on Kathy's case alone to avoid confusion and wide ranging speculation.


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  7. #4
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    Washington Post Article 6 Jan 1977

    Kathy Lynn Beatty's 24 July 1975 (a Thursday) abduction and brutal beating was mentioned briefly in a short article in the Washington Post a day or two after it occurred. A later article (also very short) mentioned that she had died of her injuries in Suburban Hospital on 5 August 1975.


    The following article appeared 18 months later and contains much more detail about Kathy's last day and the known circumstances surrounding her abduction, assult, and death. It was accompanied with a copy of a reward poster seeking information. The poster contains a photo of Kathy. At the end of the article was a request for information, a contact number and the offer of a reward.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    From the Washington Post Newspaper 6 January 1977
    Maryland Weekly Section, Page 1:

    The Beatty murder: "we have ideas about who was involved"
    By Martha M. Hamilton
    Washington Post Reporter


    The posters are still there, taped to the window of the Aspen Hill barbershop asking for someone to come forward with information to help solve the killing of Kathy Lynn Beatty.


    The police still believe someone will, and her mother prays that it is so. "The police seemed so sure in the beginning that they would find the person responsible, but now I am not so sure," said Patricia Beatty. So far there is no answer to who left her 15-year-old daughter dying from head injuries in the rocky area behind the K-Mart in Aspen Hill.


    Kathy didn't die until 11 days later in the intensive care unit at Suburban Hospital. "The hospital personnel led us to believe that she would be able to talk. That's what we needed - a little break" said Maj. Wayne Brown, Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Montgomery County Police.


    It was July 24, 1975, when Kathy received the fatal blow to her head and was left lying behind the K-Mart at Georgia and Connecticut Avenues. She and her mother and older sister were just back from vacation in Atlantic City. A friend of her mother's was a contender in the millionaire lottery drawing to be held in Baltimore that night, and her mother was going to Baltimore. Kathy and her sister decided to stay home.


    Her mother last saw her about 4 p.m. Kathy had been inside all day watching television, "and she asked me if she could go outside and ride her bike," said Mrs. Beatty. Her mother said she could, invited her to Baltimore again, and told her to fix her own supper since Kathy declined again.


    "I said I would be home at 9. She knew she had to be home by 8:30, because she wasn't allowed out after dark. We said goodbye and she went off on her bike," her mother recalled.


    Instead of 9 p.m., it was closer to 11 when Mrs. Beatty returned, and when she saw the dark house, she was frightened, she said. But when she turned on the lights there was a note from Kathy saying she had gone to a friend's and would be back at 10 p.m. It was raining, and Kathy's mother assumed her daughter was waiting for a ride home.


    She headed for the friend's house, but when she arrived, Kathy wasn't there. "The children said she had been there but had left," said Mrs. Beatty. As it happened, Kathy had not been there at all. "I think they were trying to cover for her".


    At that point, she began to worry again, she said. She called other friends of her daughter until she had only one more to try - a boy on whom Kathy had a crush. The two had been sweethearts in 8th grade, and Kathy continued to be fond of him, said Mrs. Beatty. She thought that Kathy might have found an excuse to be wherever he had been and that he might have seen her.


    The boy and a freind were supposed to be sleeping outside in a camper, she said the boy's father told her. When the boy's father checked outside, the boys were not there, she said. She asked him to call when they returned and began driving around, looking for Kathy.


    She looked at Parkland Junior High School and drove by the K-Mart. Kathy was infatuated with mini-bikes and would go up to the store to look at them she said. She said she also kept returning to the house, hoping Kathy would have called.


    On one of her outings, she encountered a police officer. "I told him what the problem was and asked him if he would go up to K-Mart. I had been up there, but it had been so dark," she said. The police officer told her to go home and wait for an hour. If she did not hear from him, it would mean that he hadn't found Kathy and she should file a missing person report, she said.


    That was what she did. Then she sat waiting for dawn, so she could call the boy's house again. When she did call, about 7 a.m., the boy came to the phone and said that he had not seen Kathy either.


    Kathy's older sister, Theresa, called her boyfriend. Together they went up to search the area around K-Mart. "I didn't have much hope there", said her mother. "I didn't think she would be at K-Mart." But Theresa and Theresa's boyfriend found her purse nearby.


    "Her boyfriend was running to K-Mart to call the police when he heard Theresa screaming her head off," said Mrs. Beatty. Theresa, just turned 17, had found her sister lying in a ditch that runs through the wooded area behind the store with a depressed fracture of the skull. "Kathy was barely alive," said her mother.


    Theresa's boyfriend ran back, then called the police, an ambulance, and Mrs. Beatty. He didn't tell her that Kathy was hurt. As she was driving toward the K-Mart, an ambulance passed. Mrs. Beatty said she pulled over and said to herself, "Dear God, don't let it go to K-Mart."


    Kathy died of complications, including blood poisoning. "At that point she was too weak to live," said her mother.


    "We feel and have felt that the assailants lived in the community," said Brown. There were several persons who saw her the night she disappeared, about 8:30 p.m. near Parkland Junior High School. Several of them, youngsters Kathy's age, refused to take polygraph tests.


    A boy who lived next door had seen Kathy at home about 6:30 or 7 p.m. the night she received the injuries. He had brought her a shirt from Ocean City, chatted with her awhile, then left, said her mother. After that, she was not sure what happened. Although several youngsters said they saw her at the school, "none of them claimed they were with her," Mrs. Beatty said.


    "We feel sure that Kathy would not have gone up to K-Mart alone." said her mother. For one thing, although the area was littered with broken glass and stones, she was barefoot, her mother said. "I think someone down at Parkland Junior High that night must be responsible for her death. She wouldn't have gotten in a car with a stranger and she wouldn't have gone up to K-Mart by herself," her mother said.


    Brown thinks that it may not have been meant to end the way it did. "We're still working on that. We still have some investigative techniques to apply," he said. "I have always felt that someone should come forward on that case."


    Kathy had been sexually assaulted but not raped. More specifically than that, police will not say. "I have a feeling that the person or persons who did it didn't intend to kill her," said Brown. "It's highly possible that she ran from her assailant and fell against a blunt object. I've always felt the result wasn't intended, and that would be mitigating, if a person came forward to ease his or her conscience," he said.


    "We've interviewed hundreds of people, and we have ideas about who was involved," said Brown.


    Life goes on, said Mrs. Beatty, but Kathy's death has been hard on her and very hard on Theresa. "Life will never be the same for me, a part of me has died," said Mrs. Beatty.


    In the hospital, Kathy never regained conciousness. "We talked, and hoped and prayed that she could hear," her mother said.

    "Everyone liked her. I don't understand why they had to kill her," said Mrs. Beatty. "I think somebody knows.....I have a feeling sombody knows who's responsible and is not talking. I hope somebody will come forward."


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  9. #5
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    A few more facts about the case...

    Not mentioned in the previous posts is that Kathy was found in an area sometimes described as a "dump" or trash filled, rocky place, near a drainage ditch or stream. This was a large, vacant area adjacent to the K-Mart and its parking lot. Found beside Kathy's unconcious body was a set of keys. The keys did not belong to Kathy, and investigators suspected that they may have belonged to her assailant.

    To give some perspective to the location, K-Mart store #4399 is located in the northeast quadrant of the intersection of Georgia and Connecticut Avenues. Now owned by Sears, it is still called K-Mart, and its address is 14014 Connecticut Ave, Silver Spring, MD. Silver Spring is the name of the major Post Office for the area, but it encompasses other communities such as Wheaton and Aspen Hill.

    Located directly across Georgia Ave, in the Northwest quadrant of the same intersection, was a fairly new office building which housed offices of Vitro Laboratories. Vitro had offices in four locations of Montgomery County, and their Aspen Hill branch was the newest of the four. The Vitro parking lot bordered the Aspen Hill neighborhood where Kathy lived.

    Parkland Junior High School was located at 4610 West Frankfort Drive. Kathy's house was only one block (roughly south) from the school on the same road. A short walk of a few more blocks further south and a left turn (east) on Marionet St. would lead to the Aspen Hill Vitro parking lot. Traveling due east through that parking lot would be the shortest walking distance to K-Mart.
    Last edited by Richard; 04-26-2006 at 10:19 PM.


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  11. #6
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    A guy named Fred Coffey...

    According to Montgomery County Police Detective Bill Campbell, in an interview with Washington Post reporter Charles W. Hall on March 13, 1987, Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. worked at Vitro Corp. in Aspen Hill as a computer data system employee from April 24, 1975 to July 31, 1975. Campbell stated that according to company records, he interviewed for a job there on April 1, 1975. When Coffey suddenly quit his job in late July, he told his employer, Vitro that his wife and daughter had been injured in a Kentucky car accident. Campbell stated that the story was false and was identical to one he used in leaving another job.

    A note of clarification: Coffey simply left the area without giving his employer any notice a few days prior to 31 July. It was later that he sent a letter to Vitro with his explanation for leaving and a request for his last paycheck. 31 July would have been the last day of that pay period. Coffey's rapid departure from the area coincided with publication of a Washington Post news article which described the attack on Kathy Beatty, and which stated that she was still alive and in the hospital.

    Fred Coffey's residence address while working at Vitro was a room at the Holiday Motel, 807 S. Frederick Ave. Gaithersburg, MD. That motel was demolished a few years ago and a personal goods storage facility is now located on the site.

    According to MCP Sergeant Gary Smith (in a Washington Post interview 22 June 1987), police tried to pinpoint when Coffey first came to the Holiday Motel, and they also tried to get old Maryland motor vehicle records to verify reports that he had bought a car in Montgomery County about the time of the Lyon girls' disappearance (25 March 1975). Unfortunately, by 1987 those records could no longer be located and were thought to have been destroyed.

    Sgt. Smith also stated in his interview that attempts had been made to link Coffey to a set of keys found near Kathy Beatty.

    Kathy and those keys were found only a few hundred yards east of Fred Coffey's place of employment.
    Last edited by Richard; 04-26-2006 at 10:25 PM.


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  13. #7
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    A guy named Fred.

    If there were any body fluids left at the scene by the killer, or killers, you would think with modern technology & DNA being what it is today, MCP would compare this with Mr. Fred Coffey.


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  15. #8
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    You may repeat yourself

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Circumstantial evidence, however, is hard to ignore. It is because of the possible connection between these cases, the close proximity in time and location, and because Kathy's case has also remained unsolved for 31 years that I am starting this thread as part of this featured topic - rather than as an isolated thread in the Cold Case section.

    Although her attacker MAY have been the same person who abducted Sheila and Kate Lyon, I would suggest that we concentrate posts in this thread on Kathy's case alone to avoid confusion and wide ranging speculation.
    Connections may be the only thing that can solve either case.


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  17. #9
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    Forensic evidence...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeb
    A guy named Fred.
    If there were any body fluids left at the scene by the killer, or killers, you would think with modern technology & DNA being what it is today, MCP would compare this with Mr. Fred Coffey.
    This is very true. Only Montgomery County Police are in a position to check their evidence locker and case records to see what forensic evidence was taken and what may still be in existance. Only modern testing of that evidence could link any suspects to the crime.


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  19. #10
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    31 Year Anniversary approaching...

    July 24th will mark the 31 year anniversary of the abduction of Kathy Lynn Beatty. It is still an open, unsolved case.

    The attack on Kathy was particularly brutal. Clues are few.

    Press coverage of the crime was minimal.

    Perhaps renewed interest in this case will lead to its solution and to that of others as well.


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  21. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    July 24th will mark the 31 year anniversary of the abduction of Kathy Lynn Beatty. It is still an open, unsolved case.

    The attack on Kathy was particularly brutal. Clues are few.

    Press coverage of the crime was minimal.

    Perhaps renewed interest in this case will lead to its solution and to that of others as well.

    I hope so Richard!!


  22. #12
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    31 year Anniversary

    This Saturday marks the 31st year since Kathy Lynn Beatty's death.

    Like the Lyon sisters, Kathy was last believed to be out walking in her own residential neighborhood, possibly on her way to a shopping center. Her abduction occurred on a weekday in the early evening. Nobody saw the actual abduction or attack take place.

    Kathy was close in age to Sheila Lyon, and the scene of the crime was only a few miles north of Wheaton Plaza. The crimes were almost exactly four months apart (25 March - 24 July).


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  24. #13
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    Thanks for keeping this case alive Richard. That little girl deserves justice.


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  26. #14
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    the former "boyfriend"...

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    ...
    From the Washington Post Newspaper 6 January 1977...The Beatty murder: "we have ideas about who was involved" By Martha M. Hamilton...

    ... She called other friends of her daughter until she had only one more to try - a boy on whom Kathy had a crush. The two had been sweethearts in 8th grade, and Kathy continued to be fond of him, said Mrs. Beatty. She thought that Kathy might have found an excuse to be wherever he had been and that he might have seen her.

    The boy and a freind were supposed to be sleeping outside in a camper, she said the boy's father told her. When the boy's father checked outside, the boys were not there, she said. She asked him to call when they returned and began driving around, looking for Kathy....

    ... Then she sat waiting for dawn, so she could call the boy's house again. When she did call, about 7 a.m., the boy came to the phone and said that he had not seen Kathy either.
    It would be interesting to know what this boy's full story was. Where was he that night? What or Who did he see if he was traveling around the neighborhood?

    Also, how far was his house and backyard from the parking lot of VITRO Laboratories offices?


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  28. #15
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    I think it would also be interesting to know what kind of life the boy she had the cursh on has led since this happened. I think that chances are if he had any thing to do with her death then he hasn't been a stranger to LE. I'm sure he thinks he got away with that and a lot of times when someone sees they get away with something one time then they will try it again. Just my opinion.


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