Today I talked with a cold-case detective in MD to see what was being done on this case. He assured me that, through forensic evidence, the perpetrator of Sherry's murder has been identified. He said that he could not tell me the name of the perp over the phone, but that her murderer had died in prison on death row. Sorry, but without a freedom of info request, I can't tell you more.
The murders of Sherry Kennedy and Catherine Kalberer were not connected to the other murder that is discussed in this thread.
A suspect was developed shortly after the murders. A search of his house and car revealed a great deal of incriminating evidence but in those days before DNA no direct evidence tied him to the crime. He was a tow truck driver for a Texaco gas station very close to the Spring Lake apartments where Mrs. Kalberer was killed and where Sherry left from. When the suspects parole officer got involved (he had served several years in prison for robbing a bowling alley) he violated his parole and was sent back to prison until 1977. During that time the prosecutors office made the decision that no conviction could be obtained without direct evidence.
The man left for California after his release. In 1981 he was driving on a mountain road and saw two twelve year old girls. He stopped and shot both of them in the head. One died and the other survived. He was developed as a suspect and was found hiding at a motel in College Park, Md. He had called his counselor and a fellow inmate at the prison and they convinced him to turn himself in. He was then extradited to California where he eventually stood trial in 1985. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
In the meantime the Kennedy/Kalberer case was reopened in 1985. More evidence was developed and enough probable cause was developed to charge him with both murders. However a key witness, who the suspect had confessed both murders, was murdered in Baltimore in a situation unrelated to the Kennedy/Kalberer cases. Without his testimony and the fact that the suspect was on death row the decision was made not to charge him.
He spent 24 years on death row before dying of natural causes in 2009. Because of the great advances in DNA technology a piece of his clothing was sent to a lab. DNA evidence found by the lab convincingly matched him to the murder of Sherry Kennedy.
The cases were then closed even though as far back as 1970 the police were convinced that the right man was identified and locked up. This case has never really been a "mystery" even though everywhere on the Internet where this case is discussed it is assumed that the case is open and a mystery.
It is not.
Well, thanks for posting that. I had heard some of this same story on another group a few weeks ago. I have no idea why this did not get any media attention. The murders had been all over the news and many people from this area always wondered what happened.
Nice information but - What is his name? Where was he at various times? How many others did he kill? What were his methods? Who were the witnesses and what was the evidence against him?
If this maggot was convicted of murdering a 12 year-old girl, and he is now dead, I don't see how anything said about him or his possible connections with other murders will in any way besmirch his good name.
Knowing more facts about this "mystery man" might contribute to the resolution of other similar murders and disappearances.
Serial criminals have patterns. They do not kill only once. Knowing who this guy was, when he was on the loose and where he was at various times would be very helpful to investigators.
Law enforcement officials owe it to the public to reveal what they feel is the truth regarding an unsolved case before quietly marking it "closed" and filing it away - even when they decide that pursuing an arrest and conviction are not worthwhile.
Yes, I think it's a mystery. Is this the case where the girl was found under the 'old' Cabin John Bridge, which connects Cabin John to Glen Echo using McArthur Blvd? I somewhat recal the story, & if my memory is correct, the suspect-at the time was related to a politician, & the case was not publicized much.
The case did get huge publicity but not when they knew who the suspect was. Richard, I know the name of the person who died in the California jail. If you want to email me for more info you can. I don't want to put too much on this page.
Maybe I was not clear. The police knew who had committed the murders within days of the Kalberer murder. The police then and do not now release the name of suspects to the media. Back then and today the media sometimes gets hold of the name but the police did not and do not release names of suspects unless there is a warrant for their arrest.
I understand that but I do know the name of the person. I talked to someone on another thread from another site that told me the suspects name . I found the article in the Calif. newspaper about his death and how he killed a young girl in California. The person that told me was somehow involved with the case back then.
Hello to all. I was a teen when Kathy Kalberer was murdered. Her husband, Jack, was my dad's best friend, my mother accompanied Jack to the scene of the crime when he had to go identify her body, and Jack relayed information from authorities that, to my knowledge, did not appear in the news. I hope to fill in some pieces of the puzzle and bring further understanding to people who knew any of the victims -- reducing the lingering "haunts" that families and friends will forever carry.
As a coping mechanism, I do not recall the murderer's name, nor do I try to bring it back to memory. It provides me a false, albeit necessary, sense of safe distance. I will refer to him by his nickname for this case -- "Pick Man." Investigators believed Pick Man spotted Sherry Kennedy (his first known victim) one night after she left a residence where her friend was babysitting. Pick Man at one time hoped to be a policeman but did not qualify. He sometimes drove to police calls, imagining himself as a member of the force. Authorities speculated he may have posed as an off-duty officer, gained Sherry's confidence to let him drive her home, something alerted her that he was not authentic, and he killed her so she could never expose him. In earlier years, Pick Man was accused of being as a child molester (do not know if he was actually convicted of the charge), treated, and eventually deemed "cured" by his doctors/shrinks.
Pick Man worked at a gas station located near Montgomery Mall -- not far from the apartments where Kathy Kalberer lived. If an attractive blonde made payment with a credit card, he kept an extra flimsy sheet for himself. When investigators searched his home, in which he lived with his mother, they found a thick stack of flimsies -- all from blondes of various ages, hair styles, shades of blonde. He had jotted their addresses on the flimsies.
News reports stated that police were going door to door at the apartments near where Sherry Kennedy's body was found to see if anyone had noticed anything that could help solve Sherry's death. Presumably, Pick Man sorted through his flimsies, found that Kathy lived at the apartments, posed as an officer working on the Kennedy case, gained entry into Kathy's home and then stabbed and sliced her. He put her in the back seat of her car, drove around a lengthy period of time, returned her car to lot, and left in his car. Two women in separate residences saw what they thought was a woman cleaning the inside of her rear window -- it was Kathy trying to pull herself up, grasping for help. Due to blood loss, she died.
Subsequently, another blonde lady was murdered. After getting enough evidence to create a list of suspects, investigators spotted Pick Man in a photo taken when people had gathered at the scene of the Kennedy death. (Often times an attacker will return to the scene(s) of his/her crime.) He was suspected in at least two other cases but do not recall if they were ever confirmed. Pick Man was convicted, sent to prison in California, and at some point in the 1970s/early 1980s, my father called to tell me Pick Man was diagnosed as well again and was released. I see from an earlier entry on this blog, Pick Man committed murder again and was put back behind bars.
The reason "sleuths" were/are unable to get any "cold case" information is because this is a "closed case," thank God! My apologies if some of my recollection is not 100% accurate. I blocked out a lot of things or filed them away in my memory in a way that did not allow them to hinder my own quality of life. I pray my input provided some clarity.
It has been brought to my attention that the murderer, Thomas Francis Edwards, put Kathy Kalberer in the back seat of a neighbor's car, and he did not drive around with her. Further information passed along to me states that there were only two murders in Montgomery County, and the third murder some people may think Edwards might have been suspected of committing was probably that of Donna Ogelsby who was murdered in Arlington County. However, Edwards was in prison at the time of her death, so he was not responsible for it.
At some point, Edwards was released from prison and went to California where in 1981 he shot two girls. One of them died. Edwards was sentenced to death row in 1985 and remained in that status until his death in 2009.
I was told that the police knew who had committed the Kennedy and Kalberer murders. At the time, there was no DNA testing; but eventually there was, and it was DNA from a tiny blood stain that finally proved him guilty for sure. With all this extra information, it is apparent these two cases are definitely "closed." You can search the Internet for "Thomas Francis Edwards" and obtain a list of numerous articles about him. One I visited is http://www.bethesda.com/article/0112...print=1&page=1.
Last edited by ocean4me; 05-04-2012 at 04:43 PM. Reason: More coherent in meaning.
Great information. Thank you.
Makes a person wonder just how many others there were.
Does anyone know if Thomas Francis Edwards had any connection to the Philadelphia area? I am currently assisting in an old/cold case from 1968 in which a young man was murdered with a weapon similar to an ice pick or sharpened screwdriver.
So, even though police in Maryland are not particularly interested in Edwards these days, he might be a potential suspect in some other unsolved cases.
Not that I am aware of. His family lived on Manning Drive in Bethesda. Also his interest was girls especially those with ponytails. His sexually related crimes before he killed Mrs Kalberer involved girls from 10 - 14 who had ponytails.
The later interview with his wife revealed that the only way that he could get aroused was by playing with her hair, lifting her hair, and moving an ice pick around on the back of her neck.
Thomas Francis Edwards was about 25 years old and a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, where he became a suspect in two January 1970 murders.
The victims of those two murders were Sherry Kennedy, age 14, and Catherine Kalberer, age 39.
In 1981, he was living in California when he shot and killed 12 year-old Vanessa Iberri in Orange County’s Cleveland National Forest. Iberri’s 12 year old friend, Kelly Cartier, was also shot in the attack but survived to stand witness against Edwards. No motive was ever established. The girls were on a camping trip with Iberri’s mother when Edwards' truck pulled up and he called, “Girls.” They turned and Edwards shot them with one bullet each from his pistol.
Nine days later, following a nationwide manhunt, Thomas Francis Edwards was captured at a Holiday Inn in College Park, Maryland. He was extradited to California to stand trial.
Edwards was tried and convicted of murder and attempted murder of the California girls, and he was sentenced to death. After 22 years on death row, he died of natural causes in February 2009. (What's wrong with that picture?)
Coincidentally, that same month, DNA tests run on a field jacket obtained in a 1970 search of Edwards' home confirmed that he had murdered Sherry Kennedy and (by connection) Catherine Kalberer.
Montgomery County Cold Case detectives quietly closed the two previously unsolved cases and kept that information secret from the public. Evidently they did not think it important enough to mention. Or perhaps, as others have suggested, they did not want to infringe on the rights or smudge the good name of a cold blooded child killer.
It wasn't until THREE YEARS later, on 25 January 2012, when the story was broken by a news reporter that MCP reluctantly confirmed they had closed the cases.
Why in 22 years was Edwards never executed?
What was the real reason for so much secrecy? Not just during the investigation, but even to the point of keeping it secret for years after his death? As Jeb suggested in an earlier post, perhaps politics was involved.
One has to wonder how many other women and children were killed by this dirtbag between 1970 and 1981. And when did he actually start to murder people? Maybe even before 1970? Knowing a good time line for THOMAS FRANCIS EDWARDS might help to close other cold cases still on the books.
But it seems that this case is, in fact, solved/closed and moderators should now move it to a different topic area.
Does anyone have a Time Line for Thomas Francis Edwards? Specifically, where was he at various times between 1970 and 1981?
He was in the Bethesda area until late January, 1970. He then was returned to prison for a violation of parole. He stayed in prison until 1977 and then left for California after being released. He was in California from 1977 to 1981 when he murdered a girl. He fled to College Park, Md where he was arrested as a fugitive and then returned to California. After 1981 he was incarcerated.
Thanks for the response about his time line. Edwards was convicted of killing one 12 year old girl and attempting to kill another in California. His case went through appeal after appeal until finally in 2008 he had exhausted all appeals and was turned down. He died a few months later of natural causes.
Here is an excerpt from the final decision to uphold the death penalty for Edwards and a link to the entire document. Warning, there is a lot of graphic description about this person and his evil behaviors.
[T]he clear weight of the evidence shows that the nature of the crime itself contradicts and fatally undermines this proposed defense. The victims were two 12-year old girls walking innocently to a picnic lunch.
The little girls did not know Mr. Edwards, they posed no threat to him, and they never said or did anything to him. In contrast, Mr. Edwards was a large adult man driving in a truck. He was an expert marksman who had a loaded handgun in the cab of his truck.
Before shooting Vanessa between the eyes and Kelly in the head, he first drove past the two girls, looked at them, and then turned around and followed them. A few moments later, he caught up to them in a remote spot, where he could most effectively kill and escape. He drove alongside the girls, stopped, and said ‘girls' to get their attention. Then, while Vanessa was looking straight at him and was thus a simple and easy target, he shot her between the eyes, and while Kelly had a brief moment to turn her head away and was thus a moving and more difficult target, he took aim and shot her in the head. Kelly's turning of her head was what saved her life.
While the girls lay on the ground, Mr. Edwards had the mental fortitude to get out of his truck, run to the back, and open its rear gate, perhaps to load their bodies in the bed of his truck. As a camper approached in another truck, Mr. Edwards was able to slam the rear gate of his truck shut, return to the cab and speed away. The camper in the truck took pursuit, but, after a high speed chase, Mr. Edwards was able to get away.
He then had the presence of mind to elude an extensive manhunt by law enforcement that lasted several days. This was no crime of impulse. It was a crime of planning, premeditation and deliberation·