10-31-2006, 03:38 PM #1Registered User
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MD - Kathy Beatty, 15, Aspen Hill, 24 July 1975
The following information is also included in the Websleuths Featured Case about Sheila and Katherine Lyon, sisters missing from Wheaton, MD since 1975. Because Kathy Lynn Beatty's case remains unsolved as well, I felt that it should have its own thread here in Cold Cases. Visit the Lyon Sisters Case to read more.
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.
In 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.
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."
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.
11-03-2006, 01:40 PM #2Registered User
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Carolyn Majane Case connected?
Kathy's case has been discussed here on Websleuths in the past. One possible connection mentioned was the disappearance of Carolyn Majane on 15 August 1975, only a few days after Kathy died from her injuries.
Caroline was origionally from Bethesda, MD which is in Montgomery County, not far from Wheaton and Aspen Hill. She had, however moved with her family some time before her disappearance/murder.
Is there a connection - other than a strong coincidence?
Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community - Who murdered Carolyn Majane?
01-26-2007, 11:20 PM #3Registered User
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bumping Kathy's case...
06-13-2007, 10:12 AM #4Registered User
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Could the below case possibly be linked to the attack on Kathy Beatty? Note that both were abducted, physically assulted, and left for dead near a drainage ditch by a large department store.
The attacks occurred about 17 days apart.
Photos of Kathy resemble the composite drawing of this other girl. Both had long dark hair parted in the middle. Similar size and description.
A possible suspect, Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. was a computer specialist with Vitro Laboratories which had four offices near Wheaton, one of them only blocks from Kathy's house in Aspen Hill.
Coffey departed the Wheaton, Maryland area very suddenly when it was reported in the papers that Kathy Beatty had survived her attack and was in the hospital. Unfortunately, she never regained conciousness, and died 5 August 1975.
Coffey later wrote to his employer claiming (falsly) that his wife and daughter had been in a car accident in Kentucky, and that he had to go to them. He asked that his last paycheck be mailed to him. Where he actually went in late July/early August 1975 is anyone's guess.
Coffey was convicted in 1987 of First Degree Murder for killing 10-year-old Amanda Ray in Charlotte, NC in 1979. Her body was found in a remote area near water.
Unidentified White Female
Discovered on August 16, 1975 in East Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut.
Estimated date of death: August 11, 1975.
Estimated age: 18 - 28 years old
Approximate Height and Weight: 5'5" - 5'6"; 125 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair, parted in center. Brown/hazel eyes. She had pierced ears. She may have had a small mole under the chin. She possibly had comestic surgery to reduce the size of the nose.
Dentals: Available. Probable orthodontic care.
Clothing: No clothing located.
The woman’s strangled body was found by a truck driver on a rainy August 16, 1975, floating in a drainage ditch behind the former Bradlees department store on Frontage Road. She was wrapped in a canvas tarpaulin and she was gagged and bound by black antenna wire around her neck, waist and knees. Police believe she was killed somewhere else and dumped on Frontage Road. She died of asphyxiation by suffocation at least five days prior to discovery.
Dried white paint spots on the tarpaulin might indicate the murderer had connections with the painting trade.
If you have any information about this case please contact:
East Haven Police Department
Detective Sgt Scobie
ID Wanted Organization
The Doe Network: Case File 93UFCT
01-09-2008, 03:24 PM #5Registered User
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Chronology of events
24 July 1975 (Thursday)
4 PM: Kathy is at home with her mother (Mrs. Beatty) . She had been inside all day watching television and asks her mother if she can go outside and ride her bike.
Her mother says yes she can, but invites her to travel to Baltimore to attend a Maryland Lottery dinner drawing that evening. Kathy declines, so her mother tells her to fix her own supper when she returns from her bike ride.
Her mother tells Kathy that she will be home by 9 PM. She expects Kathy to be home by 8:30 PM, because she was always in by sun down.
6:30 or 7 PM: A boy who lives next door stops by to see Kathy at home. He had brings her a shirt from Ocean City, chats with her awhile, then leaves.
About 8:30 PM: Near Parkland Junior High School, Kathy is seen walking alone by several known youngsters about Kathy's age. Although they later say that they saw her at the school, none of them claim that they were with her. They later refused to take polygraph tests.
Some time after 8:30 PM: Kathy receives a fatal blow to her head and is left lying behind the K-Mart at Georgia and Connecticut Avenues.
11 PM: Mrs. Beatty returns home. The house is dark and Kathy is not at home. When she turns on the lights there is a note from Kathy saying she has gone to a friend's and will be back at 10 PM. It is raining, and Kathy's mother assumes her daughter is waiting for a ride home.
All night long her mother searches for Kathy. Including contacting homes of some of her friends. Kathy is not located. The father of a "boyfriend" goes out to a camper in his backyard to ask his son if he has seen Kathy, but finds that his son and his son's buddy are not in the camper.
25 July 1975 (Friday)
7 AM: The "boyfriend" calls Kathy's home to state that he has not seen her.
Early morning, sometime after 7 AM: Kathy is found by her sister Theresa and Theresa's boyfriend in a 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.
Kathy is unconscious, suffering from a with a depressed fracture of the skull. She is barely alive. Kathy had been sexually assaulted but not raped. Her purse is found nearby.
Found beside Kathy are a set of keys. The keys do not belong to Kathy, and investigators suspect that they may have been dropped by her assailant.
Kathy is taken to Suburban Hospital by ambulance. In the hospital, Kathy never regains conciousness.
5 August 1975 (Friday)
Kathy dies of complications from her injuries, including blood poisoning in the Intensive Care Unit at Suburban Hospital.
6 January 1977: Washington Post Article about Kathy's murder, which remains unsolved.
1987: Fred Howard Coffey, Jr. a convicted child molester and murderer comes to the attention of Montgomery County Police as a possible suspect in Kathy's murder, but lack of evidence prevents them from charging him. In July 1975, Coffey had been working for Vitro Laboratories, which had four offices in the Wheaton/Aspen Hill/Rockville Maryland area. The parking lot of one Vitro Office is located between Kathy's house and the K-Mart where she was found.
Last edited by Richard; 01-09-2008 at 03:46 PM. Reason: corrections to present tense
02-04-2008, 12:19 PM #6Registered User
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Kathy Beatty's case featured on WUSA TV 9 Cold Cases
Last night at 11:15, WUSA TV Channel 9 featured the Cold Case of Kathy Lynn Beatty's Murder. The video coverage included several photos of Kathy and of the murder scene.
Below is a link to WUSA9's Cold Case Website.
The Murder Of Kathy Lynn Beatty
Date created: 2/3/2008 4:06:55 PM
ASPEN HILL, Md. (WUSA) -- Kathy Lynn Beatty was walking barefoot through her Aspen Hill neighborhood on a warm summer night in July 1975.
Her mother, Patricia Haberman, had told her to be home before dark.
Kathy's older sister found her the next morning in a wooded area near a K-Mart store by Connecticut and Georgia Avenues. Kathy was barely alive. She had been raped, beaten--her skull was fractured.
Patricia Haberman says she was driving to where her daughter was found when she had to pull over to the side to let the ambulance pass by. "...and I said, please don't let it go to K-Mart...but it did."
Kathy was taken to Suburban Hospital but she never regained consciousness. She died August 5, 1975.
"What jumps out the most is the brutality of it," says Montgomery County Police detective Joe Mordano (sp?). "It was really vicious."
Detective Mordano says Kathy's clothes were scattered all over the woods. This, he says, was a teen hangout where some drank and did drugs. They called it the rocks, the trails. Police believe Kathy's attacker knew her.
Mrs. Haberman remembers the call from a strange, older boy, claiming to know the killer. "A girl, and she's possessed by the devil," Kathy's mother says the caller told her. And then she says the caller said, "..could I have been so f***ed up that I could've done it?"
For Mrs. Haberman it's been a 32 year nightmare not knowing who did it and why. She said she hopes that somebody who was there and wants to get it off their conscience makes the one phone call that can bring her some measure of peace.
That's the same phone call detective Joe Mordano is waiting for. "It's not right that this person did such a gross, horrible thing... that he walks free today."
If you have any information that may help solve this case call Montgomery County Police at 866-411-8477 or 240-773-5038.
Written by Todd McDermott
WUSA9.com - The Murder Of Kathy Lynn Beatty
08-06-2008, 12:58 PM #7Registered User
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Bumping case up due to recent re-newed interest.
03-10-2009, 07:40 PM #8Registered User
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Vitro Parking Lot...
The "Old" Vitro building is gone, having been replaced by a Home Depot. There is a "back parking lot", however, which used to be part of the Vitro lot. This old lot is adjacent to homes in Kathy's neighborhood, and is actually quite close to her house. The most direct route for someone walking to K-Mart would have been right through this lot.
There is a very large Office building belonging today to BAE Systems. It is located on the corner of Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Ave. This was the "New" Vitro building in 1975. It is adjacent to where the "Old" Vitro was located and the parking lot in question is accessable by driving to the rear of this building, or by taking the Home Depot exit off Georgia Ave.
03-12-2009, 11:19 PM #9
.............where they ever able, to match any of those keys, with any7 of the suspects.........if there was a car key , house key, business key, mailbox key etc......but especially a car/truck key.....i wonder if they match the key/keys to the type of vehicle back then, and see if any of the suspects had a vehicle similar that that key would fit??...........and the same for the other keys??..do you know, if that was done??
03-13-2009, 11:12 AM #10Registered User
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It would seem that a listing of each key by lock type might produce a possible profile of the killer. For instance what type of vehicle(s), what type of door locks, what mail boxes, etc.
It was determined that the keys did NOT belong to Kathy.
03-13-2009, 09:38 PM #11
forgot to add...
...................quote....................It would seem that a listing of each key by lock type might produce a possible profile of the killer. For instance what type of vehicle(s), what type of door locks, what mail boxes, etc................................I agree with this.................and all just MOO...NOTHING FACTUAL .......ALL ASSUMPTIONS AND SPECULATIONS ON MY PART.........
Last edited by :+:MrTT:+:; 03-13-2009 at 09:41 PM. Reason: forgot to add...
03-14-2009, 07:40 AM #12Registered User
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She doesn't look young for her age:
but the profile and the way in which she was described by her mother - not allowed out after 8.30 p.m., asking permission to ride her bike, being very coy about her involvement with a boy, seems more appropriate to a girl three years younger or more.
I wasn't born until three years after Kathy died but does she sound as though she was treated like a much younger girl? Were her parents what we might call "overprotective"? Was she in some way developmentally delayed? Might that have made her more trusting or might she have had some kind of secret life?
03-15-2009, 04:53 PM #13Registered User
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I believe that the numeral "7" which appeared in the post I referenced was simply a stray figure or a typo. I have never seen it stated how many keys were on the ring, and I have never heard of any specifically identified suspects - although police may have questioned a number of people no "suspects" were ever formally named.
DNA was unknown in 1975. About all that might have been done back then would have been to try to lift finger prints and perhaps do blood typing tests on evidence. It is likely also that by this time those keys have been handled by numerous police investigators, which would negate any kind of possible DNA tests today.
However, there could well be other items still in existance which could be tested for DNA.
The keys are likely still in an evidence storage, along with other items as the case is still an open one.
03-15-2009, 05:03 PM #14Registered User
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I am not certain what the family life was like, but requiring her to be home by 8:30 PM seems reasonable to me, especially in light of the fact that her mother would be out that evening. Kathy was obviously aware of the time requirement/guideline and of the importance of letting her mother know where she was - as evidenced by the note that she left to explain her absence and intention to return by 10 PM.
It should be noted, however, that she may have been trying to decieve her mother with the note because she stated that she was going to see a certain girlfriend, but actually did not go to see her. Her mother suspected that she had gone instead to see a boy that she had liked.
Kathy lived with an older sister and her mother. I have never heard any references made to her father. Her parents may have been separated or divorced.
03-22-2009, 10:43 AM #15
would be nice...
.That is, as long as the person those keys belong to, was a local, and not a out of towner?
ALL MOO...nothing factual or for certain, all speculation on my part!
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