Elizabeth Ann Metzler
Abducted, molested, and murdered 6 December 1971
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Below is an excerpt from a news article about this case and others from the same area.
Mon, Sept. 17, 1973
5 MURDERS UNSOLVED
2 girls, 2 D.C.men, woodcutter victims.
When the body of 10-year-old Elizabeth Ann Metzler was found buried under a pile of trash along a litter-strewn deserted lover's lane in December 1971, Anne Arundel County Police Lt. Bernnard Kiessling pledged to work fulltime on the case until the little girl's murderer was found.
Now, nearly two years later, Kiessling is no longer putting in the seven-day-a-week schedule he kept up for six months but he is still hopeful the young girl's killer will be found.
That case is one of five murders unsolved by the County Police, not counting one dating back to 1948.
In addition to the Metzler case, county police still have to solve the murder of Pamela Lynn Conyers, a pretty Glen Burnie High School student who disappeared in October 1971 while returning from a shopping trip to the Harundale Mall, the murder, a week earlier of a 40-year-old woodcutter, and the gangland style execution of two Washington men.
The Metzler girl was last seen alive by neighbors walking along a dirt driveway to her home off Quarterfield road in the Ridgeway section of the county after leaving the Ridgeway Elementary school December 6, 1971.
After searching the rest of that day and for the next three days, her nude body was found about five miles from her house alongside an abandoned car off Harmons road.
The little girl had been strangled to death after being viciously assaulted.
Kiessling believes a man in his mid-forties may be the killer. A man spotted near the Metzler driveway by several persons leads police to believe their prime suspect may have brown or possibly dyed hair cut fairly short and combed forward. He may have bulging pale blue eyes and a ruddy complexion, similar to that of an outdoorsman.
In addition, a dirty white station wagon, probably fairly old, was seen in the vicinity of the girl's home.
Since the little girls abduction and death, police have questioned dozens of suspects and, according to Kiessling, have been within five minutes of charging two different persons with the slaying. Those cases fell apart at the last minute.
One person confessed to the killing on three occasions to three different persons, but police, after investigating, decided he could not have committed the crime.
Kiessling has sent investigators to seven states, checking into similar crimes and possible suspects.
To date, nothing has panned out.
Kiessling even recieved aid from a Virginia man who claims to have clairvoyant powers. "I don't believe in clairvoyants, but I can't completely discount them either," Kiessling said, adding that the man predicted to police that a girl with long black hair would be found murdered along Capitol Beltway. A few days later, such a girl was found dead. Police have ruled out the clairvoyant as a suspect, however.
The liutenant has worked with the image of the Metzler girl's killer now for nearly two years and is convinced that whoever killed her has a mentally depraved mind.
"I'm very much afraid," he said," that this person committed a crime like this before or since."
One event which may have led Kiessling to that statement occurred just a few weeks after the Metzler murder, in Marietta Ga, where a 9-year-old girl was walking home from a laundromat disappeard and her body was found a few days later. The victim had wounds similar to those of the Metzler girl and police here believe that Elizabeth Ann's killer could easily have gone to Georgia after the Metzler slaying and committed the other crime.
The driveway from which the little girl was abducted led at one time to a nudist colony known as Hidden Village.
Her disappearance from that driveway was not the first such occurrance. In 1958, a 58-year-old man, William Brooks, was walking along the driveway when he was seized by two men who later killed him and stole his car.
Both men were found, convicted and sentenced to death, but after a lengthy legal battle, their sentences were reduced to life in prison.
Brooks lived in a one room cabin about 100 yards from the ...Metzler home. Keissling investigated that case too....
Article continues to talk about Pamela Lynn Conyers (see separate WS thread), the woodcutter murder, 2 men gunned down, and 1948 murder.
Link below shows a composite sketch of a suspect in the Metzler case:
I have never heard of this case. Thanks Richard for posting it.Originally Posted by Richard
I knew Beth. We both attended St. Joseph's Catholic Church, in Odenton, and were in the same Catechism class together, although I went to Odenton Elementary School.
I don't remember the exact year, I believe that it was sometime in the late 70's, an arrest was made in her murder. The killer's wife contacted police. She had found some bloody clothing in the house shortly after the murder, and was afraid to come forward at the time. After his arrest several other people came forward with information about him being drunk in a bar and rambling on incoherently about killing someone. I think his name was Vernon Chaney. I have tried looking up information on this case over the years and have found nothing.
Beth is buried at Glen Haven Cemetery, in Glen Burnie, not far from were my parents are buried.
I just found this, the the killer's name was Richard Miles Chaney: http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:...lnk&cd=1&gl=us
An interesting 2003 Court decision, but a lot of leaglese to wade through. The Bottom Line was that the origional 1978 guilty verdict and life sentence (without possibility of parole) stood.Originally Posted by JusticeForAll
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF
SPECIAL APPEALS REVERSED;
CASE REMANDED TO THAT
COURT WITH DIRECTIONS TO
AFFIRM THE JUDGMENT OF THE
CIRCUIT COURT FOR CALVERT
COUNTY; ALL COSTS IN THIS
COURT AND THE COURT OF
SPECIAL APPEALS TO BE PAID BY
The death penalty was in effect in 1971 when Chaney murdered little Elizabeth, but by the time he was caught and tried (1978), the Supreme Court had declared the Death Penalty to be Unconstitutional. Everyone on Death Row at the time got their sentences commuted to Life - guys like Charlie Manson, Richard Speck, Sirhan Sirhan, and many others.
Also, for a period of time the highest sentence that could be given was Life in prison. Such was the case for Chaney. "He Got Lucky", and so was still around to appeal his sentence in an effort to gain parole.
Although this case is technically no longer a "Cold Case" what are the possible connections between the murder of little 10 year-old Elizabeth and other similar cases before 1971 and between 1971 and 1978 when this dirtbag was finally caught, tried, convicted, and incarcerated?
What are this guy's vital statistics? Does he match descriptions of suspects in other cases?
Name: Richard Miles Chaney
Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) number 17908
Date of Birth: 19 November 1939
Current age: 67
Age in 1971 at time of Elizabeth's murder: 32
Maryland Correctional Institute-Jessup
Address: P.O. Box 549, Jessup, MD 20794
This hits home for me. I grew up here and this was my elementary school. I wasn't in school at the time (I was a baby), but my aunt was 14 or 15 at the time and this man approached her this very day and offered her a ride while she was walking home from her friends house. When news reports came in about Elizabeth missing, my grandparents called the police and reported what happened to my aunt. The police came to my grandparents house and interviewed my aunt. She gave a description of the man that approached her, she believes to this day that the man was Richard Chaney.
Does anyone know if there was a strong case against Richard Chaney in the murder of Elizabeth Ann Metzler? Was the evidence overwhelming? Did he confess? Also does anyone know of any personal information on Richard Miles Chaney.Like where did he live at the time? What kind of work did he do? Where was he employed.Did he own other cars? Did he have a prior criminal record? Your help would be greatly appreciated.
What is the story of the Woodcutter? Thanks, D
Did they have any potential DNA that can (or was) tested?
Everyday it is my fervent prayer that these cases are solved
Bumping Thread up. Does anyone see any possible links between the convicted killer of this little girl and other cases of the early 1970's?
I knew Elizabeth as well. I was in the first grade at Ridgeway Elementary ...I assume she was in the 5th or 6th. She was always very sweet to me. I remember my mom and a friend of hers talking about an article in the paper and I noticed her picture. At that age I had no idea why her picture would be in the paper. I guess mom must have explained to me why she was in a way that my young mind could grasp what had happened. I vividly remember hearing them discuss the case in a conversation I was not supposed to hear.
That has haunted me all these years. I dont know why, but today (39 years later) I felt compelled to search her name on the internet.
I was very glad to see that someone was finally arrested for the crime. Do you know if the guy (Chaney) is still alive? Anyway, reading the information on this post has brought a little piece of mind to something that has been bothering me for decades.
Dave, Welcome to Websleuths. Thanks for your post. Interesting how sometimes we think of people from the past and then reconnect in some way.
So many of these cases could be related. This one took seven years to solve. One wonders how many other children disappeared or were murdered by this guy in the intervening years.
such a sad story.....and I was born 10 days later.
It's 5 o'clock somewhere
The Lyon case has been very strong in my conscience this week. This case could very well be connected to the sister's abduction
6 December will mark the 39th anniversary of the murder of little Elizabeth Ann Metzler. The case remains unsolved.
I was in Elizabeth's grade at Ridgeway. She was the nicest girl. I was extremely shy and didn't make friends very easily but she was so sweet and friendly she was so easy to hang around. We heard the news report that night and from then on Ridgeway was never the same for me. I spent every recess and gym class trying to stay away from the school playground boundaries because I was afraid someone was just outside them waiting to grab one of us kids. I think of her every so often and used to wonder if they ever caught someone for this brutal crime. Thank you so much for this forum because I never thought to Google her name before but thanks to you, now I know. It gives me some closure to hear this animal is rotting in prison for what he did.
In October, 1968, I was 8 years old. I lived in the Glen-Mar Apartments off of Crane Highway in Glen Burnie, MD. Quarterfield Rd. wasn't very far from where I lived.
My sister (3 1/2 yrs. old), my cousin (5 yrs. old), and I were playing on the playground of the apartment complex. The playground was adjacent a wooded area. A man emerged from around the side of a brushy area. He was wearing nothing but a baseball cap and woven deck shoes. I screamed "RUN" to my sister and cousin and ran back to the apartment building in which we lived. When I got to the building I realized that they were not with me and turned to see them standing staring at the man. I ran back and grabbed their hands. He was in a squatting position fondling himself. I remember hearing him say to them "I showed you mine, now you show me yours". I tugged on them and screamed "RUN" again and this time they ran with me.
My parents called the police. I was forced to graphically show the police what I had seen and describe the man to them. The other girls were too young and too traumatized to really say anything at all. They remember little of the event as adults. The man was never caught.
My cousin and I have discussed this a time or two over the years. The other day she told me about Richard Chaney and the murder of Elizabeth Ann Metzler. My parents moved from the area in 1970 and I had never heard of this before. I read the particulars of this case and the one of the young woman being last seen at the Harundale Mall. These girls were taken from vicinity of where I had lived. When I read about Richard Chaney and looked at the sketched image of him, I became violently ill and started crying. I can't help but wonder if this was the man that was at the playground. His age is correct, the sexual intent is correct, the area is correct, and I believe in my heart of hearts that this was him. I don't know why (other than perhaps sheer numbers) that we weren't attacked, but I thank God every day that we made it physically unscathed.
I have carried the image of this man with me all of my life. I had nightmares for years and was afraid of the dark even longer. This incident directly impacted how I raised my children and where I chose to live. I cannot and will not live in a suburban area. I am now a grandmother and I live in mortal fear for my babies. Whether Chaney is the man of my nightmares or not, I pray that he never sees freedom and that he has "enjoyed" every moment of his incarceration.
Baltimore Sun Article June 11, 2003
Life sentence upheld in 1971 killing of child Judge didn't need to say suspended term was possible, court rules
By Andrea F. Siegel
The state's highest court upheld yesterday the life sentence of an Odenton man convicted of murder in the death of a child who was walking home from school, a 1971 crime that led to one of the most intense searches in Anne Arundel County history.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the judge who sentenced Richard Miles Chaney was presumed to have known that he could have suspended part of the sentence, even though he did not say so in court. To prevail, Chaney would have had to prove that the judge made an error, the court said.
Richard Miles Chaney | Life sentence upheld in 1971 killing of child - Baltimore Sun
Cheney appealed his origional sentence of murder in 1979. Here is some of the text of the decision which denied that appeal, and a link to the entire decision.
Decided: June 7, 1979.
RICHARD MILES CHANEY
STATE OF MARYLAND
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Calvert County; Bowen, J.
Moylan, Mason and MacDaniel, JJ. Moylan, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
A criminal justice system, by its very nature, frequently involves the delicate balancing of competing interests. A society dedicated to human liberty must be ever vigilant that a suspect never be compelled to incriminate himself. That same society, legitimately concerned with protecting itself from its predators, must also be sensitive to the value of an admission or confession, properly obtained, as sometimes indispensable evidence of guilt. But for the confession in the case at bar, a brutal sexual assault and strangulation of a ten-year-old girl might have gone forever unredressed.
On December 6, 1971, ten-year-old Elizabeth Ann Metzler failed to return from school to her home in northern Anne Arundel County. On the next day, her lifeless body was found in the woods several miles from home. She had been sexually molested and strangled. Although suspicion centered on the appellant, Richard Miles Chaney, the evidence of guilt was not sufficient to bring charges. Instead of relegating this senseless murder to the dustbin of "unsolved crimes," the Anne Arundel County police bided their time and with patient diligence maintained the investigation. It ultimately bore fruit with the indictment of the appellant 5 1/2 years later. The appellant, following a removal, was ultimately found guilty by a Calvert County jury, presided over by Judge Perry G. Bowen, Jr., of murder in the first degree. Although bits and pieces of the case for the State were put together from a variety of sources over the course of the years, the capstone was the appellant's confession. The prime thrust of this appeal is his challenge to its admissibility. ...
Judgment affirmed; costs to be paid by appellant.