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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    MD - Elizabeth Archard, 13, abducted & murdered, Prince George's Co., 28 Aug 1978

    The following case has been posted in the thread titled Possible Links on the Featured Case of the Lyon sisters, Katherine and Sheila who went missing on 25 March 1975. There was a three year separation between the Lyon Case and the murder of Elizabeth. Still, I wonder if there might be a connection?

    Because Elizabeth Archard's murder is still unsolved, I felt that it should also be posted here in Cold Case files on its own thread.

    Here is an unsolved case of the abduction, rape, and murder of a Prince Georges County, Maryland girl, which took place on 28 August 1978. The area where this took place is not far from Bowie mall, which is one of the places where a "Tape Recorder Man" had been seen back in March of 1975.

    These links are to newspaper stories about the murder of Elizabeth Archard, age 13. The story includes a composite sketch of a suspect, described as a white male, about 30 years old. He was between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet one inch tall, weight 180 - 200 pounds. Hair was described both as dark, and as light.

    Evidently there were varying descriptions and two sketches in police files. One of those sketches is included in the first link below.

    Because the text is hard to read, I have transcribed the story below the links.

    first part with composite drawing:

    and continuation here : http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k235/fireangeldancer/continuation1.jpg

    Annapolis, MD Friday September, 4, 1978

    Slain Girl Sexually Molested

    Elizabeth Archard, the 13-year-old county girl, who was slain more than a week ago , was sexually molested, contrary to earlier reports, the Evening Capitol has learned.

    Prince Georges County police spokesmen John Hoxie said this morning that the medical examiner's report did state that the teenager had been sexually molested but the police withheld that information even from the parents,

    "Initially, we didn't think so (that she was sexually molested)," Hoxie said "But the autopsy showed she was."

    Prince Georges County police , until now had not released any specific information from the medical examiner's report, claiming that they did not want to make public details that only the police and the suspect would know.

    Hoxie said this morning that the police were also trying to spare Miss Archard's parents, Philip and Barbara Hale, further grief by withholding information that their daughter had been sexually molested.

    The girl's body was found off Governor Bridge Road near Bowie on Aug. 29. She had been reported missing at 1 p.m. Aug, 28.

    Police said she was last seen riding her bicycle at Forest Drive and Spa Road from a dental appointment to her 453 Waggamon Circle home.

    Her new bicycle was found about 24 hours later near a pony riding ring on Spa road, about two miles from her home. Her body was found less than eight hours later. Police said she had been shot. Other reports indicate that she had been shot several times in the head.

    Police are still searching for a man who was probably the last person to see Miss Archard alive.

    At least three witnesses described the man, who was seen in a parked car near the riding ring on Spa road the day Miss Archard was reported missing.

    The description of the man differ. While Prince Georges Couty Police publicly say they are using the second of two drawings of the man, sources at other police agencies say they are using the first and officially unreleased drawing.

    They differ in some features. The key difference is in the hair. One witness told police the man had dark hair.. Two witnesses said he had light brown or blonde hair.

    Prince Georges County Police refused to comment on the discrepancies.

    The man is described as white, 30 years old, five feet eleven inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 180 to 200 pounds.

    He is heavy set with fair complexion. It was reported that he also had a light tan or sunburn on his face and arms .

    He was seen in a 1970 to 1974 mid-size car, possibly a Ford or a Mercury. The two-door car possibly had dents on the driver's side and has a vinyl roof.

    There are discrepancies in the descriptions of color, but most sources say it is rust-color.

    Police say he is not a suspect, but, since he most likely seen Miss Archard he probably has valuable information.

    Prince Georges County Police finished most of their interviews with residents in Wild Rose Shores, Miss Archard's community, and neighboring areas earlier this week. They are now investigating past sexual assaults and violent crimes in the area to find any possible connection with the murder of Miss Archard.

    Hoxie said that police would have taken that course if Miss Archard had not been sexually molested. "We would have done that anyway" he said. "We have done that from the outset."

    "It (sexual molestation) is most probable in this type of thing." he said.

    To better coordinate the effort between Ann Arundel County and Prince Georges County police departments, an Anne Arundel County police detective will now.... (continuation...)
    work as a liaison between the two departments.

    After detectives from the two departments met yesterday, Hoxie said, they decided to have one detective from Anne Arundel County work with Prince Georges County "on a formal basis".

    He will attend meetings and "critiques" at the Forrestville headquarters so that both departments are continually aware of what the other is doing, Hoxie Said.

    Here is her listing in the Social Security Death Index:

    Birth 25 Sep 1964
    Death Aug 1978
    Last Residence 21404 (Annapolis, Anne Arundel, MD)
    Last Benefit (none specified)
    SSN 215-82-4858
    State issued Maryland

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Los Angeles, CA - I'm officially a "Valley Girl"
    I lived here. This is where I grew up. I was 8 years old when this happened and can sort of remember this happening. Mostly, I remember my bike riding days ended. There were a lot of strange things happening to little girls in this area for several years. There were three little girls that were murdered by their neighbor in Glen Burnie in either 78 or 79.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by KrisNine
    ...There were a lot of strange things happening to little girls in this area for several years. There were three little girls that were murdered by their neighbor in Glen Burnie in either 78 or 79.
    Do you recall the names of the other girls or their attacker? Was this case ever connected to them?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Los Angeles, CA - I'm officially a "Valley Girl"
    I don't remember their names or the names of their attacker. I wish I could remember more. He was young, I want to say late teens and he lured them into the woods somehow. Maybe he promised them he was going to fix a bike or give them a bike. He was a neighbor and was caught quickly. I also think he died in prison.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    victim of Ron Meroney?

    I can't seem to recover his post from his archives, but I recall that super crime-blogger Steve Huff, of Huff's Crime Blog (http://www.huffcrimeblog.com) and Crimeblog.us (http://www.crimeblog.us), wrote about possible victims of the "Tape Recorder Man", who may very well have been Memphis, Tennessee TV broadcaster Ron Meroney. Meroney recently pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse in Maryland (see Steve's post about that plea here: http://crimeblog.us/?p=135 ).

    Anyway, I wonder if Meroney could be linked to Elizabeth's disappearance?

    Rats. I'm sorry I can't find Steve's older post from May 2006 that made me think of Elizabeth's case. I'm not sure whether Steve lost his posts from the huffcrimeblog.com after March 2006. I'll see if I can retrieve it...
    Last edited by maima; 10-31-2006 at 05:26 PM. Reason: corrected info

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    The 3 girls in Glen Burnie were murdered by a 16 year old named Stewart Kriener. He lived in the same neighborhood as the girls (Southgate). His parents found his bloody clothes under his bed and turned him in to the police. He later hung himself in prison. Sadly, 2 of the girls were sisters. I lived in Glen Burnie at the time of the killings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Los Angeles, CA - I'm officially a "Valley Girl"
    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeForAll
    The 3 girls in Glen Burnie were murdered by a 16 year old named Stewart Kriener. He lived in the same neighborhood as the girls (Southgate). His parents found his bloody clothes under his bed and turned him in to the police. He later hung himself in prison. Sadly, 2 of the girls were sisters. I lived in Glen Burnie at the time of the killings.
    Thank you for the information, JusticeForAll. I thought I was going crazy because I couldn't find anything about this online. That was probably one of the first times I realized bad things happened to little kids. Do you remember the year? Was it 78?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    not much online so far

    I found very little on the crime so far but I did find a couple of interesting webpages in the process of searching:

    " . . .MARYLAND
    The Courier
    UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The sentencing hearing for Frank Benham of Lincoln has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Friday after Benham missed a court date Thursday morning.
    Benham is to be sentenced on second- and third-degree sex charges dating to the 1970s when he was a priest at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Forestville, Md.
    Benham has entered into a plea agreement with Princes Georges County Assistant State’s Attorney Renee Battle-Brooks, chief of sex and family crimes for the office, in which he admitted to one count of child abuse with a 10-year-old boy and one count of sodomy with a girl, 15.
    Through his attorney, Fred Bennett, of Greenbelt Md., Benham was to seek a lesser sentence of probation or home monitoring, according to Ra-mon Korionoff, spokesman for States Attorney Glenn Ivey.

    Posted by kshaw at 10:59 AM"

    Note I added the bolding in the above article.

    interesting unsolved cases listed by years (site not very current)
    Evidently there was a young actress of the same name.
    Elizabeth Archard
    1973-UK-Childhood Drama

  9. #9
    Richard-Thank you for transcribing that news story. Great work.

    I would love to see a picture of Ron Meroney from around the time Elizabeth Archard was murdered. Comparing the police sketch to photos of him from now really make me wonder.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Southgate Murders


    The murders happened in 1977. The Maryland Gazette ran an article in October of 2002 about the 25 year anniversary of the slainings. I tried to read it but you have to pay to read the full article. The girls attended Southgate Elementary School and the school had a memorial made dedicated to the girls. I can't remember their names, I think the two sister's last name was Hogan. They are all buried at Glen Haven Cemetery in Glen Burnie. My parents are buried there and I remember seeing the gravesite sometime in the late 70's.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    This case is not unsolved

    I remember the death of Elizabeth Archard vividly, and I guess I'm not surprised to see that others do too. I've never forgotten it. I was a teenager at the time, and quite hurt, as I knew some of her family, including an older sister and her mother, both of whom showed amazing grace and courage at the time. That said, this case isn't cold. I remember the arrest and trial of a suspect, who was convicted, and narrowly escaped the death penalty, due to a typo in the Maryland death penalty statute. A comma was missing someplace. You can search in google news by the name of the suspect, William Joseph Parker, and find a report of his arrest, published in the Evening Capital on September 18, 1978. The issue with the death penalty is published in the Evening Capital on May 16, 1979. Parker remains in prison, held in a facility in Hagerstown, Maryland. Whether or not he will be paroled is unclear to me. I hope he never is.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Similarities in other cases?

    Bumping this case up.

    Although it may be a closed case, vice a cold one, I would like to hear more about the specifics which helped to solve it and to convict this William Joseph Parker.

    A crime like this is not an unfortunate accident or one time act. It is very likely that the perpetrator did this before and after the case at hand. Could he be tied to some of the many unsolved cold cases from the 1970's?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Elizabeth Archard

    It was so long ago that I don't recall fully the specifics of Parker's arrest; he was a drifter with no fixed address. I don't know if he was ever connected to another case, but he has been in custody since his arrest in 1978, so thankfully he has not been able to do any more harm. In closing I will say that this website provides a good service; if trading information here lands just one person in jail, or settles a lingering question for someone, then it has done a world of good.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Baltimore Sun Article
    May 23, 1997

    Eighteen years ago, when a Maryland judge sent William Joseph Parker to prison for life, I thought it was an extremely good idea. Parker was, physically and by deed, one of the scariest men I'd ever seen in a defendant's chair. No one I know wanted to see his face or to recall his ugly crime again.

    But by complete coincidence, Parker's is the last of three cases scheduled on the day I've chosen to check out the state's relatively new system of open parole hearings.

    Emerging from a holding cell, Parker appears before us -- wide forehead, receding hairline, the nose as flat as a boxer's and the lips fixed in a subtle sneer -- in the sunlit room set aside for hearings at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Hagerstown. His face is puffier and paler but no less menacing than it was in 1979. Chunky, with thick forearms, Parker wears a plaid shirt and jeans.

    The last time I'd seen him was May 15, 1979. He was sitting in Prince George's County Circuit Court, Upper Marlboro, awaiting his sentence for an act that earned him the title of every parent's nightmare. He had abducted from her bicycle, then raped and murdered a 13-year-old Annapolis girl named Elizabeth Archard. He shot her five times and left her body in a wooded area near Bowie in Prince George's.

    Parker, listed in press reports as a "former Anne Arundel County volunteer firefighter" and nothing more, was spared a death sentence by a comma, or the lack thereof.

    At the time of his crime, this is how Maryland law defined the circumstances under which a judge could sentence a killer to death: "The defendant committed the murder while committing or attempting to commit robbery, arson, or rape or sexual offense in the first degree."

    The lack of a comma after the word "rape" meant the phrase "in the first degree" modified the words "rape or sexual offense." Parker had been convicted of second-degree rape. That's why he was spared the death penalty.

    Judge Howard Chasanow, now of the Maryland Court of Appeals, made the ruling before sentencing Parker. "I am giving you every day I possibly can," Chasanow told him. "I would not consider suspending one hour of your sentence."

    The sentence was life. Not life without parole. So, 18 years later, Parker gets his hearing in Hagerstown.

    But not without first hearing from the parents of his victim.They come, bravely, to sit in the same room with the killer, to recall the girl who was viciously snapped away from them on a summer day in 1978.

    Barbara Hale is the mother; her husband is Phillip Doubleday Hale. I remember him from Parker's sentencing. He was 52 at the time. He sat in a courtroom pew, ramrod straight in a three-piece summer suit, jotting down Parker's monosyllabic utterances. Hale had then, as he does now, a monocle and a mustache. I remember thinking that Elizabeth Archard's stepfather resembled a correspondent for a British newspaper.

    I also remember small children sitting next to Hale in the courtroom. Those children, siblings of the victim, are grown now, in their 20s, and they've also come to Hagerstown."Our family was shattered," Philip Hale tells Patricia Cushwa, chairwoman of the Maryland Parole Commission, and Maceo Williams, the other commissioner assigned to Hagerstown for the day. "We live in a time warp. Every day is August 28."

    He says Elizabeth's four siblings were profoundly affected by her murder. "The three boys do not know where they failed in protecting their sister," he says. "Some of the boys are just now facing what happened..."

    Philip Hale looks at Parker, 15 feet away."We fear this man," he says sternly. "We fear what he may do to others.... If there is to be a healing, it cannot happen if William Joseph Parker is to be released. We ask you to fulfill the judgment the court passed on him -- that he be in prison for the rest of his life."

    Barbara Hale speaks of how children and parents throughout Anne Arundel County were terrified by what happened to her daughter in the summer of 1978.

    Philip Hale adds the words: "When you see a little child go down the street on a bike..."

    He halts, shakes his head, weeps. He can say no more.

    "I take full responsibility for what I did," Joe Parker says after the Hales leave the room. "I feel sorry for the family. I'm sorry I did what I did."

    Under questioning by Williams and Cushwa, Parker says he remembers the rape but not the shooting.

    Cushwa repeatedly challenges that assertion."You've had 19 years to think about this, Mr. Parker," she says, suggesting that he killed Elizabeth Archard only because he feared she could identify him as her rapist.

    At the time of his crime, Parker was 28 years old, separated from his wife and drinking too much. And he was full of rage. Where did it come from? Williams and Cushwa ask Parker if he can say why he ravished and murdered the Archard girl?

    But after all these years, Joe Parker still doesn't have a clue because he hasn't explored the subject much. He rejected the psychiatric treatment offered to all sexual offenders while they are in prison. "Things piled up," he says at one point, followed by this cryptic slip: "I was having a lot of problems with my mother."

    "What's frightening, Mr. Parker, is you don't know why," says Cushwa, pointing out that sexual offenders have one of the highest rates of recidivism.

    She reminds Parker that he was spared the death penalty in 1979.

    "You know you got a break in court," she says.

    "Yes," he answers, head bowed, hands folded on the table.

    "You know, Mr. Parker, that you are every parent's nightmare."

    "Yes," he says, adding later: "People in the street don't want to see me out, and I understand that. I live every day, just, just keep going, moving through every day."

    At some point, near the end of the hearing, we hear the pathetic William Joseph Parker tell the parole commissioners: "You could put me out there again tomorrow and never have to worry about me doing anything, not even jaywalking."

    Williams and Cushwa reject any leniency for Parker, and they tell him there will be no more parole hearings. He's in to stay. It doesn't matter that he has a clean prison record, either.

    Remarkably, Parker seems surprised to hear this. Barely containing his anger, he frowns heavily and huffs something about going to court to challenge the ruling. A correctional officer leads him out of the hearing chamber to a holding cell, and we hear the clank and ring of a prison door.



    2010 update: William Joseph Parker is still incarcerated in Maryland's prison system.
    Last edited by Richard; 05-23-2010 at 09:45 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Elizabeth Archard

    Hi all,

    I am the youngest sibling of Elizabeth Archard. Let me fill you in on how I came to see this site and blog, and how things are for us today.

    I am now 45 and have two children of my own, a 14 yr. old son and an 11 yr. old daughter whom I named after my sister. I have shared bits and pieces of my sister’s story with my children as they’ve grown, but not a lot of detail.

    My daughter had an assignment at school to Google her name. Well, the first link to pop up was this blog. I would have never dreamed of this taking place even though I know how easy it is to find information on the web. I’ve even searched for my sister in the past, but do not remember this link ever appearing.

    All is good today, and they know they may ask me questions anytime they feel the need.

    Yes, William Parker is to this day still in a Maryland prison where he will die. My mom calls the Prison System each year to inquire about him. I pray she lives to hear them tell her that he has died!

    Elizabeth’s four surviving siblings are all doing well in life, successful at their chosen careers, and my parents are enjoying their retirement. We all thank you for your thoughts and prayers during those horrendous days after Elizabeth’s death; during the trial; and the years that followed.

    To those who manage this site or participate in supporting those in need, thank you!

    Charlton Archard

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