Identified! Mystery couple murdered in South Carolina, 1976 - Pamela Buckley & James Freund #10

Discussion in 'Mystery couple murdered South Carolina 1976' started by Richard, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    The following ran in The Item newspaper on August 12, 2001.

    The Mystery: No I.D., No Leads, No Justice
    By Sharyn Lucas-Parker, Senior Staff Writer, The Item

    In August of 1976, a woman and a man were found slain beside a dirt road in Sumter County. The deaths are unsolved and they still are unidentified. But they are not forgotten

    The two people buried in Bethel United Methodist Church cemetery whose bronze plaques read ''Male Unknown, Aug. 9, 1976," and ''Female Unknown, Aug. 9, 1976,'' never attended a service at the Oswego church or paid tithes there. But for the past 24 years, the members of the church have made sure their resting places remain free of weeds and overgrown grass and that fresh bouquets of flowers mark their graves.

    There has been no one else to do it.

    ''If it were some of our children, we would hope someone would do the same thing for us,'' said the Rev. Michael Henderson, who has been the pastor for six years. ''It's part of that 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"

    Somewhere, perhaps thousands of miles away, or maybe just a state or even only a county over, local authorities believe there are heart-sick relatives who might suspect, but don't know for certain, their loved ones are dead.

    Twenty-eight years after the young woman and man were found dead on a dark, secluded Sumter County dirt road between Interstate 95 and S.C. 341, their identities as well as that of their killer or killers remain a mystery.

    That thought haunts Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore and drives her to continue trying to find the answers she needs to solve this puzzle that dates back to Aug. 9, 1976.

    "I have not given up on this case,'' said Moore, who was deputy coroner back then. ''The reason I am haunted is, I cannot understand how two young people disappeared from somewhere and that their parents would not be looking for them. This does not make sense to me. Somebody somewhere is missing a son or a daughter.''

    The case also bothers Sumter County Sheriff Tommy Mims, who was an investigator with the sheriff's office at the time.

    ''This is one of several cases over the years that we would certainly love to bring to a close so we can identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice on this,'' Mims said.

    The story begins around 6:20 a.m. on August 9, when a trucker driving along what was commonly known as Locklair Road, a frontage road just off the interstate, stopped to rest.

    Instead, he found a disturbing scene: Two people lying by the road.

    Links: http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/classics/mystery_couple/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2021
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  2. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Links:

    http://doenetwork.us/cases/198umsc.html

    http://doenetwork.us/cases/189ufsc.html

    Unidentified Caucasian Male
    Located on August 9, 1976 in Sumter, South Carolina.
    An autopsy showed that the victim had been shot at close range in the back, chest and throat.
    The couple had been dead for less than 24 hours.

    Vital Statistics
    Estimated age: 18 - 22 years old but possibly older.
    Approximate Height and Weight: 6'1/4"; 150 lbs.
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown eyes; brown hair. Two 2-inch scars on his right shoulder area. 4" appendectomy scar. Tall and athletic looking. Although both the woman and man were white, investigators described their skin as smooth, with olive undertones.
    Dentals: Available. Extensive dental work. Very elaborate dental work with crowns and bridges. Crown on left front tooth, acrylic or porcelain. Fillings in most of upper teeth and has some missing teeth in top and bottom but noticeable in top back left. He is missing his wisdom teeth on the bottom in the back.
    Clothing: He was wearing a pair of faded Levi blue jeans, a red t-shirt with Coors America's light beer on the front and Camel Challenger G-T Sebring 75 across the back. It most likely came from the 1975 Coor's sponsored Sebring Races in Florida. Inside his pants pocket were a box of Grants Truck Stop Matches. They had likely come from a truckstop in the Midwest.
    Jewelry: He wore a Bulova Accutron yellow gold watch, serial number H918803 on his left hand. Bulova made the piece in 1968. But the company trashed its records when downsizing shortly thereafter, so no one knows where the watches were distributed. A 14 karat gold ring with a gray linde star stone that had the initials JPF engraved on the inside.

    Case History
    In 1976 this male and his companion were found dead on a secluded Sumter County, South Carolina dirt road between Interstate 95 and SC 341. They were located by a trucker driving along what was commonly known as Locklair Road, a frontage road just off the interstate.
    Their identities as well as that of their killer still remains a mystery. Neither had any identification.
    They had no money on them, but there were several clues that led investigators to believe that the couple might have been well-to-do or perhaps even from another country.
    Investigators wondered if they had been hitchhiking cross country, or if they had been victims of a carjacking.
    They were a clean-cut-looking pair. Authorities speculated they might even be brother and sister.

    No drugs or alcohol were found on their bodies. They were not smokers. And neither had on underwear.
    Investigators had checked out every lead, including trying to identify them through their finger prints and using the serial number on the man's watch in hopes of trying to track down the jewelry store where he might have bought the piece of jewelry. Officials with Interpol as well as U.S. Customs investigators and immigration authorities also had been alerted. Contact were made with agencies in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and in the Mediterranean.
    A forensic dentist in Spartanburg charted the young man’s mouth and the American Dental Association published his findings, hoping a dentist somewhere would recognize the work. The dead man had undergone extensive dental work, including fillings, root canals and crowns. No dentist ever came forward.

    The autopsy revealed the pair had eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit not long before they died so investigators were certain the two must have bought the food from a local eatery or store. Someone remembered seeing a couple matching the dead couple's descriptions at a fruit stand that was located off the Florence Highway, but the person couldn't say whether the man and woman were with someone else or if they were riding in a car.

    Months after the homicide, an employee of KOA campgrounds near Santee, S.C., called authorities, believing he had earlier made friends with the dead man, who went by the name “Jock,” according to documents in the case file.
    Jock, or more likely, Jacques, stayed a few days at the campgrounds with his young female companion, then left for Florida. He and his girlfriend stopped at the campgrounds again on their way back.
    The two men became friends. While shooting pool, Jacque told the KOA worker he was the son of a prominent doctor in Canada who had disowned him for giving up on his own career in medicine. He was taking a vacation of sorts, traveling the country aimlessly.
    Before leaving, he tried to pawn an expensive ring to the employee, who later told authorities that the ring had looked a lot like the one found on the mystery man.
    Inside his pocket was a book of Grants Truck Stop matches, which could only be found in Idaho, New Mexico and Nebraska. Authorities think Jacques passed through these places on his travels.

    -----------------------------
    Unidentified Caucasian Female
    Located on August 9, 1976 in Sumter, South Carolina.
    An autopsy showed that the victim had been shot at close range in the back, chest and throat.
    The couple had been dead for less than 24 hours.

    Vital Statistics
    Estimated age: 18 - 20 years old
    Approximate Height and Weight: 5'5"; 100 - 105 lbs.
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Medium-length, brown hair; blue/green or blue-gray eyes. She had two small hair moles on her left cheek and another on the right side of her face. Mole behind right leg (calf). Pierced ears, no surgical scars. She was attractive and had very long eyelashes. Although both the woman and man were white, investigators described their skin as smooth, with olive undertones. The girl had unshaven legs.
    Dentals: Available. No elaborate dental work. Missing upper and lower wisdom teeth on right. Has upper and lower wisdom teeth on left. Has fillings in all back teeth. If she were to smile, her teeth in the front would give an even appearance.
    Clothing: She was wearing cut-off blue jeans, a pink halter top that tied in the front and an unbleached muslin blouse. She was also wearing a pair of Stride Rite, wedge heeled sandals with lavender, pink and purple straps.
    Jewelry: Three Silver rings that resembled American Indian or Mexican handmade jewelry. One piece was a faceted band with red, white and blue stones. Another ring had a oblong black stone. The third was a large, intricate feather scroll band with a jade insert into the curves of the scroll.

    Case History
    In 1976 this female and her companion were found dead on a secluded Sumter County, South Carolina dirt road, Locklair Road, between Interstate 95 and SC 341.
    Their identities as well as that of their killer still remains a mystery.
    Neither had any identification.
    They had no money on them, but there were several clues that led investigators to believe that the couple might have been well-to-do or perhaps even from another country.
    Investigators wondered if they had been hitchhiking cross country, or if they had been victims of a carjacking.
    They were a clean-cut-looking pair. Authorities speculated they might even be brother and sister.
    No drugs or alcohol were found on their bodies. And neither had on underwear.
    Investigators had checked out every lead, including trying to identify them through their finger prints and using the serial number on the man's watch in hopes of trying to track down the jewelry store where he might have bought the piece of jewelry. Dental records were published in national dental journals. Officials with Interpol as well as U.S. Customs investigators and immigration authorities also had been alerted.
    The autopsy revealed the pair had eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit not long before they died so investigators were certain the two must have bought the food from a local eatery or store. Someone remembered seeing a couple matching the dead couple's descriptions at a fruit stand that was located off the Florence Highway, but the person couldn't say whether the man and woman were with someone else or if they were riding in a car.

    Investigators
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Sumter County Sheriff's Office
    803-436-2790
    or
    Sumter County Coroner
    Verna Moore
    803-436-2111
     
  3. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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  4. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    This is true but I’m not sure if it spilled into this? The Outlaw murders went unsolved in Charlotte for decades but they figured it out. A crazy story in itself. I think if bike clubs had been big in Sumter, we would have heard of it in relation to this case by now.
     
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  5. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    I am obsessed with learning how that gun went from the burglary in Durham, NC in 1975 to the location where Pamela and James were murdered, and then ended up in the hands of Lonnie George Henry's brother Jim, who then gave it to Lonnie for Christmas. That shouldn't be too hard for LE to figure that out!
     
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  6. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    I'm not suggesting that Sumter had any kind of biker gang activity. I seriously doubt Pam and Jim had any ties to Sumter anyway. I suspect Sumter was just a stop on the freeway to whomever committed the crime. Regarding the article, I'm just spit-balling. Biker gangs were apparently a significant source of violence in Charlotte, the murder weapon originated in Charlotte, and LGH lived outside of Charlotte, some ppl speculated James was riding a motorcycle etc.
     
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  7. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    Do we know which Christmas LGH said he received it? 1975? 76?
     
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  8. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    Like so many things in this case, the information consistently drips out, but the dates and details are always sketchy and incomplete. According to this post from PhenolRed back in 2008 at the City-Data site, "SLED recovered the serial number and investigators tracked the gun from its manufacturer to Henry's brother, who said he gave it to Henry as a Christmas present four or five years earlier." If the gun was stolen in Durham, NC in 1974, how did Henry's brother (Jim) give the gun to Lonnie around 1971-1972? It doesn't make sense. Maybe almost everything Lonnie and his brother Jim said was a lie. I have considered that before, but not in depth. Will have to ponder on that.
    The Sumter County John & Jane Doe from 1976 (Columbia, York: home, transfer) - South Carolina (SC) - Page 2 - City-Data Forum
     
  9. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I got confused on that because of the brothers comment that “the numbers were on the gun at Christmas” which made me think 75 but as noted above, it was 4-5 years.
     
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  10. Betty P

    Betty P On Time Out

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    Yes, they were most likely lying about all of it.

    Sheriff Dennis mentioned person or persons of interest in the case at his recent press conference. They probably have an idea of how the Henry brothers acquired the gun and who was involved in the murders.
     
  11. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    Some random thoughts:

    A guy in Nebraska said he repaired a car that could have been driven by James and Pamela. He said it might have had Washington or Oregon plates. I wonder if the mechanic conflated Washington and Colorado plates. If Pam had a car it might have had Colorado plates.

    Staring at Google maps, I've made a few very tenuous connections: Pam's last known residence was Colorado Springs, also the location of the US Army base, Ft Carson. Assuming they were traveling north on I-95 they would have reached Fayetteville NC, home to Ft. Bragg. If they came up from Savannah, they would have been near Ft. Stewart GA. If they continued north on 95 they would have eventually reached Lancaster PA, though Lancaster has nothing to do with military bases. I'm mentioning it because maybe Jim planned to stop in for a visit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
  12. fred&edna

    fred&edna Well-Known Member

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    I've been curious about the Durham robbery, too. I wonder how significant this weapons theft might have been. But, I'm even more curious if LE was able to trace additional guns and/or other crimes back to this 1974 Durham robbery.
     
  13. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    My first question is... was that Durham robbery where the gun was stolen from ever solved? Who committed that robbery??? That one little piece of evidence I think will tie a lot of these loose ends together. Frustrating AF that I can't find any news articles about robberies in Durham, NC that involved the theft of guns during 1974 that would give me a clue.
     
  14. fred&edna

    fred&edna Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a subscription/access to old court cases but I often get a lucky hit or three when googling. In the last half hour I've found 3 cases of burglaries of guns in 1974 but the crimes to place in other areas of NC (not Durham) :( I'm hoping someone else will have better luck!
     
  15. branmuffin

    branmuffin On Time Out

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    If LE traced the gun back to Lonnie's brother after it was stolen and recovered, to me it shows he was the registered owner of the weapon. At least that's the way I look at it. I'm sure gun ownership in the US isn't very stringent in terms of its provenance.

    Someone upthread mentioned that perhaps Lonnie's brother knew the weapon had been used in a felony and asked him to get rid of it but he either ignored those instructions or forgot about it. So the question for me is who was lying about the weapon? I have a sneaking suspicion it wasn't Lonnie but his brother. Which is why LGH's lie detector test was all over the map. Do we have any idea what his brother did for a living?
     
  16. fred&edna

    fred&edna Well-Known Member

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    31 yrs meat market mgr with a grocery store chain

    Jimmy Franklin Henry (1930-2012) - Find A Grave...
     
  17. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    Those cases you found may be very relevant!!! Good job!!!! Hold on to them for future reference! I have a paid service to background checks, but not court cases. Thankful for the hive mind here at Websleuths!!
     
  18. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    Do you know who the Jim Henry is that still leaves flowers and stuff for the graves of this family at the Find A Grace site??? I haven't been able to connect who he is at this point. Still digging... Not being intrusive to the lives of innocent people, but someone in this family had to KNOW where that weapon came from, and who had it in Sumter County, SC on that fateful August 9th evening of 1976.
     
  19. Susikatze

    Susikatze Well-Known Member

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    Obviously not himself :) probably another relative with the same name, they are a huge family.

     
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  20. southerngospel

    southerngospel Active Member

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    could it have been a case of mistaken identity? the reason for their murder.


    Reason I say that is...at the time..the going theory was he's the son of a dentist. What if somebody thought that at the time....and killed them Maybe they didnt have ID on them before they died...unlikely..but..who knows?

    I had a person on Reddit give me a rundown on what he said were things relayed to him by law enforcement...but..the story goes with the canadian dentist's son myth. I mean..this guy gave me names...dates..who shot them.. who else was involved. Now..the reddit guy could just have a HUGE overactive imagination..OR..the killer(s)..and the police..both thought the guy was canadian..and thats why they died..wrong place...wrong time. It ties very much into local biker gangs in South Carolina...and also ties into operation rough rider.
     
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