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

Springrain

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Didn't we establish that Lonnie's son died before Pam and James?. I will have to go back and check when I've put kids to bed.

That was my bad for just having quickly skimmed through the last few pages! :p
 

Oakie

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I've tried thinking of anything that would bring people from across the country together.

3. Following some rock band, like the grateful dead.

I didn't think about this until you mentioned it, but I think you're on to something there. The timing doesn't quite fit with the Dead's tours that year; they played Hartford, CT, in 8-2-76, and Jersey City on 8-4-76, then not another concert until Duke University on 9-23. But it seems to me quite likely that they could have met earlier while following the Dead around the country; it fits with their seeming to have no money, no trail, and no attachments. Someone who knows more about these things than I do (maybe Payne Lindsey) should look into it. The Dead took a touring hiatus in 1975, but played quite a few dates all around the country in 1974.

In thinking about it, I'm surprised that someone didn't suggest this earlier.
 

Valiant

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I think it is a big assumption that these two were travelling with no money.
They appeared clean and well dressed. Who knows what clothes, money, vehicle they were traveling with? For all we know, a motel room (or two)somewhere may have been cleaned out when the occupants never returned to it. Their money and vehicle may have been taken before the murders.
 

Awsi Dooger

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It's a darn shame none of the family members ever came forward. That is what is missing in this case. Otherwise it's endless speculation.

"Hey, Pam was great. I loved talking to her. This is what she liked to do..."

That's it. It would add so much to the case and be greeted positively. Unfortunately it seldom happens in this case or any case. Tons of misplaced fear, always expecting the worst.
 

Dragonfyree

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To me, the most logical is Pamela hitchhiked East from Colorado, and somewhere on the East Coast she met up with James.

Maybe he had a car that he picked up sometime after he left. Most guys during that time knew how to work on cars and he might have picked up a junker and got it on the road. He could have either picked up Pam and that's how they met or by coincidence they just both were hitchhiking at the same location and decided to join up.

If he had a car perhaps they picked up someone local who killed them and stole all their stuff and got rid of the car or they were picked up by a local and killed and then all their stuff was stolen.

So many hitchhikers were killed during that time, that it wasn't all that unusual. The only unusual thing about this case is how long it took to identify the two victims which was, I believe due to tunnelvision, where it was just assumed that they were a couple and not two separate missing people who might have met up.

Wonder if they still have any of the clothes for testing of possible touch DNA?
 

Betty P

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To me, the most logical is Pamela hitchhiked East from Colorado, and somewhere on the East Coast she met up with James.

Maybe he had a car that he picked up sometime after he left. Most guys during that time knew how to work on cars and he might have picked up a junker and got it on the road. He could have either picked up Pam and that's how they met or by coincidence they just both were hitchhiking at the same location and decided to join up.

If he had a car perhaps they picked up someone local who killed them and stole all their stuff and got rid of the car or they were picked up by a local and killed and then all their stuff was stolen.

So many hitchhikers were killed during that time, that it wasn't all that unusual. The only unusual thing about this case is how long it took to identify the two victims which was, I believe due to tunnelvision, where it was just assumed that they were a couple and not two separate missing people who might have met up.

Wonder if they still have any of the clothes for testing of possible touch DNA?

To date, there's no evidence they were hitchhikers. It's realistic to presume that both of them had cars and used one of those vehicles to take a trip together. It was not expensive to own a car in 1976.

We also shouldn't assume they were both unemployed. Both were well dressed and well groomed, indicating they had money and were most likely traveling in a vehicle when they were murdered.

JMO

Names of Sumter County's 1976 John, Jane Doe mystery released
 
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Betty P

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I was perusing some old links related to this case, reading up on the old theories people had about Jim and Pam before they were identified. Some were pretty far out.

What we know:
  • the killers were local to the area where Jim and Pam were found. The murder weapon was found the following December in a city in a county that bordered Sumter, SC.
  • unlikely Jim & Pam were hitchhiking as their clothes were nice, clean and they were both well groomed. Pam was wearing make up, jewelry, her hair was clean and styled.
  • both were shot in what is referred to as "tactical" style of shooting usually taught to law enforcement or military. Each had shots to the chest or back and, after they had fallen, shots to the head.
  • neither victim had drugs or alcohol in their system nor on their person.
One of the old theories was that Jim & Pam mentioned drug (marijuana) smuggling and ongoing corruption in the local towns near where J&P were murdered.

Special report, part two: Racers who have run afoul of the law

The only possible links they would have to auto racing and drug smuggling would be the fact Jim was wearing a Coors T-shirt from a Sebring, FL race and that he had trained as a truck mechanic during his time in the Army.

The IMSA drug smuggling scandal mentioned in the article happened in the 1980's. There's currently no evidence J&P were involved with them or any other criminal activity.

Another theory was a possible link to local corruption in LE and other locals. There had been some recent murders

The Item - Google News Archive Search

The murder of a local farmer reported in the article above happened in 1987, but there was allegedly other criminal activity happening in the area. CDS, Jr. is one of the criminals charged in the murder at the link above and it's believed he was involved in criminal activities years before. Olanta, SC is located about 10 miles east of the spot where J&P were murdered.

ETA: Also adding that the murder weapon recovered had previously been used or taken in a string of burglaries farther north in NC. Whomever owned this weapon likely was involved with people who were part of a local burglary ring.
 
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Betty P

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Andreee

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Slightly off topic, but I recently came across info about a guy who grew up not far from Jim in Pottstown, PA. They probably had similar experiences growing up, went to the same kind of schools and certainly a similar German-American ethnic background. His name was Daryl Hohl

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Well heck look at the info below the photo. Its Darryl Hall of well known longtime popular singing duo Hall and Oates.
 

worm

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Possible suspects - referring to the guy who was found to be in possession of the .357 magnum murder weapon and his assocuates.

I am sure that knowing the victims' identities will allow investigators to check out a number of possibilities not available to them previously.

When they did the press conference about the IDs, the sheriff said something about there “still being persons of interest” or something like that. I think most that follow this maybe got too excited when they were ID’d.
 

Richard

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I have not seen much first hand information about the gunshot ballistics or how the bullets came to be connected to a specific revolver which was owned by, or possed by a particular individual. That information would be crucial to solving these murders.
 

worm

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I have not seen much first hand information about the gunshot ballistics or how the bullets came to be connected to a specific revolver which was owned by, or possed by a particular individual. That information would be crucial to solving these murders.

I’ve looked into the ballistics tech of the era and I think it was well enough advanced at the time to id a spent bullet. But like you I would love to know more. At this point in my opinion “protecting the investigation” is probably a lost cause since it hasn’t worked in going on 50 years and releasing information could at least keep interest in the case.

Speaking of interest in this case, much like today it just comes into my head out of the blue and I Think it over again. I’m not into the supernatural or whatever the term but...........
 

worm

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I can’t link but there are a few articles on forensics ballistics history that explain how the study of aspects like bullet fingerprints has been going almost since the mass production of guns and even before high power magnification became standard.
 

Richard

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I can’t link but there are a few articles on forensics ballistics history that explain how the study of aspects like bullet fingerprints has been going almost since the mass production of guns and even before high power magnification became standard.
Answering on my cell phone, so I can't download or link documents, but if you check out a thread I started in the cold case section on the 1964 murder of Sheldon Miller and Patrick Brown , I have links to a lot of ballistics sites and discussion.

The science of ballistic forensic matching and identification goes back at least a hundred years. So, with any recovered bullets or shell casings, the make and model of a murder weapon could be determined.

If a weapon is found at the scene, bullets fired from it can be compared with recovered bullets to determine if it was indeed the murder weapon.

The challenge to investigators next is to link that weapon to the killer in a way that will stand up in court.
 
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