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. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I really hope this thing isn’t done and there’s still justice to be found for them. It’s a long shot but there’s a chance.
     
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  2. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering,long shot, I know, but do you think the killer (tried to) used their IDs?
    It does seem easy, though by looking at drivers licences around that time..
    16 Vintage Drivers' Licenses of Celebrities from 1960s to 1970s
    I tried to search in NC, in newspapers (given the fact, that the gun really was stolen there and probably was the murder weapon, wich I am convinced, 80/90%, also due to the polygraph test, that implied Lonnie was lying about something or cover for someone when asked if he knew, who pulled the trigger)
     
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  3. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    @Betty P, or other fellow posters,.. just a question, can you access the local newspaper The Item September 10, 1976?
    With the headline 2 bodies, 1000 leads, and nowhere

    "
    Another man was suspected a year after the bodies were found. The man, who lived in South Carolina owned a similar firearm, but police were not able to collect evidence enough to charge him with the murders. He died several years later."

    There are POI mentions, but to my knowledge, Lonnie was from and lived in NC, and the gun was found, the same year, when he was pulled over in Dec. 1976.


    Sumter County Does identified
    I really hope the link is allowed, because, it's the only reference to the article, that I could find.
     
  4. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I found the article. It takes up a full page with photos. I'm not finding any reference to another suspect but will keep looking.

    ETA: Here's a PDF of the article.

    All I'm seeing is a mention of a transient man who was found shot in the head in 1971. It mentions they caught his murderer, but no other mention of that, only that they had difficulty identifying the victim. It was identified as the Castro Case. Not sure if that refers to the name of the victim, the killer or some other reference.

    ETA2:
    At that time, LE speculated that the couple were on a cross country trip and picked up a hitchhiker who killed them and stole their vehicle. So it sounds like the evidence LE found made them think the couple had been driving a vehicle. Probably based on the tire tracks.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  5. Fukiyama

    Fukiyama Well-Known Member

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    Re: corruption and LE involvement

    You'd have to go back to some of the early threads, but there was some good discussion on this topic a long time ago. For a long time, it seemed like Moore the coroner was on her own and LE was dragging its feet and people wondered why. Some people had some good insights into the social landscape of SC back in the seventies.
     
  6. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    I understand that James Freund’s teeth were lost, but I haven’t found anything about the revolver being lost.

    The murder weapon was a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver. As long as LE has fired bullets recovered from the bodies, there’s a lot of information that can be gleaned - the caliber, the twist/rifling of the barrel, wear patterns from the barrel, machine marks, etc. Although S&W made and still makes quite a few revolvers in this caliber, there’s probably enough information to narrow down information that would limit the number of models and barrel lengths. S&W cut the rifling (lands and grooves) in their barrels by broaching at that time, a process that utilizes a set of blades to cut the rifling pattern. These blades left each barrel with slight differences that were identifiable, due to the wear on the blades as they were used. After 1993, they used electro chemical machining (ECM), which is very consistent from barrel to barrel, making precise identification more difficult, especially if there is little wear.

    As far as the revolver that was found in Lonnie Henry’s vehicle, testing, even at that time, would likely yield enough characteristics to identify whether it was the murder weapon. If both the weapon and the spent bullets were available, it should have been possible to make an accurate assessment. Most published information that I’ve read indicates that SLED did identify it as the murder weapon.

    If the revolver recovered from Henry is still available, it could be retested. I’ve never seen anything published that suggested that the tested revolver was not conclusively identified as the murder weapon. Personal blogs aren’t necessarily a source of accurate information. Has anyone found a published MSM article that says otherwise? What seems to be the question is who had access to the recovered revolver and used it....
     
  7. Awsi Dooger

    Awsi Dooger Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for providing that PDF link. The Canadian angle really sidetracked this case, especially after the internet exploded with sites like this. That's what jumped out at me from reading that early article, and others like it. There isn't one word about them being foreigners. Those are the investigators who saw the bodies and jumped into the case quickly. They obviously thought the two were Americans and had been carjacked, possibly on a cross country trip with origins in the West. It is agonizing the read the initials JPF spelled out so clearly one month after discovery of the bodies, while knowing now that concrete lead was minimized in favor of fantastic pursuit throughout Canada and even into Argentina.

    If Sumter law enforcement got lazy in this case, it was much later. I can't fault the original investigators. They were tremendously devoted, sending packets across the country to any agency with a teletype machine. This quote jumped out at me: "This case boils down to the limits of the human imagination," said (Chief Deputy T.L.) McJunkin. "What should we do that we aren't doing?

    "What can we try now?"

    I hate to keep reporting bad news in these threads, after finding the info that Anthony Matthews died in the 1975 hang gliding accident, and that Pamela's sister died barely a week after her identification. I looked up T.L McJunkin. He nearly lived long enough to find out who they were. McJunkin later became a reverend. He died at age 87 in May 2020, eight months before genetic genealogy provided the names:

    Obituary for Tom McJunkin | Brice W. Herndon and Sons Funeral Home

    There is another 1976 case mentioned in that PDF article, a man killed in Utah in June 1976 and still unidentified a few months later. Utah authorities were working hard to identify him but were stumped. That's why they took particular interest in the Sumter information, checking for commonalities.

    That case apparently wasn't solved for 39 years. It appears to be David Stack, who went hitchhiking on June 1, 1976 from Broomfield, Colorado apparently toward his siblings' homes in northern California.

    Body found 39 years ago in Tooele believed to be missing Colorado man

    Obviously I cringed when I read the other Doe was from Colorado. I guess it's kind of pot luck toward who was leading those departments at the time, and how sharp and devoted they were. I couldn't help thinking that an ace in Colorado might have been able to connect both Pamela and David to the information being pushed from other states.

    But then what happens? Let's say Pamela Mae Buckley had been identified in late summer 1976. Is the connection to James ever made, or does it still require 45 more years?

    It all but eliminates the Canadian angle. That's for sure. And it actually would have been a higher profile case, with lots more media attention throughout the decades. That is just the angle writers and producers look for...we know who she is but who was he?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  8. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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    The article does show a great effort to identify the victims, and local LE certainly sounds dedicated and sincere. This doesn’t eliminate involvement by wayward LE from a local jurisdiction. Their original scenario sounds like carjacking was considered likely at the outset. If Lonnie Henry’s defaced revolver was actually the murder weapon, perhaps the local prosecutor was not willing to pursue charges. Perhaps there wasn’t enough evidence. If the victims had been identified quickly, their vehicle might also have been identified, leading to an arrest. It is all very difficult now.
     
  9. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for searching and posting, @Betty P, much appreciated!
    During the update from crime junkie podcast, it suggested that LE had an idea,where James and Pam were going to, so it really makes me think, that they had their own vehicle.

    Could also be that the paragraph that I posted, was about Lonnie that he was on the radar for year as POI, and that he lived in SC was just a typo.
     
  10. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    You ROCK for having found this news article... I don't think it adds a lot to what we already know, but it is important and significant. Thank you!!!
     
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  11. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    From my research Lonnie did not live in SC... he lived in NC, pretty close to the SC border. His wife was from SC and had family in SC. The connections were still a few hours away from where these two people were murdered. I have not been able to find a connection to that area. Has anyone searched the person that found the bodies? If you follow these kind of crimes, you learn that the person who "finds the bodies" is sometimes involved. I do not know if LE looked at that angle, and I haven't done that yet, and I don't even know who it was off the top of my head.... it must be in my files from years ago. Just trying to think outside of the box. This case CAN BE SOLVED!!! I have felt that for DECADES!!!
     
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  12. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    There is an article from The Item, a local paper, linked back on the #8 thread, pg 5, that reports who found them as a local man from Lynchburg. It even reported his mailing address.
     
  13. Ajaygee11

    Ajaygee11 Semi Retired / Rally Driver / Very Amateur Slueth

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    I think it’s either a typo or mistake on the journalists behalf.
     
  14. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    Got that.... thanks! I've had the name of the man who found the bodies since 2012 from a Wikipedia page that no longer exist. I live in SC. He lived around 2 miles from where the bodies were located. I am confused because of what the article linked below said: "pulled over on the shoulder of Locklear Road to take a break from driving when he noticed the bodies sprawled out on the dirt road." Why do you pull over to rest when you are close to two miles from your home? The 2012 Wikipedia article never clarified why he was in the location of finding the bodies (I have a Word Document of that article which is now a broken link). A lot of my OLD links are broken, so here is a recent link to information about the finding of the bodies: Sumter County Does identified
     
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  15. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    @Reannan , the only other account that I’ve read, other than the resting trucker, was that it was someone “on their way to work”, which sounds more likely to me. That’s in one of the local follow up articles I think. I’m in the upstate, probably 75 miles from Sumter.
     
  16. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    In case you guys don't know yet... James Paul Freund was living in Lancaster, SC when he was murdered. It appears they were not the hippie hitchhikers we always imagined them to be. JPF was living in Lancaster, SC. Lancaster man identified as deceased in 44-year-old South Carolina cold case | fox43.com MY BAD!!! I AM SO SORRY!! I live in SC, and when I saw this article linked from the SC man who got the couple ID'd, I thought he was talking about Lancaster, SC. I live in SC, so this is a common place for me. I wish I could just delete this post. Can a moderator delete it? I don't want to confuse ANYONE!!! I have followed this case for literally DECADES!! I'm HORRIFIED that I posted something so wrong!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  17. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    I am from the upstate... had to move out of state and found my way back home close to the Columbia area. I have ALWAYS known that this case should be solved!!!
     
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  18. Warwick1991

    Warwick1991 Well-Known Member

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  19. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    My bad on this... I was going off of the linked article below. There is also a Lancaster, SC... this article was linked from the site of the guy who talked the Sumter County, SC officials into contacting the DNA Doe Project. I jumped on it too quickly because I know where Lancaster, SC is (I live in SC), and it was linked from the SC guy who got this couple ID'd. Deleting my previous post, which may be confusing. Lancaster man identified as deceased in 44-year-old South Carolina cold case | fox43.com
     
  20. Reannan

    Reannan Well-Known Member

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    I DESPISE spreading disinformation!!! I am so sorry that I posted that thing about JPF living in Lancaster, SC!!! Horrified, really!!
     

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