Identified! Mystery couple murdered in South Carolina, 1976 - Pamela Buckley & James Freund #9

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

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  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: Jan 25, 2021


  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. Packersfan96

    Packersfan96 Member

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    I’ve been following this case for awhile and I think that so many of the theories that seemed plausible in the past are pretty easily dismissed now. One thing that I think is interesting and that hasn’t been discussed much is the fact that Locklair Road would be an easy place to quickly kill and dispose of a body, even if someone wasn’t familiar with the area. I can imagine them being held at gunpoint and told to exit I-95, turn on to the next road, and then turn on Locklair with the killer possibly just (rightfully) thinking that it was a secluded road where no one would see what was occurring. The witness that heard the squealing of tires would confirm this in that I could see the killer quickly seek to get back on the expressway and put distance between him and the bodies. Regardless, I hope that there will be some sort of further resolution that will help the families of Pam and Jim to have peace.
     
  4. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly what I was thinking too, LOL :)
     
  5. killarney rose

    killarney rose Well-Known Member

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    I’m replying without reading the rest of the thread. Southwestern rings were terribly popular in the 70s. All the local head shops had them. Even some dept stores and local boutiques also sold them. I still have mine and sometimes wear them. Mine came from a variety of different places that I mentioned.
     
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  6. user0101

    user0101 Member

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    <modsnip>

    So I did a google image search of “1970 hitchhiking” and saw a lot of different photos of that era of women wearing heels, wedges and heeled sandals while doing the hitchhiking pose, regardless if some of these were magazine / newspaper photoshoots or not, I think we should go with an Open-mind and not ruling out hitchhiking as a possibility, as the 1970’s was a very different time era with peoples trust and fashion attire.

    <modsnip> I have found the actual news clipping from the Ocala Star-Banner - Jun 7, 1971 and within it, it talks about the dangers of hitchhiking back in 1971 and peoples views on a different case, where a girl was found murder on a dirt road in a resort community: “The incident shocked some state citizens. But for the most part, Californians decided to treat the incident as the rest of America treats such incidents, that is; Forget it. There is a general agreement in the United States that the phenomenal rise in hitchhikers, especially young female hitchhikers, is a risky social development.”

    <modsnip>

    I think the direction that law enforcement needs to look at in this case is what car James or Pamela had registered at the time of going missing and if it ever appeared abandoned or if the criminal was found driving it and obviously not having it registered to them and getting arrested for it.

    <modsnip: Screenshots from random social media are not allowed>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2021
  7. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys I just found a good detail that could point to Triss's theory about the fruit stand. There was a KOA (now an unbranded RV park) there in Florence, SC. Maybe this could indicate they were headed out of Florence down to the KOA in Scrantee? The distance is approximately an hour and two minutes away (69 miles).
     
  8. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Hey, it's ok to agree to disagree! :)
     
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  9. Andreee

    Andreee Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me that the killer was ex-military, ex-cop or some kind of pro with guns, the way they were shot.
     
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  10. Andreee

    Andreee Well-Known Member

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    Being it was a revolver and due to the methodical and repetitive shoot, I think all possibilities are equal. I've known hunters to not always be proficient and exact in their hunting skills ;)
     
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  11. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    My god, that is a horrible thing to put in a newspaper. Thank goodness we've come a long way from calling children born out of wedlock, bastard children.

    It got me to wondering though. He was in the army, away from home. I don't know if he ended up going to Vietnam but if he did go, he could have been in the Dear John club where the wife/girlfriend/fiance ended up going out with someone else and having a child where the paternity was questioned.

    Whatever kitchen sink drama that went on between Pamela and James regarding their exes, I doubt it had anything to do with their murders.

    I also don't think they were hitchhiking; Pamela was definitely not dressed for hitchhiking. I'd like to know why LE thinks they were hitchhiking. It would be a convenient way to exonerate any locals in their murders.
     
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  12. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    It was the most depressing thing to read the thousands of individuals who were 'disappeared' in South America: women, some who were pregnant at the time, men, and so many children as young as twelve. I agree that most were dead shortly after they went missing.
     
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  13. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    As much as I understand that you are trying to protect the memory of the deceased I don't see bringing up scenarios that go counter to what people want to believe about an individual as disrespectful. Sometimes you have to turn over some rocks to see what is brought into the light.

    <modsnip: off topic>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2021
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  14. Fede

    Fede Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Most of them were tortured. Militars had concentration camps where they took these people and later killed them. Horrible. It was pure genocide.
     
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  15. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    Some people didn't wear underwear in the 60s and 70s, at least those that embraced the hippie culture. It doesn't mean they'd just has sex. Were the killers kind enough to let James put his jeans back on before they killed him?
     
  16. Fede

    Fede Well-Known Member

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    I think that one essential thing here is to know what happened with the gun. the one that was found in early in 1977 in Lonnie George Henry´s vehicle . That story is still very confusing and obscure.
     
  17. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    In the press conference the other day, the sheriff didn't say one way or another. They're still looking into it. He mentioned something about believing they were riding with someone, but not sure of the details.

    JMO, that gave me the impression he thought they were either riding with someone who killed them or they gave a ride to someone who killed them. He said something about how they haven't yet connected a vehicle to the couple. They're still investigating.

    He also said he believed it was an isolated incident, that it wasn't a serial killer, etc.

    SCSO: New findings in 1976 cold case

    As someone mentioned above, the sheriff made a vague reference to having an idea of where the couple were heading, based on something they learned from family or friends.
     
  18. Dee Deforest

    Dee Deforest Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if they'll ever tell us where they were going or where they had been? Some of my random thoughts.

    I don't think they were hitchhiking.. Their clothes and shoes were all wrong? Where's their stuff? Did they have a car, clothes..where were those things?

    The racing theories are probably ********. I have all kinds of tee shirts from all over the place..in my case it means nothing.

    The sighting at the KOA means nothing in my opinion. This guy either made it up, inserted himself for whatever stupid reason, or more on a sinister side, misled them on purpose.

    The unshaven legs.. Always meant nothing. I'm a child of the 70s .. I was in The Peace Corps for two years and NEVER shaved my legs..sometimes I still don't. Same with the no underwear..maybe it was a 70s thing.

    The fact that nobody ever mentioned an accent always bothered me. In the south in the 70s it would have stood out like a sore thumb..yet I've never heard it mentioned? I'm a born and bred southerner and my husband's from NYC and it's still a thing...so yes even a Pennsylvania/Minnesota accent would have stood out I believe?

    Im also not buying they met while hitchhiking...huh? I don't think so? How did they meet?

    These are just my thoughts on a few things that stood out to me. This case was my passion and I'm so glad they were finally identified. Other than Jack The Ripper (the holy grail of cases) I would love to see someone pay for what they did to this couple, they deserved so much better.
     
  19. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I think this is a key to the whole case. Finding the murder weapon but nobody explains how it killed 2 people is a disturbing fact to me.
     
  20. Fede

    Fede Well-Known Member

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    Yes, did this guy Lonnie Henry have a plausible alibi? I don´t care much about the polygraph test. Gary Ridgway passed a polygraph and he had killed dozens of women.
     
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