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. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    If Matt has a lead wich will result into a convection, then it seems that Lonnie's family/siblings had nothing to do with the murders of James and Pam. All of Lonnie's (incl. himself) are deceased.

    The paragraph that I posted, had something to do with following a lead, that was never public/published, if I understood it right?!
    So I am getting out of the rabbit holes....
     


  2. Ray_of_hope

    Ray_of_hope Verified registered nurse

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    I do agree, but Matt is no spring chicken. Matt's statment makes me feel as though this wasn't a random crime and probably had someone well known, by position or name, or their offspring involved. But that's only opinion and speculation. I can't wait until this is solved. I wonder if Pamela and James witnessed something or had stumbled upon info.
     
  3. Ray_of_hope

    Ray_of_hope Verified registered nurse

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    I agree. Suggesting an arrest means the perp is alive.
     
  4. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps someone who was traveling with them, killed them, took their car and the rest of their personal belongings.
     
  5. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if their belongings weren’t thrown in a river or buried nearby. The murder weapon was local and chances are good that the perp was too.
     
  6. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    I honestly can’t think of a situation where the murder weapon is just out and about, all willy nilly, and no other evidence is to be found. Seems too obvious.

    ETA: and I 1000% believe law enforcement agents know things we don’t.
     
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  7. superunknown

    superunknown Well-Known Member

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    MM has done a tremendous amount of work to further the case along which is commendable. Since he was invited to speak at the press conference, we can only assume that the SCSO approves of whatever public remarks he is making (?). It could also be a strategy to (my theory here) put the fear of God into a potential suspect who is still out there.

    I think he's a brave soul for doing so, to be honest, since hypothetically there could be a double murderer out there who may not be too happy these young people were finally identified, with his help. I hope Matt is staying safe.

    I guess we will see how this all shakes out, hopefully soon. In the meantime, I raise my glass to Matt M. for all his efforts.

     
  8. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    I have read in reports since the identification that there were, and still are, people of interest in this case. I wasn’t aware that there ever were POIs, so I’m sure there are things we are not privy to. I don’t have a source link at the moment, but I’ve certainly read this.
     
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  9. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I’ve seen this too and remain excited that they have something in the works. As above comments attest, that gun is constantly raising questions.
     
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  10. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the county sheriff stated that in his press conference the other day. He didn't seem to want to say much about it,so it sounded like an active investigation.

    https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article248671040.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  11. Vi0l3tt3

    Vi0l3tt3 Member

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    I'm about 80% sure that they did receive neck wounds. In the post mortem photo of Pam you can see what appears to be gun powder burns or stippling on the lower side of her face near the presumed neck wound.
     
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  12. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    I'm not suggesting the original ballistic report was wrong, but I do hope the Sumter Sheriff has the bullets recovered from the victims along with the gun. I don't think a second look would hurt.
     
  13. wary

    wary On Time Out

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    In an earlier thread, someone said that the gun had disappeared. I certainly hope that that’s not true. Without gun and bullets, I’d think that there’d be no chance of a conviction.
     
  14. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    I can't imagine they would do that with such a high profile case, but you never know.

    BTW, I wonder who the police officer was who pulled over Henry and found the gun in his car? I wonder if he is still alive? There may be other witnesses who saw or heard things about the crime who are still living and willing to talk.

    The answer lies with the weapon. Who had it before Henry? How long did they have it? Where did they get it? Did they have any relatives or acquaintances who were current or former law enforcement?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  15. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    The answers do orbit that gun. The thing is, unless Henry just obtained the gun within weeks before his arrest for DUI, he had to be the owner of it at the time of the murders. By it supposedly being a Christmas gift, which I doubt, he would have had the weapon in Aug of 76.
     
  16. Vern

    Vern Well-Known Member

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    He stated as much during the press conference. Quite a few of us picked up on the hopeful of future arrest(s) bit.
     
  17. Vern

    Vern Well-Known Member

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    Indeed; there's also a photo out there where you can see the dried blood trickling from the wound towards the ground. That's how we know she was on her back and not turned over once found.
     
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  18. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    If he got the gun for Christmas in Dec '76, someone else would have had it, though. Is it known which Christmas he was referring to?

    If he had it at the time of the murders, did he have a background in LE? Was he friends with or related to anyone who was LE or former LE? Did he go on "ride alongs" with the latter? If not, did he loan it to someone who did?

    If Henry wasn't the killer, was he afraid of the person who was? Did he think his life was in danger if he told the real story about the gun?
     
  19. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    Re-post from previous threads (2007/2008)
    Unfortunately, without link or found on the net.
    ------—-----------------------------------------------
    "I don't know if you've already seen this article, it's pretty interesting."




    Dead end?

    By Brian Ray
    Staff Writer



    Photo by Jim Shine




    SUMTER ' It will be 28 years Monday since a young man and woman were found shot to death beside a dirt road in Sumter County.
    The couple lie side by side now in plain graves at a country church in Oswego.
    Their headstones read simply, 'Female Unknown' and 'Male Unknown.'
    No parents have come to pay their respects. No killer has been convicted ' though authorities once had a prime suspect. Their murder remains a mystery that piques minds and touches hearts.
    'They were somebody's kids,' says Patricia Riddle of Oswego. 'You just don't want to believe their parents don't care.'
    Like others in the community, Riddle is drawn to the graves when she comes into the churchyard at Bethel United Methodist Church. The graves are well kept, and visitors ' she is not sure who or when ' sometimes bring flowers.
    The two young people were buried Aug. 14, 1977, but their story begins a year earlier.
    The crime
    On Aug. 9, 1976, a man living in the sticks between Sumter and Florence heard a car scuttling down a narrow frontage road connecting Interstate 95 to S.C. 341. Someone climbed out. Gunshots echoed in the early morning, then the car raced back onto the highway.
    As the sun rose, a truck driver pulled off to rest and found the bodies.
    They were riddled with bullet holes, the girl's green eyes still wide with shock, her mouth open as if giving a final cry for help. She was in her late teens; her companion was in his mid-20s.
    Sumter County Sheriff I. Byrd Parnell and his deputies arrived minutes later. Crouching over the corpses, they noticed a pair of tire tracks. There was nothing else.

    The investigation
    After making a plaster cast of the tire tracks and scouring for evidence, Parnell shipped the bodies to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for an autopsy, which turned up little more than the obvious.
    As weeks passed, the sheriff made phone calls and wrote letters to law enforcement agencies from Florida to New Mexico in an effort to identify the bodies. Nothing turned up.
    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.
    A funeral home displayed the bodies for a year in airtight, see-through caskets.
    Relatives of missing persons traveled from as far away as New Jersey, but all left with unanswered prayers.
    After a year, the bodies had decayed and hardly seemed human any longer. So the young man and woman were laid to rest at the Methodist Church in Oswego.
    More than 100 people attended the ceremony.

    Sole suspect
    About four months after the murders, police in the Darlington County town of Latta arrested Lonnie George Henry for drunk driving. Under the seat of his car they found a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson with the serial number filed off.
    Police sent the gun to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division's forensic lab for tests and later concluded that Henry's revolver had killed the mystery couple. Bullets taken from the bodies matched with the weapon.
    When officers asked Henry point blank if he was the killer, his polygraph said he was telling the truth. No, he hadn't pulled the trigger. But several other lie detector tests implied he was lying about something, at least, maybe covering up for somebody. Investigators wondered if someone had stolen his gun and whether a relative or friend of Henry's had killed the couple in Sumter.
    But case files say Henry did lie about how he'd obtained the gun, first telling officers that he'd bought it from a truck driver. Days after the purchase, Henry told investigators, he discovered the serial number had been filed off. By then, it was too late to return the item for a refund.
    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.
    The gun had been bought, stolen and resold several times before falling into the hands of Henry's brother. But he said the serial number was still there on Christmas Eve.
    When confronted with the new information, Henry confessed to filing the serial numbers off himself.
    It remains unclear why Henry lied if he was innocent. And it also remains unclear if he really was. Case files say Henry was a recovering alcoholic and had also gotten in trouble with the law for a slew of minor offenses.
    At the time, his son had recently drowned in the Pee Dee River. He'd also accidentally killed one of his co-workers, by backing a dump truck over him.
    Investigative psychologists even wondered if he'd killed the Sumter couple and simply couldn't remember doing it.

    But despite his incriminating profile, Henry had an alibi. 'I can prove where I was at on the dates that you said this happened,' Henry told investigators. He said he was at a hospital in Monroe, N.C., where his wife was staying. 'I suppose you will take my word.'
    'Mr. Henry,' replied one of the officers, according to the files. 'Right now I don't believe I would take your word for anything.'
    In an effort to corroborate his alibi, cops timed the drive from the hospital to the crime scene and concluded there was no way Henry could have raced back in time to see his wife. Even with knowledge of his mental health and lying twice about the gun, they set him free.
    Now dead, Henry will never have the chance to erase the suspicion or to confess.
    Passing through
    Evidence says the young couple weren't from South Carolina.
    'If they were from around here we would have found them by now,' says Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore. In 1976, she was deputy coroner and also worked for the local paper, The Sumter Daily Item.
    Moore persuaded 'Unsolved Mysteries' and Court TV to run specials on the case, but still no one came forward. For the past year she's been working with a cold case investigator in Virginia to sift through evidence for new leads.
    She hasn't given up yet. 'Somewhere out there they've got family still looking for them,' she says, 'and hitting all the wrong places.'......... "

    Mystery couple murdered in South Carolina, 1976 - #5
    Mystery couple murdered in South Carolina, 1976 - #5
     
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  20. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    It would have had to be prior to 76 but we know his history with the gun. The article above says that LE was able to recover the serial number (a separate part of the gun?) and trace it to the brother, BUT, it had been sold, stolen, etc over the years, which makes no sense.
    I think LE put way too much faith into the polygraph results. In an article I seen in PSY Today, the assoc that functions to promote the use of this science concedes that they fail 13% of the time and a team of unbiased scientists puts that at more like 25%. I’m curious too of how they were so positive that Henry was at this hospital?
     
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