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. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    Thanks. The fruit stand witness might be like the campground witness, where they are mistaken about the couple.

    We know they ate fruit with or without ice cream. A car is mentioned, not a motorcycle.

    "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."
    189UFSC
     
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  2. Ray_of_hope

    Ray_of_hope Verified registered nurse

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    True, I was just answering the post, that someone was having trouble finding, that discussed a possible sighting at a farm stand and the mention of a motorcycle. We do know from the autopsy that both had fruit in their stomachs. So I assume that they had eaten the fruit within 4 to 6 hours of their murders.
     
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  3. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about this and agree, I wonder if the fruit stand people maybe did serve a young couple, possibly on a bike, but may be mistaken on if it’s this couple. The fruit could just as easily be from a can or camp rations.
    I’m guessing that the car with the gun was well searched and no evidence of any kind related to the victims? Please forgive the ramble but I can’t get the whole weapon found incident out of my thoughts.
     
  4. phenolred

    phenolred Active Member

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    I haven't posted in quite some time but I have never stopped thinking of these two and I am absolutely thrilled they have been identified, one of my first thoughts was of Verna Moore and how she never gave up and worked diligently to help get them their names back.
     
  5. S o B

    S o B New Member

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    The bodies were found on the east side of i95 so my opinion was most likely heading north or a local who knew a isolated area.
     
  6. S o B

    S o B New Member

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    There is an exit near the scene. Exit 146. I just happened to be in the area this weekend
     
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  7. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    Looking at the fact that James was believe to be Jock or Jacques, knowing today that this wrong information was believed for more than 40 years, I think all witness statements should be questioned.

    The fruit could be strawberry ice cream.
     
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  8. S o B

    S o B New Member

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    A common type of “trucker” in that area is a logging trucker. The vehicles are commonly on back roads and usually are working close by. We would need to know the type of trucker to rule him in or out
     
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  9. S o B

    S o B New Member

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    The Sumter County Coroner in elected in 1976 and took office in 1977 (Bill Gamble) sent out many many photos of the dental work. It is amazing that no one recognized them or the photos when it went on a national TV crime show. I can’t remember the name of the show
     
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  10. Beachlife926

    Beachlife926 Well-Known Member

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    IMO
    My ex had a motorcycle and if you drive non-stop then you’ll start to feel cramps (or numbness) in the legs and arms. When we took rides - we’d have to stop every 1.5 hours or so. In addition, motorcycles have a smaller gas tank than cars, so we’d have to fill up more often.
    I think it makes more sense as to why they were off the highway if it’s true they were riding a motorcycle.
     
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  11. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    It amazes me that connections weren’t made even tho the high tech wasn’t around. The man had a ring with his initials on it and sadly, the info never crossed paths in all that time.
     
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  12. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    The Doe Network mentions a car.

    "On August 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.

    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."
    189UFSC
     
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  13. Fede

    Fede Well-Known Member

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    I can not find a description of the car anywhere. Did this man only listen the car sound? We must assume that he did not see it?
     
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  14. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    RSBM

    Agree, this is the most important part to focus on right now.

    The identification of the victims is a major shift in this case. It adds some focus, but also means some of the old parts of the story don't fit anymore.

    Here are the facts so far:

    The victims:

    • James Freund, 30
    • Pamela Buckley, 25
    • James was living in Lancaster, PA as of December 1975
    • Pamela was living in Colorado Springs, CO as of December 1975

    • At some time (not sure when) James and Pamela met each other
    Murders
    • Some time after December 1975 and prior to their deaths, James and Pamela embarked on a trip that took them to the area of Sumter, SC on August 9, 1976
    • They were found deceased early that morning on a service road on the east side of I 95
    • Fully clothed, lying on the ground next to the dirt service road, with jewelry, "clean cut" appearance
    • Nearby resident heard a vehicle driving on the service road. It stopped, people got out, gunshots, vehicle left
    • Bodies discovered by a local resident who drove a residential fuel delivery truck
    Autopsy
    • COD was multiple gunshot wounds, with fatal shot in the back of the head
    • No drugs or alcohol present
    • TOD just a few hours before they were found
    • Victims were healthy, male had expensive dental work
    • Victims had eaten some kind of fruit or fruit with ice cream a few hours before their death
    Other
    • Aside from jewelry, all other possessions and ID of the victims were missing
    • Multiple LE agencies are now investigating. Local LE said there may be information about where the couple were heading prior to their murders
    Evidence
    • Gun used to kill the victims was found under the seat of a local resident from Latta, SC, a month after the murders. He was stopped by LE for drunken driving, the weapon was found under the seat of his truck. Ballistics tests showed it was the same gun used in the murders. The serial number had been partially filed
    • Man who had the murder weapon was questioned and given a poly exam, results were mixed*
    • Brother of the man arrested with the murder weapon in his possession was also investigated
    • Report from persons at a fruit stand near Florence, SC who said a couple who looked like the victims was seen the day of the murders. Conflicting details about vehicle.
    * Someone had an alibi of visiting their wife in a hospital some distance away. Alibi should be questioned

    This is a draft. Feel free to cut and paste to your own version with additional information.

    These are all the facts available to the public now.
     
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  15. phenolred

    phenolred Active Member

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    Thinking back to something I looked into back in 2008 has piqued my interest considering he was from Pennsylvania.

    I was looking into the shirt James was wearing and wondered if he might have been a fan of the IMSA Camel GT race series. He was wearing a shirt from the Sebring( florida) race in 1975. That race was in January 1975. I went back and looked at the racing schedule for 1976.

    There was a race August 7, 1976 in Talladega Alabama. They were killed August 9, 1976. The next race on the schedule was for August 15th 1976 at the Poconos Raceway in Long pond Pennsylvania.

    So, I wondered maybe he was a big racing fan or was working for a team or maybe a vendor, all kinds of vendors work those events, tshirt sales, concessions etc.. Just has me wondering if perhaps they might have been traveling north to go to the Poconos race in PA.
     
  16. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    But wouldn’t there be records of him working for these racing organizations? It seems they would have noticed him missing too. It’s a long shot, but hopefully with this ID news, someone who was around these people back then will come forward and clear some things up.
     
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  17. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    Great summary @Betty P , thanks for posting that.
     
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  18. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    I like how you're thinking about this - along the lines of what could have attracted them to be in that area at that time.
     
  19. Awsi Dooger

    Awsi Dooger Well-Known Member

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    Extremely helpful. I entered Locklear Road since that spelling seems to show up on all the maps.

    Turns out the topography hasn't changed nearly as much as I'd been led to believe. The barren farmland from my visit in October 2019 looks like barren farmland from the two aerials on either side of the murders in 1966 and 1983. I was expecting to see tree cover on both sides of Locklair that was later removed. Instead the tree covered areas of today were the same tree covered areas in 1966. The only major difference is that I-95 looks like it was under construction in 1966. I've seen several aerials of that type on other interstates. Everything is laid out including the circular ramps but it hasn't found concrete yet. Locklair was dirt in 1966 and so was I-95.

    Those old aerials make me more convinced that these murders did occur near the intersection of Locklair and Old St. John's Road, where I filmed the video. The newspaper picture from the day the bodies were discovered shows the bodies on the right bank just off Locklair, with trees on both sides then a major clearing at distant left. I drove the entirety very slowly and stopped frequently, looking both directions. There were only two areas that fit those criteria...near the intersection and then much further ahead where Locklair is closest to I-95. I filmed videos in both spots but decided to go with the intersection version because I have to believe if those murders had been within 30 yards of I-95 that aspect would have made every report. I linked the other video in the recently closed thread, to demonstrate that it does look the part but doesn't sound the part. Besides, every account says half mile from I-95 or 400 meters from I-95. That is true of intersection version not midsection version.

    But now I don't understand the very specific summary of the vehicle thwarted by a tall fence and then pulling into the parking area of a tobacco stand. I've only seen or heard that from one source. It seemed credible but these aerials don't show any hint of that and the 1976 photo reveals nothing similar. While visiting the scene it was obvious that Old St. John's Church Road receives exponentially more traffic than Locklair Road. I believe the murderer went just far enough down Locklair to get away from the larger road, then committed the murders and turned around to get out of there.

    BTW, I've seen that aerials site previously but always clicked away due to the watermark aspect. But it isn't bad at all if you zoom in to a specific area, essentially leaving the boxy watermarks far afield and not a bother.
     
  20. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    I heard you mention the tobacco shed in your video, so I looked for it too, but didn't see it. I trust you on the location being near the intersection. I've just seen rather small, cropped versions of the crime scene, but trees are visible in the background.

    What time of night was it they estimate they were killed? I'm kind of surprised, too, that one of them didn't try to run. I suppose it was because the killer had a gun. Perhaps James thought if he tried to fight the killer, they would shoot Pamela. Then again, its possible there were two persons there. Were they able to get an idea of footprints? How many people were at the crime scene? Probably not.

    I was just wondering what might have happened in the hours before they were killed? Were they still traveling on the road late at night or were they kidnapped and held for a while? If it all happened pretty quickly, then it means they were traveling late at night. Either that or they were awakened from sleep.

    The killer was local, most likely. Did they just cruise up and down the interstate around Sumter County looking for people to victimize?

    Re historic aerials, someone used them in another old cold case here and they were helpful. I've not subscribed, but I think that's the only way you can remove the watermark.
     
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