Identified! Mystery couple murdered in South Carolina, 1976 - Pamela Buckley & James P Freund #8

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

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  1. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think I read that at least one of them has been identified since September? I just wonder if that ID led to the other. Or they just got really lucky with the genealogy research. Hopefully we’ll learn more about their connection. I’m sure there’s much more to the story to learn!
     


  2. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    It’s 10:22 here in Utah, just found out about the ID today. Hats off to the DDP! I’m going to start mapping out this whole story to see if I can make any connections. I wonder when and where Pam and James met. It’s so weird that Pam ended up from Minnesota to SC.
     
  3. Springrain

    Springrain Buckskin Girl was Marcia King

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    I'd love to know when each of them wound up in Colorado, and if Pamela's ex-husband was in the military.
     
  4. ntt1

    ntt1 Well-Known Member

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    Both had pretty good FTDNA results and the DDP pages for both said something to the extent of "within two days" of getting those matches they were identified. I think in some previous solved cases the ID had been made within a few hours of getting their matches. They seem to be able to work really fast at these, depending on how good the results are.
     
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  5. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    It looks like James grew up in a pretty military household. His father was a WW2 medic (veteran) who served in the Philippines and as well as a car salesman later on. James was an only child as well, growing up with both of his parents. His father died when he was 20 while serving in Germany for the US Army.
     
  6. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    That’s remarkable!! Two days?! The future looks brighter by the day for all these unidentified victims!
     
  7. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    Pamela was born on December 16, 1951 in Redwood, Minnesota. Pamela appeared to have lived in Minnesota it appears. Her father was also a WW2 vet who was probably also a medic. Pam had two brothers and two sisters: she was the middle child. The middle child part stands out to me, as it may or may not have affected her. (Pamela’s parents divorced about 5 years after she and James were murdered in SC.)

    Anyways, Pamela left home for the first time in October 1970 to tour with a band called Sunlending. I can’t find anymore info on Pam after this besides the missing persons report.

    Pam disappeared from Colorado Springs, CO in December of 1975, about 9 months before she was killed alongside James. The Colorado connection might explain the southern/native styled jewelry.

    This is all I have so far.
     
  8. Awsi Dooger

    Awsi Dooger Well-Known Member

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    We only saw the GEDmatch numbers in the beginning. They weren't great. But DNA Doe Project had the far superior Family Tree DNA matches, which were low first cousin/high second cousin level. DNA Doe Project can pretend all they want that this was just another case. They tried that act when the numbers were not available on the spreadsheet on the date promised, and several of us were annoyed, including myself. They weren't fooling anybody that this was just another case. They know their own field and which ones are the long term high profile cases. I guarantee as soon as high cM ranges showed up for each of the Sumter County Does on genealogical debut the crew assigned to this case got excited and kept going.

    Two days is not surprising in the least when you consider the situational aspect
     
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  9. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    I’ve decided to make a list of interconnected goals and tasks for figuring out details in this case. I think the best thing to do here is to figure out how and when James and Pam met. I’m going to go over some road maps and see if I can make any connections.
     
  10. Springrain

    Springrain Buckskin Girl was Marcia King

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    So it sounds like Pamela could have lived in Colorado at any point between October 1970 to December 1975. (I know she was on tour with Sunlending, but I mean more for the time she left Minnesota). We know James was last heard from via a phone call to his ex-wife in December 1975, but no location noted. Hoping we can narrow down the timeframe to see when they could've met because I feel they must have met in Colorado.
     
  11. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    Denver and Colorado Springs are only about an hour apart by car
     
  12. wary

    wary Well-Known Member

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    But we actually don’t know if James was ever in Colorado?

    Oops! I posted that before I saw Onceupona December’s interesting post above. Sorry!
     
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  13. Awsi Dooger

    Awsi Dooger Well-Known Member

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    IMO, Unsolved Mysteries was the missed opportunity. This case should have warranted an entire devoted segment instead of brief mention at the end of a segment on coroner's investigators. Huge network show. That clip was when I became aware of this case. I was taping every week via VCR in Las Vegas. Out all night in casinos then I'd get home at 3 or 4 AM and turn on the tape of the new Unsolved Mysteries episode from earlier in the evening. I distinctly remember being so intrigued by the short summary I rewatched it many times. In January 1995 when the segment aired Pamela's parents were still working and in their 60s. No doubt their friends were aware of the missing daughter. Two brothers and two sisters spread across the country. Ex-husband. Former group members. Countless eyes could have made the connection...or at least enough of a possibility to explore. James' mother was alive also. Plus anyone from high school or Army days, etc.

    It is easy to look at the segment now and realize they overplayed some aspects, like the brother and sister angle, olive skin, and also the prominent moles. Neither drawing looks as young as 18 or 20. The age estimate was far too specific and too low for both. Jane's drawing is very good to the point I'm surprised nobody who knew Pamela at least considered the possibility, especially since the August 1976 murder date was not too long after she was last heard from.

    Denial could have played a role also. Even if they've already concluded and declared her dead they might not want to believe it happened like that.

    Unsolved Mysteries not only showed the JPF ring they spelled out the initials on primetime network television. That stands out as greatest misconnect of all, IMO.

    BTW, all four Does in that Unsolved Mysteries segment have now been identified within the past few years. The other two are already updated within this video. The Sumter County Does clip begins at 37:43:

     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  14. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Believer of Miracles

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    No, I played it in response to a member reminiscing of the song when the band was mentioned. This is the only photo I’ve found showing the folk band trio.
    upload_2021-1-22_0-23-21.jpeg
    VANv11iss19p18001
     
  15. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    Update on Pam and Colorado:

    She got married to a man named GCK on October 14, 1972 in Colorado. This means she must've been in Colorado by 1972
     
  16. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Believer of Miracles

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    upload_2021-1-22_0-38-24.jpeg
    “We also plan to reopen the investigation and follow up with a person of interest.”

    Dennis said the case has always been a priority and investigators have worked “tirelessly to solve this case.”

    There are still people in of interest in the case, Dennis said.
    https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article248671040.html


    Whoever shot them has not been found and authorities hope naming the victims and releasing their photos might jog a memory or reach a troubled soul.

    “I hope there is somebody out there in the United States that comes with a guilty conscience or has some kind of memory of these victims,” Baker said at a news conference.

    Their families have been notified and asked for privacy.

    The sheriff said his investigators have always had a person of interest or two in the killings and they plan to reopen the case and press hard for an arrest.

    “The investigation into the homicides remains open and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will continue to follow up on all credible leads,” Dennis said.

    If you have any information about the case, contact the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at 803-436-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC(888-274-6372).

    Bodies found shot to death in SC identified after 44 years, woman missing from Colorado Springs | FOX21 News Colorado
     
  17. Awsi Dooger

    Awsi Dooger Well-Known Member

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    Regarding new investigative angles toward the murders, Matthew from the sumtermysterycouple.com website seems to have a very liberal interpretation of meaningful theories. That is fine. Preferable that way to dismissing everything. I sense he is the source of the new people they want to interview and avenues to explore.

    Also, once names are known the connections surge. James' friends might have heard from him long after family members. Difficult to believe he went from Christmas Day 1975 to August 1976 without making contact. Track them down and they might be aware of who he might have traveled with, or traveled to see.

    Plus now you have actual pictures, and not reliance on drawings or morgue photos. Someone as striking as Pamela could have people who remember seeing and speaking to her, even decades later. After all, this spans more than half the country. I hope they find photos of James that are more current to 1976 than the ones released so far. Frankly I don't think those do a heck of a lot of good, other than with people who knew him for a long time.

    At least one of the hour long true crime programs needs to devote an episode to this case. It should have been done pre-identification.
     
  18. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    The sheriff said his investigators have always had a person of interest or two in the killings and they plan to reopen the case and press hard for an arrest.

    Interesting...
     
  19. onceuponadecember

    onceuponadecember Well-Known Member

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    I’ve got a theory about James. Firstly, let me list my facts before I dive into the theory
    1. There is a photograph of James with his fellow baseball team members on Ancestry
    2. James’s autopsy suggested he played contact sports (Baseball)
    3. James was a US Army Private who had served in Germany
    My theory is that James had an undiagnosed neurological disease and/or mental illness. I sustain this with the fact that many sports players getting constant blows to the head are more likely to develop brain damage. Another thing adding to this is possible exposure to explosives or explosive devices while in Germany.
    Mental illness and neurological disorders/diseases are not uncommon in these types of people. This may also explain why James’s ex-wife divorced him on the grounds of indignities.
     
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  20. Gameman

    Gameman Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, I'm so happy I am not the only person who felt drawn to these people and their story. I felt a bit silly, but this story is really hard on the heart.

    I went on ancestry to see if the two had siblings or living parents. It seems James may have had it pretty rough. His parents married in 1948, so his dad may not have been his biological father. In 1966, his dad, Adam Freund, suddenly died of a heart attack. According to the obituary for Adam Freund, James' mother appears to have been married before to a Coates (maiden name is Brandenburg). In the span of 1966-1976, his mother lost a brother, a husband, a father, and a son. She had married a younger man after being widowed, ended up in California, and was divorced by 1976. With James divorced and having no siblings, it all seems so sad, like he didn't have a place to call home. It's also so sad that this case was solvable because it was, in essence, solved by WS before the announcement. It's heartbreaking that his mother passed relatively recently without knowing or that his daughter never knew what happened as she was growing up.

    Who knows...maybe he wasn't even involved in his daughter's life much. Maybe he wasn't even in touch with his own mother. I know people like that. Maybe he and Pam made up a backstory because they were involved in something illegal. Thirty seems like a strange age to go off on a hitchhiking adventure. I just know that I would like to know more about their story. I'm just so genuinely heartbroken that two young, beautiful people experienced such horrific last moments.

    Does anyone know more about the driver who had the gun? Is he still alive? It's not likely that he possessed a gun with scratched-off serial numbers that happened to have murder two people very recently and didn't have something to do with it. Is there speculation his brother was involved? There is so much information, and I only just heard about the case last year.
     
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