Richard-Where was Coffey around this time?
Fred Coffey was still in the Navy, stationed in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA area. He was attempting to re-enlist for a fourth 4-year term of service, but had been caught and charged with the 1973 or 74 abduction and rape of a 13-year-old girl who was the daughter of another Navy man.
Civil authorities had jurisdiction on the case, but evidently Coffey's command was aware of the charges. He was told that he could not re-enlist, and he was given an HONORABLE Discharge on 17 September 1974 when his third enlistment expired.
I cannot explain why the Navy let him off the hook, other than to speculate that he was probably a very squarred-away sailor who did great work and who had a believable line of BS. Perhaps the civil authorities did not make any of their evidence available to the Navy, and when it came time for Coffey's discharge, all they knew that there were some kind of civil charges pending.
Coffey's personal travels while still in the Navy in 1974 are not known. He may have been on leave, or may have been looking for a new career job, but I do not know where he was other than in Virginia Beach, VA. He next appears working for VITRO Laboratories in Wheaton, Maryland from April thru July 1975. By October 1975, he was back in Virginia Beach, VA where he was charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" - the minor being a 15-year-old girl.
Coffey had family in Bristol, VA which is in the very western end of the state, just near the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee. He was a strong suspect in the disappearance and murder of a little 8-year-old boy in Bristol.
He also had family and connections in North Carolina, where he served in the NC National Guard in the late 1970's. He was convicted of murdering little 10-year-old Amanda Ray in NC in 1979, and is the primary suspect in the murder of 5-year-old Neely Smith, also of NC in 1982. He was also convicted of nine counts of child sexual abuse involving three children in NC in 1986. Prior to his murder trial, he told a court appointed psychiatrist that he had sexually abused over 100 children.
Coffey owned a number of cars over the years, and was stationed on both the East and West Coasts during his Navy career. His first tour of duty (roughly 1962-1966) was aboard a Fleet Oiler out of Norfolk, Va. His second duty station was in the San Diego, CA area (roughly 1966-1970 or 71) and his third duty station was back in the Norfolk, VA area (roughly 1970 or 71 to 17 September 1974). I do not have exact dates, but am only estimating based on his having served three 4-year enlistments. During his West Coast service, he was deployed for a tour of duty in Viet-Nam.
He was married three times and held a succession of different jobs after leaving the Navy.
He is currently serving a life sentence in Pender Prison, NC, but comes up for parole every year in July.