Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (South Carolina) has made progress in one of its oldest cold cases when the victims were recently identified, more than 44 years after their bodies were found.
The bodies of the two victims—both found with multiple gunshot wounds—were discovered by a truck driver on Aug. 9, 1976. Since then, the sheriff’s office has used numerous resources in attempts to identify the victims, including working with Matt McDaniel, a Clemson resident interested in the case, who suggested reaching out to DNA Doe Project in 2019.
The organization identified Pamela Mae Buckley and James Paul Freund as the most likely candidates for the Does.
Buckley, originally from Minnesota, was born in 1951 and was last seen in and reported missing from Colorado Springs, Colorado, in December 1975; and Freund, born in 1946, was last seen in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area in December 1975. It does not appear that Freund was reported as a missing person.
The families of Buckley and Freund have been notified of the likely positive identifications. Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will honor the families’ requests for privacy.
“It’s great to be able to bring the families some closure after starting this investigation so many years ago,” Sheriff Anthony Dennis said. “We also plan to reopen the investigation and follow up with a person of interest.”
Timeline of Attempts to Identify Subjects:
• 1976 – Photos and renderings of the male and female victims were circulated nationwide for possible identification
• 2007 – Former Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore had the bodies exhumed to take samples for DNA extraction and identification
• June 2019 – Samples were sent to DNA Doe Project for testing
• July 2020 – Samples also sent to California and Alabama for DNA extraction and comparison. Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will continue to follow up on credible leads regarding this case as they come in
Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will continue to follow up on credible leads regarding this case as they come in.
Republished courtesy of Sumter County Sheriff's Office. Photo: Artist's rendition of Sumter Jane Doe 1976. Credit: Carl Koppelman/DDP