‘It’s time to say something’: Second suspect identified more than 50 years after Maryland teen was strangled to death

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By journalsofus.com


Anne Arundel County Police Department

An undated photo of Pamela Lynn Conyers, murdered in 1970.



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Researchers who have been working for more than half a century to solve the case of Pamela Lynn Conyers, 16 years oldwho was strangled to death in central Maryland, says they have identified a second suspect in her murder, although their search for answers is not over.

The second suspect, Donald Willard, 74, was identified using genetic genealogy and traditional investigative techniques, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal Awad announced Monday.

Both Willard and the first suspect, Forrest Clyde Williams, died before they could be charged in Pamela’s death, police said. According to investigators, it is unclear if or how the suspects knew each other, and there is no indication that they knew Pamela prior to her murder.

Pamela, a high school student, disappeared on October 16, 1970, after going to a shopping center to run an errand for her mother, according to police.

Three days after she disappeared, Pamela’s car was found abandoned in a wooded area and her body was found a short distance away the next day, police said. A medical examiner determined her cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation and ruled her death a homicide.

Anne Arundel County Police Department

Police are seeking information about Donald Willard (left), 73, and Forrest Clyde Williams, 56.

FBI investigators assisting in the case were able to use genetic genealogy to trace the suspects’ relatives, ultimately leading them to Williams and Willard, said Joe Rothrock, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office.

genetic genealogy is an advance in research technology that combines DNA evidence and traditional genealogy to find biological connections between people, and in recent years has helped the detectives Narrow down your lists of possible suspects unsolved cases.

“This announcement was a long time coming, especially for Pam’s family and friends,” Awad said. “While we hope it provides a sense of closure to everyone who knew and loved her, we know they are still searching for answers to what happened to Pam.”

Although the suspects have been found, investigators have yet to piece together a complete picture of what led to Pamela’s murder. They are now asking the public’s help to fill in the missing pieces and determine if the suspects might have been responsible for other crimes, police spokesman Justin Mulcahy said.

“Share your experiences with us,” Mulcahy said. “Maybe you hunted or fished with (the suspects). Maybe you worked or had a beer with them. If you did, call us.”

As the case dragged on for decades, people may have been hesitant to come forward with information because of their relationship with the suspects or fear of threats to their safety or reputation, Mulcahy said.

“We know that relationships change over time. Perceptions, memories and loyalties change over time. So present any information about these two individuals that you’re thinking, ‘You know, I just wasn’t sure if I should say something,’” he added. “It’s time to say something.”

CNN’s Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.

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