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Crime News Murders

Man Arrested for 1979 Murder of Maryland Mom Found Shot to Death in Woods

Vickie Lynn Belk's body was found in a wooded area of Charles County, Maryland, on August 29, 1979, a day after she was reported missing. 

By Elisabeth Ford
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An arrest had been made in the 44-year-old sexual assault and murder case of Maryland mother Vickie Lyn Belk.

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that a grand jury indicted 63-year-old Andre Taylor on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and second-degree rape.

Taylor, who was 18 at the time of Belk’s death, was arrested on June 27 at his Washington D.C. home.

On August 28, 1979, Belk was reported missing by her boyfriend after he last saw her the day before at the Department of Agriculture where they both worked. Concerns arose when Belk never returned to her apartment in Suitland, Maryland.

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At 7 p.m. the day after Belk was reported missing, a local teen was biking in the Bryans Road area of Charles County, Maryland, when he discovered a body in a wooded area 20 feet from the road, according to the sheriff’s office.

Police responded to the boy’s 911 call and determined the case to be a murder. The Baltimore medical examiner positively identified the body as Belk and determined she had suffered from a gunshot wound.

A photo of Vicky Lynn Belk

Over the decades, investigators continuously worked on solving Belk’s murder.

In early 2022, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s forensics team subjected Belk’s clothing to newer and more advanced DNA testing, which came up with a profile that was then entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a national DNA database.

The system found a match to the DNA profile on Nov. 1, 2022, with DNA from Taylor, a convicted offender, according to the sheriff's office.

According to arrest records from the 1980s, Taylor lived at an address in Bryans Road, less than four miles from where Belk's body was found.

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Investigators initially had trouble locating Taylor, as he had no recorded address since 2019. However, with help from authorities on the local and federal levels, officials obtained a search warrant for Taylor’s DNA, and he was eventually arrested in Washington D.C.

Following his arrest, Taylor was taken to the Charles County Detention Center, where he was charged, and is currently being held without bond.

A review of the original 1979 report did not reveal any information that showed a connection between Taylor and Belk, the sheriff's office stated in a press release.

A mugshot of Andre Taylor

“This case occurred more than four decades ago and yet the detectives and forensics personnel never gave up,” Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry said. “They continuously looked for ways to identify a suspect. This arrest serves as a reminder of our commitment to doing everything we can to solve crimes. We never give up. We never stop seeking justice for victims.

At the time of her death, Belk was survived by her son, who was 7 years old at the time, five siblings and her parents, who have since died.

Belk graduated from T. C. Williams High School in 1969 and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from St. Augustine College in Raleigh, N.C. in 1974. She had a career as a management analyst in the Office of Operations and Finance in the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the Oakland Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Through her church, Belk’s family created the Vickie Belk Foundation, which was founded to grant scholarships to graduating seniors within the church and honor her memory. About 100 scholarships have been awarded to graduates over the years.

Kay Belk, Vickie’s sister, said her family has been waiting for an arrest in the case for decades.

Nearly 44 years ago, our family lost Vickie Lynn Belk, a beloved mother, sister and friend to a tragic and heinous crime," she said. "The news of the grand jury returning an indictment for the individual responsible for Vickie’s death and an arrest in her murder begins the long-awaited process of justice finally being served.

“We are grateful for the tireless efforts of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office detectives and the forensics personnel who never ceased seeking justice on Vickie’s behalf," she added. "And we extend our thanks to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office for their commitment and prosecution of Vickie’s case.”

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