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Crime News Cold Cases

Police Identify 16-Year-Old Maryland Girl's Killer After 52 Years

The Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland identified Forest Clyde Williams III as the killer of Pamela Conyers, 16, whose death by strangulation in 1970 stumped detectives for decades.

By Christina Coulter
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The 52-year-old cold case murder of a Maryland 16-year-old has been solved thanks to advances in genetic genealogy, but her killer won't be brought to justice because he's already dead, authorities say.

Pamela Lynn Conyers was found strangled to death in a wooded area of Anne Arundel County on Oct. 20, 1970. She'd been reported missing by her family after she never returned from a trip to the the Harundale Plaza shopping center.

Now authorities say they believe they know who killed her: Forrest Clyde Williams III, who was 21 at the time of Conyer's murder.

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“After more than 52 years, we’ve identified the suspect in the murder of Pamela Lynn Conyers,” said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal Awad Friday, according NBC affiliate WBAL. “That suspect is Forrest Clyde Williams III; however, Mr. Williams died in 2018. If he were still alive, he would have been charged with the murder of Pamela Conyers.”

A police handout of cold case victim Pamela Lynn Conyers

Williams, from Salem, Virginia, would be 74 years old if he had not died of natural causes, police said. There was no evidence suggesting that Williams knew Conyers before the killing.

Authorities distributed a photo of Williams, taken by the Anne Arundel County Police when he was booked for an unrelated arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct shortly after Conyers' murder. Police did not link Williams to any other unsolved crimes, according to the Associated Press.

Conyers, a student at Glen Burnie High School, was last seen alive around 8:30 pm on Oct.16, 1970. She'd attended a pep rally at the school and later borrowed her family's car to go to the Harundale Plaza shopping center. Three days later, the abandoned vehicle was recovered by police in a wooded area near Mountain Road and Route 100, according to Washington D.C. news station FOX 5Conyers' body was found nearby. 

Maryland's Chief Medical Examiner determined that Conyers’ cause of death was "asphyxiation due to strangulation"; although several pieces of evidence were recovered from the scene, Fox 5 reported, none were of much use until DNA technology advanced.

A police handout of Forrest Clyde Williams III

 “The FBI, through investigative genetic genealogy, have helped identify the man who killed Pamela,” Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office Tom Sobocinski said on Friday, according to WBAL. “We hope this offers some consolation to those who loved her.”

Detectives compared a DNA profile extracted from evidence to publicly available genealogical databases; officials didn't specify which relatives led to Williams .

Oxygen.com was unable to reach the Anne Arundel County Police Department for further clarification on the nature of the evidence or the process taken to find Williams' identity.

Classmate Mike Golden told WBAL that Conyers' fate had "haunted [him] for close to 53 years."

“I remember distinctly when Pam went missing," he told the outlet. "I remember that Monday morning. I had (trigonometry) class with her, and seeing her empty desk really brought it home, made it real. I still mourn her death. I got to be old. She didn’t. She’s forever 16.”

Golden told the Associated Press that, despite the identification of Conyers’ killer, the situation was “still frustrating.”

“I don’t know anything about this guy,” he said of the suspect. “It’s something all of our classmates … have been grappling with for all these years.”

Conyers’ case has not yet been closed – detectives still have not ruled out the possibility that another person or persons may have been involved in her murder, and ask anyone with relevant information to call police at 410-222-4731 or the Anne Arundel County police tip line at 410-222-4700.

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