COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A man and a woman found shot to death just off Interstate 95 in South Carolina have been identified by DNA after more than 44 years.
The victims are likely 30-year-old James Paul Freund of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and 25-year-old Pamela Mae Buckley of Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to authorities. Their relationship is unknown. The bodies were exhumed in 2007 to take samples of the DNA, which were sent to the DNA Doe Project for testing. In July, samples were also sent to California and Alabama for DNA extraction and comparison.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said the bodies were discovered by a truck driver on Old St. John Church Road in Lynchburg, South Carolina off of I-95 on Aug. 9, 1976.
Investigators say they were both shot several times with the same gun in August 1976.
Buckley, born in 1951, was originally from Minnesota and was reported missing from Colorado Springs in December of 1975. Freund was born in 1946 and was last seen in Lancaster in December 1975, according to the sheriff's office.
Their families have been notified.
“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.”
Authorities say they hope the identities and photos either jog a memory or prod a guilty conscious to come forward so they can find the killer.