In the early hours of August 9th, 1976, a young man and woman were seen by a hermit to have been dropped off at Locklair Road, an isolated dirt road that is located between I-95 and Lynches River Road (S.C. 341), in Sumter County, South Carolina.
At 6:20am on August 9th, a trucker called Martin Durant found the bodies of the female and male victim. He contacted a local shop keeper, who then contacted the police.
Each victim had been shot 3 times in their upper chests by a .357 calibre revolver.
The male victim was referred to as “Jock Doe”, due to a witness who said he met the victims said that the male victim was called “Jock”, and that he had left his Canadian family to be with his girlfriend. He also said that his father was a well-known doctor.
The male victim was first estimated to be between 18-22 years old, but after examining his teeth, the age range was changed to 18-30 years old. The man was said to have an olive-complexation, short brown hair which was shoulder length, brown eyes and very distinctive bushy eyebrows. He was over 6ft, weighed about 150 (68kg) pounds and had elaborate dentist work which could have been done outside of America. His body was also covered in scars, which were thought to be from a contact sports.
The male victim was found wearing faded Levi branded jeans, and a red t-shirt that read: “Coors – America’s Light Beer” on the front and “Camel Challenger GT Sebring ’75”. The shirt was then identified to be a promotional item from the Sebring Races in Sebring, Florida in 1975. He was not wearing any underpants when he was found, but he did have a packet of “Grant’s Truck Stop” matches which are believed to have originated from a Grant’s Truck Stop in the Midwest.
He was also wearing a yellow-gold Bulova Accutron wrist watch, and a 14-karat gold ring set with a grey star sapphire stone. The initials JPF were engraved in the ring. This supported the theory that the male victim, “Jock Doe”, came from a wealthy background.
The female victim was younger than the male victim. She was aged around 18 – 25 years old. She was 5″5′ (165cm), weighed between 100 – 105 pounds (45-47kg), and had a slim build. Her olive complexation shared a likeness with that of the male victims, leading many people to speculate they were siblings.
The woman also had reddish-brown hair, which was shoulder length, and bluish-grey eyes although some sources state that her eye colour was hazel. She had two distinctive moles on the left side of her face, close to her mouth.
The corner went on to say that this lady had “unusually long” natural eyelashes, and both of the victims were found well-groomed and very clean. The lady had fillings in all of her back teeth, and if she were to smile her teeth would appear straight. This lady had never been pregnant, had no surgical scars, and had no scars on her body. Her legs were also unshaven.
The woman was found wearing an unbleached white muslin blouse over a pink, front-tying halter top, along with blue denim cut-off shorts (Daisy Dukes) and had a floral print scarf tied around her waist as a belt. She wore lavender and hot pink Stride-Rite branded wedge-heeled sandals. Like the man, the lady was also found with no underwear on. She was also wearing three distinctive rings:
- The first one was a black, oblong stone with small turquoise chips embedded in it.
- The second had an ornate scrolling feather shape with coral and turquoise stones.
- The third was a simple metal band with red, blue and white stones.
The rings were all made of sterling silver, and it is thought that they originated from the Southwestern United States and that they were authentic Native American or Mexican costume jewellery.
The couple’s bodies were kept at a local funeral home, with see-through lids, in the hope that someone would be able to identify them. People from across the country, including a lot of parents of young runaways, came to see the bodies – but none were able to identify them. The couple’s funeral took place on August 14th, 1977 and hundreds of people attended. The couple were buried in Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, Oswego, South Carolina.
The initials on the ring “JPF” made police believe that the male’s name began with a “J”, which supported what a man had said previously about the male victim calling himself “Jock”. The police believed his name may have been “Jacques”.
A man by the name of Lonnie George Henry was arrested in Latta, South Carolina, in 1977 due to driving whilst intoxicated. After police fired test shots, they found that Henry had the exact same gun that killed the two victims. Although this seemed like the right guy, charges were never brought against him due to lack of evidence, and he died in 1982.
Another theory is that serial killer Henry Lee Lucas might have been responsible for the deaths. Lucas confessed to two murders in Sumter County; An elderly woman in 1975 and a young man in 1983. He also said that he had been in Sumter County around the time the couple was killed. However, police are sceptical as Lucas had been known to make false confessions. He was never charged with the crime, and died in jail in 2001.
In July, 2019, the DNA Doe Project was asked for their help in order to identify the couple. $2,300 was raised in order to fund the extraction of usable DNA profiles from bone marrow for genetic genealogy research. On 12th October, 2020, the project was able to release the victims ancestral backgrounds.
On the 21st January, 2021, the couple were finally identified. Their names are James Paul Freund and Pamela Mae Buckley. James was last seen in December, 1975 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Pamela, who was originally from Minnesota, was last seen in Colorado Springs, Colorado also in December 1975. Pamela was also reported missing.
Although it is amazing that we have names for these victims, police are still trying to figure out who killed them, and why.
Unsolved, true crime, USA