Pamela Lynn Conyers’ parents reported her missing on Oct. 16, 1970, after the 16-year-old didn’t return home from running an errand at the mall that evening.
Four days later, her body was found strangled in a wooded area in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County. The family car she had been driving was found nearby a day earlier.
More than 50 years after the case went cold, the FBI and local police said they have found a suspect using the DNA gathered from the crime scene decades ago and investigative genetic genealogy to compare it with DNA available on public sites.
Williams was eventually pinpointed through DNA from unspecified relatives.
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The suspect was identified as Forrest Clyde Williams III, who was 21 at the time Conyers was killed, but died in 2018.
“If he were still alive, he would have been charged with the murder of Pamela Conyers,” Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal Awad said during in a Friday news conference.
Officials said there’s no evidence Conyers knew Williams who only had a sparse criminal record, including an arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct and a fine for fishing without a license.
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“We are pleased to deliver a measure of justice for Pamela Conyers and her loved ones,” said FBI agent Tom Sobocinski. “Cases may grow cold, investigators may change, but this proves that for law enforcement, victims are never forgotten.”
Investigators haven’t ruled out that another person could have been involved in her murder, however, meaning the case is still open.
Williams went to Anne Arundel County high school but spent most of his life in Virginia. He had two children at the time of his death.
“It’s still frustrating because I don’t know anything about this guy,” Conyers’ old high school classmate said of Williams. “It’s something all of our classmates … have been grappling with for all these years.”
He said he still remembers seeing her empty desk in trigonometry class the Monday morning after her disappearance.
“I still mourn her death,” he continued. “I got to grow old, and she didn’t. She’s forever 16.”