On August 9, 1976, a trucker passing through Sumter County, South Carolina, stopped on the side of the road to take a break from a long haul. He was stunned to see two bodies: one, an athletic man with a broad build. The other, a woman of average height with dark hair. Each of them had been shot multiple times in the upper chest and had been dead for some time when the trucker discovered them,
Investigators were initially stumped as to who the victims were or what could have happened to them. Neither of them carried a driver’s license or any other form of identification. There were indications that they may have been wealthy: they wore fine clothes, were carrying nice jewelry, and each appeared to have had high-quality dental care.
For forty-five years, the two were known only as the “Sumter County Does,” with the name being identified as “Jock Doe” and the woman as “Jane Doe”.
The only witness was a hermit who lived in the remote region where the bodies were found. The man told authorities that he believed he heard a car door open and then slam in the distance, followed by gunshots. Given that the region is so far away from any major cities, the hermit assumed he heard a hunter taking shots at deer.
The trucker who found the bodies, Martin Durant, sped to a nearby store to inform the clerk of his discovery. The clerk, Charles Graham, called the police. Police initially believed that the pair could have been from Canada. A man in the region told authorities he thought he’d met the male victim before his death and claimed the man said his name was “Jock”. Authorities assumed this was a misheard “Jacques,” a typical French name.
Forty-five years after their discovery, the victims were identified by the DNA Doe Project in January 2021. The man was revealed to be James Freund, a 29-year-old man from Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The woman was determined to be Pamela Buckley, a 24-year-old woman from Redwood County, Minnesota. They had each been reported as missing a year before the discovery of the bodies.
The relationship between the two is unclear. However, the case has since reopened in light of the identification of the victims. The families have been notified; authorities turned their attention to solving another mystery: the identity of the person who murdered the pair of travelers back in 1976.