Information sought on county's 10 cold cases

February 11, 2007

There are 10 cold cases - in Washington County. The following is information about those cases.

Body found: June 11, 1975

Investigating agency: Maryland State Police

Three fishermen found the body of John William Clark, 17, of northwest Washington, D.C., floating in the Potomac River about 40 feet from the West Virginia shore, two miles east of U.S. 522. His body had been in the water for more than five days.

At the time, Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class R.D. Brown said Clark had been shot once in the chest and once in the back.

Maryland State Police Sgt. Steve Ganley, now retired, has said Clark left the Washington area with an unidentified person. Although many tips surfaced during the investigation, the case has not been solved.


Dec. 23, 1978

Investigating agency: Maryland State Police

With several rings on her fingers and a blue coat by her side, the body of 16-year-old Lisa Ann Ryder was found in a ravine off Md. 65 near Antietam National Battlefield. She had two gunshot wounds to her head and was naked from the waist down.

Ryder's blue jeans were found more than two miles from where her body was found, according to published reports.

Ganley has said the girl last was seen four days before Christmas at her mother's home in Alexandria, Va.

Body recovered:March 13, 1979

Investigating agency: Maryland State Police

Nearly three years after she graduated from Clear Spring High School, the body of 20-year-old Goldie Elizabeth Fritz was pulled from the Potomac River west of Indian Springs. Police said she had drowned.

Ganley has said Fritz was with her boyfriend before she drowned. The boyfriend told police that while the two were on the banks of the Potomac River in a remote area near Hancock, they were accosted by a man with a gun. The boyfriend told police he was ordered to swim across the Potomac River and Fritz was forced at gunpoint to walk to the river's edge, Ganley has said.

Ganley said the boyfriend said he heard two gunshots after he made it to the West Virginia shore.

In 2004, clothing taken from the crime scene was tested for DNA, but didn't turn up any new leads, Maryland State Police Cold Case Unit Detective Sgt. John Cook has said.

Maryland State Police Cold Case Unit Sgt. Otis Whitaker said Wednesday that the Fritz homicide will be reviewed.

Body found: April 14, 1984

Investigating agency: Maryland State Police

Loraine Zimmerman, 15, wearing a South Hagerstown High School embroidered varsity jacket, left her aunt's house in downtown Hagerstown on April 6, 1984. She was seen walking in the areas of East Franklin Street and North Cannon Avenue.

Her body, hidden under large pieces of cardboard, weighted down by rocks, was found eight days later, 3.6 miles south of Boonsboro and about 70 yards south of Reno Monument Road, Ganley has said. She had been strangled, raped and beaten.

According to published reports 10 years after Zimmerman's death, retired Maryland State Police Sgt. Keith Wattenshaidt said the investigation never turned up any solid leads. In an attempt to solve the case, Wattenshaidt appeared in 1988 with nationally known psychic Dorothy Allison on the television show "Unsolved Mysteries."

Whitaker said Fritz's homicide will be reviewed.

Body found:July 20, 1987

Investigating agency: Hagerstown Police Department

The blood-covered body of Sherry Ann Knapp, 24, was found by her mother shortly after noon on the first floor of her West Franklin Street apartment. Her baby was found alive in its crib upstairs, and was thought to be in the apartment when Knapp was killed.

Retired Hagerstown Police Department Lt. Richard Johnson has said Knapp was stabbed to death.

Johnson has said "there were some persons of interest, but there was never sufficient evidence to bring charges."

Body found: July 1, 1989

Investigating agency: Hagerstown Police Department

Charles Thomas Hopkins, 65, was found shot to death about 4:30 a.m. on the sidewalk in front of 157 S. Prospect St.

Hopkins, who told neighbors he worked for the U.S. Navy, had for 11 months rented an apartment just down the street from where his body was found, according to published reports at the time.

At the time, Medical Examiner Dr. Edward W. Ditto III said Hopkins was shot at least four times in his upper body and died instantly.

Body found: Dec. 30, 1993

Investigating agency: Maryland State Police

Mildred Wagoner, 35, was found on her bed, dead from a gunshot wound to her head at her home at 2401 Dargan School Road.

One of Wagoner's children found a .22-caliber handgun with one spent round and put it on the nightstand next to the bed. Another child put the gun in the nightstand's drawer, Ganley has said.

He has said Wagoner had been in an argument earlier in the day with family members. No investigators were "willing to write this off as a suicide," Ganley has said.

There was not enough evidence to show whether it was a suicide or a homicide, he said.

Body found: March 9, 1998

Investigating agency: Hagerstown Police Department

The Herald-Mail Articles