The investigation into a 40-year-old double murder in Staunton has taken another turn.
Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson says police are close to making an arrest in the case, a major step in an investigation that one private investigator says has had its share of problems since the 1967 killings.
Roy Hartless, a private investigator and retired Staunton police officer, has been looking into the double murders of Constance Hevener, 19, and 20-year-old Carolyn Perry for a decade.
The women were shot and killed at Staunton's High's Ice Cream Store back in 1967.Hartless says important information regarding possible leads were not properly documented early on in the investigation. "I'm going to tell you right up front that there were things that should have been done back in 1967 that were not done, and I'm not talking about modern day technology," Hartless said.
"Some information was there in the file and some wasn't, but the information that was in the file was not documented the way it should have been."
Information like the account of Joyce Bradshaw, who told police about an encounter she had with a possible suspect and a gun just before the murders.
"She said she had a bullet in there for her stepfather, who I will not name, and...a girl that lived on Grubert Avenue, and her last name was Hevener," said Bradshaw.
Hartless says there was little mention of Bradshaw in early case files, but he says her story has remained the same for 41 years.
"Based on what she told in recent times was almost verbatum what she told in 1967, and in my view that makes her credible," said Hartless.
Hartless points out that while efforts to crack the case may not have been consistent over the last four decades, investigators have traveled coast to coast looking for clues.
He says his dedication to the case comes from a promise he made years ago. "I made a committment to the mother of one of the victims that I would do everthing I could to ensure, if possible, some sort of closure for the families," he said.
Hartless is just one of many who has independantly worked on this investigation.
We attempted to reach Staunton's police chief for comment on this story, but he has yet to return our calls.Reported by Keith McGilvery