The story of Vickie Lynn Harrell (Aug. 15, 1946 – Aug. 14, 1972) is hardly touched upon online aside from the posting of repeated information. All the more reason to explore as Cold Case of the Month for June 2017.
From the Indiana State Police we learn the following:
August 12, 1972: Vickie Lynn Harrell steps in her 4-door dark blue 1965 Plymouth Valiant. She is in the K-Mart parking lot on the east side of Bloomington, Indiana. This is the last time she is seen alive.
August 13, 1972: When Vickie does not return home, her roommate reports her missing to the Bloomington Police. I cannot find if police eliminated the roommate as a suspect, whether the roommate was male/female, whether the roommate was also a babysitter and if not, where was Vickie’s daughter? We know the daughter’s first name: Samantha. I have not found anything about her date of birth, the father, and whether police eliminated Samantha’s father as a suspect in Vickie’s murder. Not accusing anyone, just wondering as it isn’t in the public domain.
August 14, 1972: Vickie’s car is found in a parking lot near the College Mall in Bloomington, Indiana. I cannot find whether the car keys were found in the car, whether there was blood in the car, or if any personal belongings such as a purse were inside the car. Car tires are an excellent source of information. I hope someone scraped the tires for mud and other residue to find out on what kind of surfaces the car drove last.
One day shy of her birthday and after her car is found, an Owen County highway worker discovers Vickie’s body one mile north of Ind.46. I do not know if police eliminated this worker as a suspect.
Vickie’s body is face down in a water-filled ditch. Is this consistent with her lung content? She was on the east edge on Concord Road which is an access road to McCormick’s Creek State Park, about 2.5 miles east of Spencer, Owen County, Indiana. Her body was nude and there was evidence of strangulation.
I cannot find any information about her clothes, any trauma on the body, possible assault, or the strangulation. Was that manually or with an object? Left, right-handed, or equal pressure? I could not find anything about her autopsy in the public domain.
We do know that her killer used a knife or a sharp object to carve two alpha characters e.g. letters on her chest, post-mortem. We do not know which letters her killer carved on her chest, whether they were in caps, or whether together they formed a word or an expression. Do we know whether this was most likely a left or right-handed person?
If her killer used a knife to carve letters in her chest why was that knife not also used to kill? Why the strangulation? Both stabbing and strangulation are personal acts. The carving was done post-mortem so an after-thought to leave a signature or a message? Was Vickie killed where she was found? I did not see anything about possible dragging signs, foot prints, or tire tracks.
According to Google Maps the distance between Concord Road and the College Mall in Bloomington is about 20 miles or 32 min by car. How was Vickie transported to Concord Road from the mall where her car was found? Can her lung contents give us any clues? Anything under her fingernails? Was she taken and driven in her own car to Concord Road? Did her killer then drive her car back to the mall?
UPDATE: Vickie’s sister confirmed 1946.
I wish we knew more about Vickie. What did she do after high school? How did she make a living? Did she have any enemies? She was a member of the Bedford Pilgrim Holiness (Wesleyan) Church. Did she ever mention that she was afraid? How old was her daughter when she died? There are so many questions.
If the evidence in this case still exists we can try to find answers by using modern technology. I hope her fingernail scrapings are still in the evidence room as well as a full autopsy report.
If you have any information about this case, please contact the Indiana State Police’s District Investigative Commander at 1-812-332-4411 or 1-800-423-1286.
In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis. Often more information is online or in newspaper archives. The goal of these posts is to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.
If you have any thoughts about Vickie Lynn Harrell I encourage you to post them on your social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.) Every time that we mention Vickie online we enhance her digital footprint. We must make sure that she keeps her web presence if we ever wish to find answers in her case. You can help by linking to or sharing this post.
Thank you for remembering Vickie Lynn Harrell with us.