Arrest Made In 44-Year-Old Cold Case Murder Of Maryland Woman
On Aug. 27, 1979, Vickie Lynn Belk was abducted after leaving work at the Department of Agriculture in D.C. Her body was found two days later, and she had been raped and fatally shot.
When the summer of 1979 began, the future looked bright for Vickie Lynn Belk. The 28-year-old was thriving in her career as a management analyst for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. and had a 7-year-old son.
Although young, she had already overcome and accomplished a lot. She had been a child of the civil rights era who was the oldest of six children, reported The Washington Post, and she was among the first Black students who integrated into the Alexandria, Virginia school system. She did well and became the first person in her family to graduate from college.
On Aug. 27, 1979, Belk’s life took a tragic turn when she was kidnapped while leaving work at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. She was then raped and shot to death. Her then-boyfriend reported her missing the next day, and Belk never returned to her apartment, according to a press release from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
Then, on August 29, 1979, Belk’s body was found by a teenager in a wooded area off Metropolitan Church Road near Route 227 in Charles County, Maryland. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Despite extensive efforts from police investigators, Belk’s murder case went cold over the years. However, in 2022, detectives began efforts to reexamine the case utilizing forensic technology that was not available more than four decades ago when the murder took place. They submitted DNA from trace amounts of semen found on Belk’s dress and slip. A profile was developed and entered in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Police learned there was a DNA match in November 2022.
When they got the DNA match that identified a man named Andre Taylor as the killer, they began a thorough investigation of him. They learned that Taylor had previous arrests for violent crimes in the D.C. area. They also learned from arrest records that, in the 1980’s, he lived on Bryans Road at an address that was only four miles from where Belk’s dead body was discovered.
Taylor, who is now 62 according to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, was only 18 at the time of Belk’s murder. He was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and second-degree rape related to his attack on Belk. Taylor was arrested on June 27, 2023. He was extradited to Charles County, and he’s being held without bond, reported NBC Washington.
Vickie Lynn Belk’s family continues to honor her memory. They founded the Vickie Belk Scholarship Foundation in her honor. Many family members were present at the press conference announcing Taylor’s arrest.
Lamont Belk, Vickie’s only child who was 7 at the time of her murder and is now 51, spoke at the press conference. According to The Washington Post, he said, “I just thank God for allowing us to be alive to bear witness to this momentous occasion. Our community is a little bit safer today with this person behind bars.”
Police say solving the cold case is a “shining example of the importance of never giving up” and “pursuing justice relentlessly.”