How The Sumter County Does Were Finally Identified

On August 9, 1976, a truck driver was driving along a remote dirt road in Sumter County, South Carolina, when he made an awful discovery. Off the side of the road lay the bodies of a young man and woman– shot to death, according to Unsolved Mysteries. The pair had no identification on them, and this single fact would lead to this young duo remaining unidentified for more than 40 years.

These two individuals were given the names Jock and Jane Doe and became widely known as the Sumter County Does. The initial investigation mentioned that a witness was tracked down who heard a car drive down that same road earlier in the day, and also heard gunshots before the same car drove away. Aside from the lone witness, there wasn't much else to go on. There was speculation that the two might have actually been related, or might have been hitchhiking across the country. Despite their fingerprints and sketches being released no one had identified either of them, and they were buried in 1977. Meanwhile, the case remained open.

The Sumter County Does were Identified 44 years later

For 44 years, the man and woman's identity remained a mystery as did the circumstances surrounding their murder including who killed them. There have been leads over the years, including one about a man who possessed a gun believed to be the murder weapon, per Unsolved Mysteries. However, that man was never charged. Finally, in 2007 the bodies of the Sumter County Does were exhumed to try to identify them using DNA technology.

On January 19, 2021, the bodies of Jock and Jane Doe were finally identified via work done by the DNA Doe Project, according to Law and Crime. They were identified as Pamela Mae Buckley, 25, and James Philip Freund, 30. There has been speculation that the couple possibly met while hitchhiking. 

While the pair was identified, the mystery behind the circumstances of their awful murders is still unsolved. The investigation into the couple's deaths is ongoing, but on the positive side, their families finally know what happened to their missing loved ones.