Two women were murdered 25 years ago in Shenandoah National Park; Richmond FBI needs help solving the case

Crime

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Richmond Field Office is asking for the public’s help in solving the 25-year-old murder of two women at Shenandoah National Park.

In 1996, two young women were hiking in the park but never returned, according to the FBI.

The bodies of Julianne “Julie” Williams, 24, and Laura “Lollie” Winans, 26, were found by park rangers on June 1, 1996, at their backcountry campsite near Skyland Resort. They were found in sleeping bags with their throats were slashed in a brutal attack.

The horrific scene was discovered after Winans’ dog was found wandering the paths and was turned into rangers.

FBI said the initial response to the murders led to agents investigating leads across the country. However, the murders remains unsolved.

Some activists over the years pushed for the attack to be investigated as a hate crime. Williams’ church pastor told 8News in 1996 that she was a lesbian.

The FBI, Virginia State Police and the National Park service continue to look into tips that still come in. “This isn’t a cold case. This is very much active,” Dee Rybiski with FBI Richmond told 8News Thursday.

Law enforcement said people around the park during the time of the murders may no longer be in Virginia. Because of this, the FBI said it is important the case be shared nationwide to see if anyone has information.

“There is somebody out there that has the bit of information that’s needed to bring the person or persons to justice that did this,” Rybiski said.

“No bit of information is insignificant, and your tip could be the piece of evidence that brings closure to this 25-year-old case,” the release said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact their local FBI office, FBI Richmond at 804-261-1044 or send tips online here.

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