CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (TCD) -- Investigators solved a decades-old cold case this week following the arrest of a 62-year-old man who allegedly sexually assaulted and shot a woman in 1979.
On Thursday, July 13, Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry announced the arrest and indictment of Andre Taylor on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and second-degree rape in connection with the assault and death of Vickie Belk.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Belk’s boyfriend reported her missing to the Prince George’s County Police Department on Aug. 28, 1979, and said they saw each other the day prior at work at the Department of Agriculture. She reportedly never returned to her home in Suitland.
On Aug. 29 at 7 p.m., a teen found a body about 20 feet off the road in a wooded area and contacted the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrived at the scene and "determined the case appeared to be a murder."
The victim was positively identified the next day as Vickie Lynn Belk, and the medical examiner determined she died from a gunshot wound.
Detectives continued to investigate her case over the last several decades, but the case continued to run cold — until now.
In 2022, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Section started looking into Belk’s case again and resubmitted her clothing to the Combined DNA Indexing System. A match came back Nov. 1, 2022, for Andre Taylor, a convicted felon.
According to the statement, at the time of Belk’s death, Taylor reportedly lived only a few miles from where her body was found. He was 18 years old in 1979.
Investigators attempted to locate Taylor but had a difficult time because he did not have a known address. He was eventually found in Washington, D.C., with help from several other law enforcement agencies. Taylor was arrested June 22 and extradited to Maryland.
Belk and Taylor reportedly did not know each other, and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said his previous crimes were "not similar to the Belk murder."
Belk’s family started the Vickie Belk Foundation following her death to "assist in raising funds for graduating seniors at Oakland Baptist Church and provide opportunities that continue the legacy of Vickie Lynn Belk."
Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry said following the arrest, "This case occurred more than four decades ago and yet the detectives and forensics personnel never gave up. They continuously looked for ways to identify a suspect. This arrest serves as a reminder of our commitment to doing everything we can to solve crimes. We never give up. We never stop seeking justice for victims."