Maryland

New DNA testing helps Maryland investigators arrest suspect 44 years after woman's killing

Vickie Lynn Belk was found killed in a wooded area of Charles County, Maryland, in 1979

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Four decades after a mother was found killed in a wooded area of Charles County, Maryland, authorities say they have arrested the man responsible with the help of advancements in DNA testing technology.

Vickie Lynn Belk was 28 when she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and shot to death. The young mother worked in D.C. and was a resident of Suitland, but her body was discovered miles away in the area of Metropolitan Church Road and Route 227 in Charles County on Aug. 29, 1979, the Charles County Sheriff's Office said.

For years, detectives pursued the case and re-examined the evidence in Belk's killing as forensic technology advanced.

But it wasn't until 2022 that newer technology found that DNA from Belk's clothing matched the DNA profile of 62-year-old Andre Taylor, a D.C. man who was in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a national DNA database, the Charles County Sheriff's Office said.

"We learned Taylor's DNA was in the national database because he was arrested for several violent crimes, which occured in Washington, D.C.," Detectvie Sgt. John Elliot said.

Officers arrested Taylor in D.C. on June 22. He was then extradited to Charles County, where he's being held without bond on murder and rape charges.

Belk's family stood with investigators Thursday at a news conference to announce Taylor's arrest.

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""Our community is a little safer today with this person behind bars," the victim's son, Lamont Belk, said. He was only 7 when his mom was killed.

Investigators said Taylor, who was 18 at the time, kidnapped Belk when she went to her car that was parked at RFK stadium and sexually assaulted her before killing her.

Taylor has ties to the Bryans Road community where Belk’s body was found, the sheriff's office said.

Judy Belk said she and her sister were involved in integrating a public school in Alexandria, Virginia. The family set up the Vickie Belk Scholarship Foundation in her honor that has supported more than 100 students in Alexandria.

"As horrific as Vickie's death was, we've chosen to focus on how she lived," she said.

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