Our network

Man indicted for 1982 murder of Md. woman | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Man indicted for 1982 murder of Md. woman

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA9) -- Thirty two years after Stephanie Watson's murder, a man has been indicted for her death.

Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks says that 69-year-old John Walsh has been indicted on one count of first degree murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment. Last year, law enforcement got a DNA match and Walsh was charged with the crime.

Walsh was already in prison for a parole violation, according to Alsobrooks.

Watson was supposed to go to work on July 22, 1982 at Laurel Hospital where she worked as a receptionist on the evening shift. She never arrived and her cousin reported her missing. Four days later, her car was found covered in blood.

In September of that year, a witness reported seeing a man throw a plastic bag into a wood line on Larchdale Road in Laurel. "The driver of the vehicle got out and walked towards a wood line carrying an unknown object. The witness took note of this event because the driver was wearing a yellow dish-type glove on his hand. The object was then tossed into the wood line and the driver hurried back to the car and fled the area," according to the charging documents.

The witness went to go look and found what appeared to be bones and teeth. The skull was later identified as Watson, but the rest of her remains have not been found, say officials.

Police and prosecutors believe Walsh killed Watson while out on parole. Walsh was convicted of rape in 1969 and sentenced to 72 years in prison, but he was paroled in 1980. He violated his probation in 1989 when his urine sample tested positive for marijuana, according to Alsobrooks.

Last year, a Prince George's County police detective submitted the blood samples from Watson's car to the police lab. "When compared to the state-maintained DNA database for all inmates, a positive match was returned for Walsh," said the Office of the Prince George's County State's Attorney in a press release on Tuesday. According to the charging document, investigators believe Walsh and Watson had a "violent altercation" in Watson's car and she died.