Cold Case: Police still purse leads in Johns Hopkins grad student's slayings

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Local,Maryland,Virginia,Crime,Scott McCabe,Cold Case

The disappearance of a Johns Hopkins University graduate student once gripped the region and became known as the "Route 29 Stalker" investigation, but 17 years later her case remains unsolved.

On March 2, 1996, the 25-year-old Alicia Showalter Reynolds was driving along Route 29 to Charlottesville to shop with her mother. She never made it.

Reynolds' body was found two months late, and her slaying is one of thousands of cold-case killings in the region. As of March, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Culpeper Field Office has received more than 10,000 tips relating to the case. More than two dozen have come in during the past year, and officials are encouraging the public to come forward with any information related to the investigation.

Witnesses recalled seeing Reynolds' car parked along Route 29, the hood of her car up and a blue truck parked behind it.

Reynolds' skeletal remains were found two months later in a shallow grave in a logging camp near Lignum, a small town in Culpeper County. The spot was about 15 miles from where her vehicle was left on the side of Route 29.

Police came to believe her killer was the "Route 29 Stalker," a man who ßagged down two dozen female drivers between February and March of that year. The man would attempt to get the woman to pull over by indicating they were having car trouble. All of the incidents were between Manassas and Charlottesville.

One of those women was a Quantico woman who stopped for a man in a small blue truck along Virginia 234 near Dumfries. After getting in the man's truck and driving a short distance, he attacked and threatened her with a screwdriver. She jumped out the passenger's door, breaking her leg in the escape.

Police say the attacker at the time was a white male, age 35 to 45 with a medium build. The attacker was about 5 feet 10 inches to 6-feet-tall with light to medium brown hair.

The man may have had access to a small, dark colored pickup truck, possibly a Nissan, police say.

Police are asking anyone with information about her abduction and murder to contact the Virginia State Police at 1-800-572-2260 or 1-888-300-0156. Tips can be emailed to police at bci-culpeper@vsp.virginia.gov.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner