Jane Marie Prichard
Found partially-clothed Sept. 20, 1986, in Blackbird State Forest near Middletown. She was 28 when she died of a shotgun blast to her back.
Jane had gone to the state park as part of her thesis research for her master’s degree in biology, campers found her body.
According to the local papers, the area had been full of hunters the day of her murder, so on all likelihood her murder could have very well been an accident. Also according to the media reports, “the last person to see her alive was a squirrel hunter who told police he had seen her speaking to another hunter.”
That witness gave a description of the unknown hunter to police who then in turn came up with a composite of the unknown hunter and released it to the public only to eventually accuse the hunter to report all of this of Jane’s murder because of inconsistencies in his story.
The charges were dropped against him in August 1987, the case had fallen apart and DNA from samples that were found at the crime scene proved, he could not have done it.
So that would mean the last person to actually see Jane alive still has not been found or has for some strange reason chosen not to come forward.
She was found partially clothed, therefore I’d rule out accidental shooting. Considering she had been shot in the back, she attempted to evade her killer who had been in the process of attempting to sexually assault her.
So who was it?
She had driven that day to the State Park around 7AM and was able to set up her equipment before being disturbed as the campers who found her, a couple from New Jersey found her around 5:30pm sprawled near her truck.
That alone tells you it was not an accident. It was however planned, not well but it was planned.
Someone watched her, they waited for the perfect opportunity to strike. Shooting her in the back was not part of the plan, killing her was but not like it played out. That leads me to believe the individual was familiar with her, her habits, he knew where to find her and what time to find her. A time where not many others would be around, thus not drawing attention to the crime, her cries for help, let alone a gunshot.
The individual watched her several times prior to her murder. She spent quite a bit of time in and around Blackbird, according to friends she loved the area, it was one of her favorite places to be.
Habits, can sometimes become our unraveling if you will. It is the very thing that provides some killers the opportunity they have been looking for. Watch long enough, they find the best, most opportune time to strike.
That is precisely what this individual did. Finding him will take quite a bit of effort, he was comfortable in this particular area, because he was familiar with it.
The question is, had any other attempts taken place to attack women who were alone prior to this within the area? Not just Blackbird, but the town, the next town over, three towns over. Attempts that were maybe unsuccessful? Or, was this his first? Had he gone on to kill again, or did he find other outlets, did he feed the urge and never do it again? Did he move on to other types of crimes, porn, some type of sexual gratification?
The problem with DNA is simple, you can’t rely on it all of the time because sometimes a killer won’t rape, won’t kill again. He’ll find something else so as to occupy his time, something that would not put him on the radar of anyone.
The only achilles-heel this individual has is simple. He watched Jane for a considerable amount of time before murdering her. That means that the probability of someone being able to identify him is pretty good. Not only did the hunter see him, but so did others. Consider this, Jane was known to be in that area, so to was her killer.
That in and of itself is worth checking back into.
Cristal M Clark
IOS users find The Crime Shop on Apple News