Hagerstown Police reopen two kidnapping cold cases from 1988


The Hagerstown Police Department is taking another crack at two cold cases involving the kidnappings and sexual assault of two Hagerstown girls aged 7 and 10.

The sudden development was a result of the Pennsylvania State Police arresting Timothy Nelson, a 50-year-old from Cumberland, in a similar case that occurred in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1999.

“1999. Where a phone call was placed. A 911 phone call to the Pennsylvania State Police. It came to our station around 2:30 in the afternoon. That phone call related that there was a 10-year-old girl that was believed to be abducted,” said Trooper Stephen Limani.

That girl was sexually assaulted and left abandoned at a remote location; however, the DNA left by the suspect matched to the two cases in Hagerstown, Maryland.

“Back in ’99, they uploaded their dna evidence into the CODIS system, and that linked their case to our case. The dna evidence matched,” said Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer.

While the DNA matched, police still could not identify a suspect.

“Once you go through your witnesses, there’s not a whole lot you can really do. So press releases and getting it out there. Neighborhood meetings, things like that,” said Chief Kifer. “But once you run through the gamut of that, then you’re just kinda waiting on that break.”

However, with the arrest of Nelson, Hagerstown Police are waiting to see if his DNA links to the Hagerstown cases.

“Once that is confirmed, then we’re going to work our case from that. We’re still required to get DNA evidence independently on our case, but at least we know that we have a pretty prime suspect to look at,” said Chief Kifer.

The Hagerstown Police Department is now broadening their investigation as people are coming forward, recounting possible interactions with Nelson.

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