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Cold Case: Justice for Mary London

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Mary London Cold Case Clips

A newspaper clipping from when London first disappeared, along with school photos.

After more than 35 years, Sacramento Police are reworking an old lead that could help solve the cold case murder of 17-year-old Mary London, a developmentally disabled student from Sacramento High School.

“She was stabbed several times, and brutalized with some kind of a weapon, maybe with the handle of the knife,” said retired Sacramento Police homicide detective Dave Schwartz. “Just a victim in many ways, maybe two or three different ways that she would have died from what happened to her.”

Schwartz, 86, along with his former partner Dick Woods, 71, were the first homicide detectives assigned to London’s case on January 15, 1981, when her mostly nude body was found stabbed multiple times near San Juan Road west of I-5. Sacramento Police homicide detectives are consulting with the two retired detectives to help solve the case.

Mary London Cold Case Schwartz Woods

Retired Sacramento Police homicide detectives Dave Schwartz (middle) and Dick Woods (right).

“There’s no businesses, there’s no homes, there’s nothing but farmland,” said Schwartz. “So anybody missing on these roads at night, it’s very unlikely they’re going to be seen.”

The day before her body was first discovered, police said London went missing from Sacramento High School after she failed to show up for a scheduled ride after school. She was last seen near the school at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon.

“Some of the people I felt might have some information were not willing to talk about it,” said Schwartz. “I have some suspicions of who it might be, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you because it’s not fact.”

But cold case detectives with Sacramento Police are giving the public more to go on. They want to speak with a person of interest named only in the file as Darrell. Investigators were never able to officially identify or question him, but he is believed to be a friend of London’s. He is described as a black man who would now be 57 to 58 years old.

Mary London Cold Case Schneider

Mary London's half sister Esther Schneider has been holding out hope for 35 years.

It is not just homicide detectives hoping to find London’s killer. Her half-sister Esther Schneider has been holding out hope for 35 years.

“All those years went by and by, and then they showed her again on the news,” said Schneider. “And I was hoping they found the one who did it.”

If you have any information about Mary London’s murder, call the Pat with the Sacramento Police Department at (916) 808-0517.