Family questions why daughter's cold case remains unsolved

Annamaria Phelps
Annamaria Phelps

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

JETERSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Relatives of a young woman stabbed to death more than 20 years ago want answers as to why the case has remained unsolved for so long.

Annamaria Phelps was found murdered along with a friend in New Kent County. They were among at least eight people killed during a 1980's crime spree dubbed the Colonial Parkway Murders.

Annamaria's parents may get some answers soon. They're meeting with Virginia State Police investigators next week. Until recently, they've felt their daughter's murder case has been neglected.

An 80's band poster and awards adorn the walls of what was Annamaria's bedroom. Keepsakes her mom couldn't bare to throw away.

"This is just something that's part of her, I've got memories; these are just something that's part of her," said Jewel Phelps.

Phelps has other mementos, like her daughter's wallet. Evidence from a horrific crime that has haunted Jewel and her husband Bill for two decades.

"We got the car, and we got pictures, but I mean why didn't they keep it," said Jewel Phelps.

Virginia State Police are the lead agency investigating the death of Annamaria and her friend Daniel Lauer. Their bodies were discovered by hunters on September 5, 1989, six weeks after their car was found at a nearby rest stop in New Kent County.

"They had three sets of fingerprints on that car, but none of them were the victims," said Jewel Phelps.

The Phelps want the evidence retested just like the FBI is doing in the two Colonial Parkway Murder cases its investigating.

"We want to be treated just like the FBI is treating the other couple," said Jewel Phelps.

"Every time I think about it just makes me sick," said Annamaria's father, Bill Phelps.

He can't bring himself to drive anywhere near the rest stop. He's left to wonder who took his daughter's life.

"He could be in a jail cell, he could have died," said Bill Phelps.

Or moved far away. Whatever the case,  Bill and Jewel want justice.

"I have no mercy for him; no feelings, no nothing," said Jewel Phelps.

Last Friday, the FBI met with the families of the two cases that agency is investigating. A relative of one of the victims told NBC12 that for the first time in over 20 years, more than one hundred pieces of evidence has been sent to a lab at Quantico for re-testing.

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