Trial date set for 25-year-old cold case of Chesterfield murder

Chesterfield police have made an arrest in connection to the 1996 disappearance and murder of a...
Chesterfield police have made an arrest in connection to the 1996 disappearance and murder of a woman.(Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorney)
Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 4:27 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2022 at 5:25 AM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A 25-year-old cold case will be heard in a Chesterfield County Circut Court come April.

John Howard was arrested and charged in May 2021 with the 1996 murder of Linda Lunsford.

“Linda Lunsford was murdered by her former boyfriend and coworker John Howard on the day-after Christmas in 1996. The brutality of her murder was compounded by the fact her body was never recovered. Ms. Lunsford’s family has endured decades of pain while receiving no justice.” Chesterfield Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Davenport said. “It is time for the Lunsford family to receive the justice they deserve.

The day after Christmas in 1996, Lunsford disappeared after working her shift at the Midlothian Walmart.

Her family reported missing after she did not come home, and her car was found in a parking lot off the Midlothian Turnpike.

Chesterfield police investigated, but her body has never been found. That’s when the case went cold.

Police continued the investigation, and led to Howard, 62, of Hanover, being charged in the 38-year-old mother of five’s murder.

Davenport will be the prosecutor on the case and is currently meeting with witnesses ahead of the April 18 trial. Davenport has traveled to New York to meet with the primary detective assigned to Lunsford’s case.

There is a list of over 75 witnesses scatted across the country, leading Davenport to work with prosecutors in more than five different states.

“I appreciate the dedication of Chief Katz and the Chesterfield County Police Department because they never stopped investigating the death of Linda Lunsford,” said Davenport in a release. ‘The Lunsford family and the people of Chesterfield deserve to bring these 26 years of pain to closure. Beginning on April 18th, as Chesterfield’s chief prosecutor, I plan to do just that.”

Anyone with information on Lunsford’s murder can contact Crime Solvers at 804-748-1278.

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