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Loudoun Investigators Reopen 1987 Leesburg Murder Case

As part of review of county cold cases, detectives seek assistance from the public in solving murder of Pennsylvania woman.

Charlotte Powell's body was found south of Leesburg in 1987. Loudoun investigators are reexamining the case. Credit: LCSO
Charlotte Powell's body was found south of Leesburg in 1987. Loudoun investigators are reexamining the case. Credit: LCSO

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office announced today that its Cold Case Unit would take another look at the 1987 murder of a Pennsylvania woman who was found just outside of the Leesburg town limits.

The skeletal remains of Charlotte Powell were found Dec. 8, 1987, in a wooded area near gas and power lines off Shreve Mill Road just south of Leesburg. Investigators believe someone raped and murdered Powell, who was 27 at the time, before leaving her there, according to information provided by the sheriff’s office.

Powell was last seen by her family in July 1987 in Pennsylvania, according to an LCSO flier. She was known to hitchhike and might have traveled to Maryland, DC and Virginia. Her mother and sister described her as a “free spirit,” according to the LCSO.

Investigators with the LCSO Cold Case Unit are seeking assistance from the public in the case.

“Detectives with the Cold Case Unit believe with the passage of time, someone may be willing to come forward with information that may be the key to solving this cold case and help bring a sense of closure to the Powell family,” said Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit at 703-777-0475. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call Loudoun Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919 or toll free at 1-877-777-1931.

Sheriff Chapman began routinely reviewing cold cases for a fresh look upon taking office in January 2012. Other Loudoun cold cases include the 2001 murder of Ursula Haberland in Upperville and the 2002 murder of Erica Heather Smith, whose body was found near Redskins Park in Ashburn.

For more information on the Charlotte Powell case and for case updates, or to submit a tip online, please visit www.sheriff.loudoun.gov/powell or www.sheriff.loudoun.gov/coldcase.

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