Saturday, March 12, 2011

Will Justice Ever Come for Pamela Cahanes?

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Who Murdered the Sailor?
by Robert A. Waters

Twenty-five years after her murder, the soul of Pamela Cahanes cries for justice. There’s little information on the Internet about the Navy recruit who was killed before she even completed her training. I found a photo of her cold case playing card and some newspaper clippings posted on a true crime forum. But from all indications, this case is as cold as they get.

Pamela, 26, had just completed basic training at the Navy Training Center in Orlando, Florida. An Airman’s Apprentice, she remained at the base while she waited to start a second training session.

On August 25, 1984, passing motorists reported seeing a body in the front yard of a vacant home at 2416 Old State Road 44 in Sanford. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Department responded and found a strange scene.

The badly beaten body of the young woman was posed in an unusual position: crouched on all fours. She wore only her panties. Her Navy uniform lay beside her, and her bra was found about a hundred yards away. The body was soon identified as Pamela Cahanes. Her military-issued purse was missing. According to the sheriff’s department, she had been brutally beaten about the face.

Because she had about $100 in her uniform, investigators didn’t believe robbery was the motive. “More than likely it was a sex assault that led to murder,” said Lt. George Hagood of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department.

On the day of her murder, Pamela was seen at a local K-Mart. Receipts scattered beside her body confirmed the sighting. It was thought that she left the store with a man, possibly another serviceman. An article in the Orlando Sentinel reported that “investigators believe the man [she was seen with] may have been connected to the Naval Training Center...Recruits’ activities are so restricted they have no opportunity to meet outsiders.”

Pamela was from Stillwater, Minnesota. “She was a happy-go-lucky girl who loved life,” her mother, Alice Cahanes, said. “She was outgoing, wanted more for herself, and worked hard to get it.”

Who murdered the sailor? After two-and-a-half decades, could investigators obtain the records of all the men who were at the Orlando Navy Training Center in the summer of 1984 and check to see if any have records of violence toward women? Could the Navy place a billboard near the training center asking for information about the cold case? Although police have hinted that there was no semen left at the scene, could Pamela's clothes be retested for saliva or skin cells that may have been left by the killer?

The murderer of Pamela Cahanes has walked the streets long enough. He needs to meet the cold hands of justice.

If you have any information, contact 1-800-226-8477.


Kimberleigh H. said...

I remember hearing about this case a lot while I was at boot camp in Orlando, in 1990. It was only 6 years before that Pamela went missing and was found. And it was posted, along with her picture in the womens' clinic at medical. It broke me heart then and it breaks my heart still that her murderer(s) have not been brought to justice. I pray to GOD ALMIGHTY that they do find him/them before I die. For all I know, Pamela saved my life. I was 17 when I joined the Navy.

PCA said...

NTC Orlando was closed in 1999. The former base is now home to several luxury subdivisions.

Donna said...

Pam was in my bootcamp company. I had left Orlando to go to A school in Mississippi when this murder happened. I remember vividly the day we were first interviewed by what was then NIS (now NCIS). I was interviewed again a few years back. When the special agent showed me her photo again, it was like a gut punch. When you spend 8 weeks in close quarters, you develop friendships and a comradery that can't be explained. Her murder has been a part of my psyche for 35 years. I hope that they finally put this case to rest. I hate that her mom did not live to see them find this guy. May they both rest in peace.