Va. detectives seek help in 1987 cold case slaying

Charlotte Powell

Charlotte Powell

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday they will reexamine the investigation of the murder of a known hitchhiker whose decomposed body was found just outside Leesburg in 1987.

Charlotte Powell, a 27-year-old from Pennsylvania, was last seen by her family in July of 1987. Her skeletal remains of the 27-year-old woman were found in the woods near the gas and power lines off of Route 653 on December 8, 1987.

Detectives believe she was raped and murdered. Powell was known to ask for rides from strangers, and may have hitchhiked around Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. She was described by her mother and sister as a free spirit.

Cold case detectives are asking for the public’s assistance with the investigation of Powell’s death.

“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,” Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman said in a release.

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 are asked to call Loudoun Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919 or toll free at 1-877-777-1931.

For more information on the Charlotte Powell case and for case updates, or to submit a tip online, please visit or

— Scott McCabe



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