Charles County, MD – After four decades, a breakthrough has been made in the case of Vickie Lynn Belk, who was found murdered 44 years ago in a wooded area on Metropolitan Church Road in Bryans Road, MD. Sheriff Troy D. Berry announced the arrest, emphasizing the unwavering commitment of law enforcement in pursuing justice for victims.
Vickie Lynn Belk was reported missing on August 28, 1979, by her then-boyfriend after they had last seen each other at the Department of Agriculture, where they both worked. Sadly, Belk never returned to her apartment in Suitland, MD. The following day, a local teenager discovered her lifeless body in a wooded area near Metropolitan Church Road. Law enforcement arrived promptly and determined that it was a murder case.
After positively identifying the victim as Vickie Lynn Belk, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore ruled her death a homicide caused by a gunshot wound. Despite initial efforts by investigators and forensic experts, the case went cold.
Over the years, multiple detectives, including Detective Sergeant John Elliott of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Division, continued working on the case. Technological advancements allowed for periodic re-evaluation of the evidence, fostering hope that new leads might emerge.
In early 2022, the CCSO’s Forensic Science Section re-evaluated the evidence utilizing newer technology, specifically Belk’s clothing. A profile was developed and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a national DNA database. On November 1, 2022, Noelle Gehrman, Deputy Director of the CCSO’s Forensic Science Section, received notification of a DNA match between the evidence from the Belk case and Andre Taylor, a convicted offender from Washington, D.C.
Detectives then delved into Taylor’s background and discovered that his DNA had been added to the national database following his arrest for violent crimes in Washington, D.C. Moreover, records from the 1980s revealed that Taylor had lived in Bryans Road, MD, less than four miles from where Belk’s body was found.
Locating Taylor proved challenging as he had no known address since 2019. Through collaboration with law enforcement partners, including the United States Homeland Security Investigations, the DC Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Division, and the U.S. Secret Service Baltimore Field Office, investigators obtained a search warrant for Taylor’s DNA. After several months of searching, Taylor was finally located in Washington, D.C., and arrested on June 22, 2023.
Presented with the case on June 16, the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office brought first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and second-degree rape against Andre Taylor, who is currently being held without bond at the Charles County Detention Center.
It is important to note that no evidence suggests a prior connection between Andre Taylor and Vickie Belk. Furthermore, Taylor has not been linked to any other cases.
The successful resolution of this cold case was made possible through the collaboration and contributions of several agencies, including the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division, BODE Technology, Sorenson Forensics, the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Secret Service, the United States Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Task Force, and the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Vickie Belk, who was 28 years old at the time of her death, is survived by her son, Lamont, and her siblings. Following her tragic murder, the Belk family established the Vickie Belk Foundation, which provides scholarships in her memory to graduating seniors at Oakland Baptist Church (OBC). Approximately 100 scholarships have been awarded to OBC graduates, ensuring Vickie’s love for education and the church’s youth live on.
The arrest and indictment in Vickie Lynn Belk’s murder bring her family a sense of long-awaited justice. Kay Belk, Vickie’s sister, expressed gratitude for the unwavering dedication of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office detectives, forensic personnel, and the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office in seeking justice on Vickie’s behalf. The trial proceedings will now commence, allowing for a legal resolution in this 44-year-old cold case.