47 Year old Murder Case Solved


Molly Roche

On September 15th of 1972, Indiana State student Pamela Milam disappeared after leaving a sorority event. Milam lived at home and commuted to school, so when she did not return home, her father and sister searched the campus and eventually found her car. They discovered her bruised body, gagged and bound, in the trunk of the car.

There were no witnesses and no evidence to sustain a suspect. Robert Wayne Austin, a local who had been arrested for numerous campus sexual assaults, was briefly suspected in Milam’s case but there was no sufficient evidence linking him to her murder.

Shawn Keen, the local police chief, assigned himself to her case after becoming chief of detectives in 2008. After submitting a profile to a public genetic database, Keen and his team were able to narrow the list of suspects down to one: Jeffery Hand.

They conducted a reverse paternity test using DNA from Hand’s sons and comparing it to DNA found on Pamala’s glasses, blouse, and other items found in her trunk at the time of her murder.

Hand was sent to prison for murdering a hitchhiker in 1973 and then freed in 1976 after being found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was killed in a police shootout in 1978 after attempting to kidnap a woman in a mall parking lot.

Keen believes that if he was still alive today, they have enough evidence to charge Jeffrey Hand with the murder of Pamela Milam.

Senior Maddie Zingale said “I think it’s crazy what technology does for us today. If the technology we have today existed at that time than Hand would be in prison.”