Representatives from eight central Virginia law enforcement agencies met yesterday to determine if the disappearance of a Culpeper woman July 5 might be related to the slaying of a woman found Monday in Spotsylvania County and the unsolved killing of an Orange County woman last year, police said.
Officers who attended the meeting said possible similarities were discussed between the July 23 slaying of Nancy Smith Seay, 46, of Spotsylvania, the July 5 disappearance of Sarah Compton, 66, of Culpeper, and the 1989 slaying of Ethel Kidd of Orange County. Police said all three women had similar facial features and were of similar height and weight.
"It was a meeting of the minds among local police to see if there are similarities and to see if there are connections in the cases," said Maj. Albert Stewart, of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Department. "It was called by the FBI in the Compton case to see if there are any open cases that might be linked to it."
Police officials said no conclusion was reached.
Seay, who had worked since 1986 as the secretary of the Fredericksburg-Stafford-Spotsylvania Chamber of Commerce, was found dead in her car trunk about 8 p.m. Monday. She had last been seen alive about 1 p.m. when she bought groceries at a Food Lion supermarket on Plank Road, police said.
A witness told police that he saw a woman matching Seay's description struggling with a man near her 1990 Olsmobile Cutlass about 1:15 p.m. Police believe the man took her forcibly into a wooded area before returning her car to a parking lot across the street from the store, said Stewart.
An autopsy failed to disclose a cause of death, but it appears Seay died from heat exposure in the trunk, he said. A dented back seat and marks inside the trunk indicate Seay had tried to escape, Stewart said.
Compton, who moved with her husband Robert to his family's farm in Culpeper eight years ago after living in Northern Virginia for many years, disappeared shortly after she apparently made a $16 purchase from a Food Lion store on Route 29 in Culpeper. She had left home earlier that morning to go to the Lakeside Swim Club and was expected to return home shortly after her workout. A returned check written to the store indicated she had been there sometime about noon, police said.
Kidd's slaying has remained unsolved since she was found tied to a tree in Orange County in April 1989. She had been strangled. She had last been seen in the yard of her home in the 600 block of Bear Hill Road, police said.
Spotsylvania police received several calls this week from people saying they saw a man sitting in the parking lot of the Plank Road store watching shoppers, Stewart said.