FBI asks for help in decades old cold case

Published 5:00 pm Sunday, June 6, 2021

Twenty-five years ago, two young female hikers decided to do what many people do for exercise, relaxation and sport – hike through the Shenandoah National Park; however their journey ended when they were murdered at their backcountry campsite near Skyland Resort in Virginia.

The bodies of 24 year old, Julianne “Julie” Williams and 26 year old, Laura “Lollie” Winans were found by Park Rangers on June 1st, 1996, after Lollie’s dog – Taj, was located wandering the paths and turned over to Rangers.

The initial investigative, media and community response to these murders was enormous, and generated leads that would have investigators interview individuals all across the country. To this day this investigation continues to grip the consciousness of Julie and Lollie’s family and friends and those who have worked diligently to identify and bring to justice the person(s) responsible for this senseless crime.

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Five years ago today, FBI Richmond distributed a press release imploring the public for assistance in sharing an FBI Seeking Information poster, we are again asking for the public’s assistance.

The beauty of Virginia’s Parks and Trails are enticing to people, not just from Virginia, but other states; and during these outdoor adventures people come across other hikers and visitors – some who make a memorable impression.  Over the past twenty-five years we are cognizant that those who were hiking in the Park at the time of the murders, were visiting local establishments and even resided in the area may not be local to Virginia any longer – therefore it is crucial that this case continues to be shared throughout the country – it is possible there are people anywhere from Virginia to the west coast that could have information valuable to investigators.

The FBI has updated the Seeking Information posters with additional photos of  Julie and Lollie. The investigation into their murder continues to be a joint effort by the FBI Richmond Field Office, the National Park Service and the Virginia State Police.  No bit of information is insignificant, and your tip could be the piece of evidence that brings closure to this twenty-five year old case.  If you have information to share, please contact your local FBI office, FBI Richmond at 804-261-1044 or send tips to https://tips.fbi.gov/.