Family of Colonial Parkway victim wants State Police to make same pledge to pursue case as FBI

Posted at 2:08 PM, Jan 18, 2010
and last updated 2012-03-01 11:50:47-05

Tonight a family is hoping the clues to find the Colonial Parkway Killer are somewhere in nearly 100 pieces of evidence - evidence seized after the murders of Anna Maria Phelps and Daniel Lauer. Some pieces of that evidence are no longer in the hands of police.

"Every holiday is different. Every birthday," said Roseanna Sedivy, sister of a victim.

Roseanna Sedivy can't say how her life would be different if her sister were still alive. That's because every fiber of who she is changed when Anna Maria disappeared Labor Day weekend, 1989. Gone with her, Daniel Lauer, his car left at an interstate rest stop in New Kent County. Six weeks later, hunters found the bodies, and police pinned the crimes on the Colonial Parkway Killer.

Agents gathered 98 pieces of evidence. Now, 20 years later, Roseanna and her family must convince state police to test it all with modern DNA technology. The FBI made that promise to four other families. But the other four cases, including Anna Maria's, happened on state property, and those families haven't heard such a pledge.

"She was killed down there like the other ones. We buried her like the other ones. And I think she should be treated like the other ones. We want the same treatment," said Jewell Phelps, Anna Maria's mother.

So far, they haven't gotten the same treatment. Roseanna and her mother watched this month as the FBI and state police from Chesapeake met with all the families, except hers and Daniel Lauer's. Those cases belong to the state police in Richmond, and no one has ever called the Phelps family.

"We haven't heard anything. I had to contact them. That bothers me," Sedivy said.

So Roseanna set up a meeting that will be held in a living room in Amelia County. The walls are filled with family photos, including many of Anna Maria. The Phelps family wants to hear state police say they will follow the FBI's lead, but NewsChannel 3 has learned even if they do, some pieces of evidence are gone.

"Well, I have her pocketbook, and I have her ring," her mother said.

Police gave back the pocketbook and Anna Maria's jewelry. And to Robin Edward's family in Newport News, police returned the clothes she was wearing when the killer shot her. Any of those items could have held the killer's DNA from his skin cells, but in the 1980s, almost no one could have imagined that.

That means to the Phelps family, it's crucial that police test what's still left. And that's what they will ask for on Wednesday.

"I hate that we have to put in so much effort to have some closure."