Unsolved mysteries: Teen never returned from party
Editor’s note: Unsolved mysteries appears every week.
In the summer of 1979, 17-year-old Carol Ann Anderson saw her whole life stretching out in front of her. On the last Saturday in June, the brown-haired teen-ager waved goodbye to her parents and joined her friends at a party in the upper Ski Run Boulevard area. It was the last time they would see their daughter alive.
Many people offered Anderson a ride home that night, but she declined them all. She told them she already had one. No one could tell El Dorado County Sheriff’s investigators exactly when she left the party on Regina Road, or with whom. Some estimated she left around 11 p.m.
Detectives talked to at least 64 people who attended, but estimated as many as 75 were actually there. The crowd ranged from Anderson’s age to 24-year-olds. People were drinking and using drugs – descriptions were hard to come by, police said.
A few guests told detectives that they remembered two men acting aggressively toward women during the course of the evening, but could offer little else.
In the early morning hours of July 1, after the party had started to break up, a motorist would discover her body. Laying facedown over the curb line on Sundown Trail, Anderson was still wearing the blue jeans, black T-shirt and white socks that she left her lower Kingsbury home in. Her wrists and feet showed evidence of ligature marks, as if she had been bound. There was bruising on her face and red marks around her neck. Scratches suggested she had been drug by her feet at one point. Her shoes were found one-quarter of a mile away on Golden Bear Trail, possibly tossed out of her assailants’ car as they sped away from their crime.
An autopsy determined that Anderson was strangled to death. There was no evidence that she was sexually assaulted during the attack.
Sheriff’s investigators worked exhaustively for months trying to piece together Anderson’s last day and final hours. But more than 20 years later, they are still no closer to discovering with whom she took her final ride.
Leads didn’t pan out. Investigators put out an all-points-bulletin for two men, driving a car with Idaho license plates, who supposedly left town shortly after the party. The car was a red Mercury Comet, four-door model with a white top.
Shortly after the murder, four Sacramento men were questioned and then cleared. Investigators found they had left the party with another South Lake Tahoe teen-ager.
Detective Don Atkinson said even though the case is 20 years old there is still an obligation to remember.
“We try to work on these cases,” he said. “Each new wave of investigators have to familiarize themselves with the history. But you have to balance your desire to solve the old cases against the new ones you receive every day.”
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