Connecticut murder victim identified 50 years later as fugitive woman from Kentucky

A woman whose remains were found 50 years ago in a shallow grave in Connecticut has been identified as a fugitive from Kentucky.

The victim was Linda Sue Childers, forensic science company Othram announced Wednesday. She was 24 years old at the time of her death.

Childers’ remains were found alongside a known bank robber, Gustavous Lee Carmichael, in May 1974 in Ledyard, Connecticut, according to authorities.

Investigators believed Carmichael and Childers were killed on Dec. 31, 1970. The two were on the run at the time, as Carmichael had recently escaped custody and then robbed multiple banks.

They were staying at the home of Richard DeFreitas and Donald Brant, fellow bank robbers who provided them with false papers identifying them as Dick and Lorraine Stahl.

However, Childers confided in DeFreitas’ wife, Joanne Rainello, that she was afraid of the lifestyle they were leading. When DeFreitas learned about her fears, he told Brant and they agreed to kill the two, according to court documents.

DeFreitas and Brant fatally shot Carmichael and Childers, then dumped their bodies, which remained undiscovered for more than three years. The two men were eventually convicted of the murders and have since died.

But Childers’ identity remained a mystery, as investigators realized early on that she was not Lorraine Stahl. In 2011, her case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Connecticut’s chief medical examiner sent forensic evidence to Othram in 2022, and the company built a genealogical profile of the victim. That profile led to living relatives, who submitted DNA and allowed Othram to confirm Childers’ identity.

Childers was born Sept. 4, 1946 and was originally from Louisville, according to the company. Her sister and daughter were notified of her identification.